Development stage 0–7 Weeks
In most cases, you won't be able to take your puppy home until they are around eight to ten weeks old, but it is still good to understand the developmental tasks before this. Interactions with your pup's mother and siblings are crucial as they can teach important lessons like:
- Bite inhibition
- Submissive behaviours
- Attention seeking and receptive behaviours
While your pup can learn all of these lessons later in life, it certainly is a case of the sooner, the better! It is also important to note that the stages we discuss here may vary. Your puppy is a unique little creature who will develop at their own pace!
The stages during this early period are as follows:
Stage 1: Neonatal (0 – 2 weeks)
Your pup will only have taste and touch at this point, being completely reliant on the mother. Puppies in the neonatal phase only have limited movement which is a slow crawl at most.
Stage 2: Transitional (2 – 4 weeks)
Hearing and smell will follow as the puppy teeth come through. Your new best friend's eyes will begin to open, and their unique personality starts to develop, including wagging tails and the cutest bark attempt you've ever heard! They will begin to interact with their littermates with eyes completely open by five weeks. Puppies will also begin to walk and will start weaning from the mother during this phase. Solid food should be slowly introduced into their diet around the three-week mark.
Stage 3: Socialisation Period (7–8 Weeks)
Not only is this when pups can go to their new home, but it's also the age when they form bonds with people. They are mentally developed enough to handle changes and begin training.
The socialisation period is one of the most important stages of a puppy’s development. During this period, the aim is to introduce your puppy to many things, including other dogs, people, and surroundings. It’s important that this be done in a controlled environment as puppies are easily overwhelmed.
Teaching your puppy to use a crate
is important and should start from as early as eight weeks old, essentially as soon as your puppy is through the front door. Crate training a puppy has many benefits, including helping your puppy to control their bladder
and use appropriate signals to let you know when they need to go to the toilet.
Your puppy’s curiosity is at an all-time high during the first 7-8 eight weeks of their life which means making time for your puppy’s training each day is extremely important. Be sure to always remain patient and consistent with your puppy for the best results!