There are 4 major stages in the life of a dog, and each stage lasts approximately 3-6 months. These stages happen continuously throughout adulthood, however growth rates vary between individuals as they age.

The “stages of puppy development week by week” is a guide that outlines the different stages of a puppy’s development.

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Your puppy will go through numerous phases of growth as it gets older.

Each stage of the puppy’s development has its own set of milestones and care needs.

As a result, you must be aware of what your puppy need from you at each stage of his growth, as well as what kind of training you may undertake and what you should avoid doing to your dog.

The Ages And Stages of Puppy Development - Black Labrador puppy looking back at the camera.Depositphotos.com / Ryhor / Depositphotos.com / Ryhor / Depositphotos.com / Ryhor / Deposit

Keep in mind that the puppy development timelines below are generalizations, and your puppy’s life phases may go more swiftly or slower depending on their age.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: If you’re raising and training a new puppy, Doggy Dan’s Puppy Program is a great place to start. It has a wealth of advice on how to raise the ideal puppy.

Contents & Quick Navigation

The Stages of Puppy Development and Growth Month after month,

Starting at birth and ending when your dog reaches maturity, the phases of puppy growth and development are listed here.

The Neonatal Period (0 to 2 weeks)

This is the newborn puppy growth stage, which lasts until the puppy reaches the age of two weeks. Puppies are blind and deaf at this stage of development. They lack teeth and are unable to control their body temperatures.

Puppies will be sleeping virtually continuously at this time, and their mother will take care of everything, including keeping them warm, feeding them, and cleaning them.

2. The Stage of Transition (2 to 4 weeks)

Puppies will begin to open their eyes and react to noises, light, and movement during this period of development.

This is also the time when your puppy will begin to eliminate without the assistance of their mother, and their teeth will begin to emerge.

A puppy will also start to become more mobile at this time, but they will still prefer to crawl rather than walk. They do, however, have the strength to stand, although they will stutter often.

A puppy at this stage of development is only beginning to identify his or her siblings and mother. They may even take a taste of their mother’s food out of curiosity at this time, but they don’t need anything more than mother’s milk at this point.

Stages and Development of a Puppy - the eye of a yellow Labrador Retriever

When Do Lab Puppies Open Their Eyes for the First Time?

At about two weeks of age, lab pups open their eyes. Labrador pups’ eyes will be completely open by this time, and most will be partially open. Your puppy’s ears will also open at this moment, and he will begin to hear.

3. Awakening of the Senses Period (3 to 4 weeks)

A puppy’s senses grow fast at this time. They begin to become completely attentive and aware of their surroundings, and they may know you and other people that visit the area.

During this time, you should take precautions to prevent abrupt changes or loud sounds, as these events might have a detrimental impact on the dog’s growth and personality.

The puppy must remain with the mother at this stage because they are learning ‘how to be a dog,’ how to behave, and how to associate with other dogs of their species.

4. The Period of Socialization (4 to 7 Weeks)

Around the age of four weeks, a puppy begins to acquire the most crucial lessons in life, such as social development. They will learn how to socialize with their siblings and not bite all the time.

Human interactions are particularly vital between the ages of five and seven weeks.

This is also the moment when, owing to their mother, they will begin to grasp discipline. She’ll begin weaning her pups and teaching them proper habits, such as respecting her authority.

When your puppy is roughly four weeks old, you may begin introducing food to them as the owner. Begin slowly and gradually increase the amount of food you offer them while the mother continues to wean them.

You should also continue to handle the puppy on a daily basis. However, do not isolate them from their siblings or mother for more than ten minutes every day, since this might cause training and socialization challenges.

Separating dogs too quickly might make them uneasy, making them more prone to bark and bite.

Allow the mother dog to handle discipline at this time; you should not scold the dog for mouthing or housebreaking problems until later in life.

5. The Second Socialization Period and the Fearful Period (8 to 12 Weeks)

Although not all pups experience dread, the majority of them do go through a phase when they are scared or terrified of practically everything, even things they were previously unafraid of.

Avoid upsetting experiences, loud voices, or severe punishment to assist kids get over this.

During this time, you should also make sure your dog gets lots of human touch. You may start leash training and even teach basic commands like sit, down, stay, and come if you like.

In terms of growth, your puppy will be able to sleep through the night and will begin to have greater control over its intestines and bladder.

During this period, you should avoid bringing your dog to regions where unvaccinated dogs or stray dogs are present, since they will be more susceptible to a deadly illness like parvovirus.

Most veterinarians advise that new excursions be postponed until the dog is completely vaccinated.

QUICK TIP: During this time, the majority of pups are placed in new homes. We receive a Snuggle Puppy with Heartbeat and Heat Pack before we bring a new puppy home. To obtain their aroma, we massage the Snuggle Puppy on the littermates and mom. When we return home, the Snuggle Dog makes our puppy feel more at ease and allows him to acclimatize to his new surroundings more quickly.

Many pups will be placed in new homes around the age of eight weeks. On our sister site, we just published a blog entry outlining what to anticipate from an 8-week-old puppy.

6. The Adolescent Stage (3 to 4 Months)

A puppy may be likened to a juvenile during this stage of growth. They will be more self-reliant and may disregard fundamental directives that they are familiar with.

If this occurs, reinforce the orders and other training in a forceful but kind manner.

You may also notice that your dog is beginning to challenge your authority by play biting or other similar behaviors.

Say “no bite” or “no” and then ignore them for a few minutes to stop them from playing bite. You may also divert your dog’s attention to a chewable toy.

At this point, you should continue to play with your puppy on a daily basis, but don’t wrestle or play tug of war with him. Either way, your dog will learn that fighting with you and challenging your authority is OK.

7. The Period of Ranking (3 to 6 Months)

Between the ages of four and six months, you should anticipate your puppy to be a little naughty, displaying greater willfulness and independence.

They’re more prone to push your boundaries and attempt to exert power over your children or other family members. They begin to grasp the concept of ranking in terms of dominance and submission, as well as where they ‘fit into the pack.’

To counteract this, keep up the fundamental command and obedience training. However, don’t be fooled into complacency, and only let them off the leash if you’re in a tight environment.

It may be harmful if they don’t listen to you or come when you call since they put themselves in danger while they’re out in public. It may also harm future reactions to you by making others less willing to listen to you.

This is also the time of year when your dog will be teething, so offer them frozen Kong toys to help ease the strain and agony.

Chewing habits will begin to develop at this time, so seek for some safe chew toys to keep your dog occupied. This is when your dog’s hormones start to shift, and it’s the best time to spay or neuter him.

Linus, my vet, suggested spaying/neutering pups at 6 months old when I received my first dog. Recent study reveals that early spaying/neutering might have a negative impact on a dog’s health. A research comparing the long-term health implications of neutering in Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers was released by UC Davis.

Adolescence is the eighth stage of life (6 to 18 Months)

Your puppy is in the latter stages of puppy growth at six months, but he or she is still young. Because your dog will be learning, full of energy, and joyful, this is a pleasant and exciting time for them.

It’s crucial to remember that, even though your puppy now seems to be an adult, he or she is still a puppy, at least in terms of mental ability and emotional development.

Increase your workout and other activities gradually. You may even practice advanced skills like agility or herding.

Another alternative is to just continue educating them to interact with other animals in a non-aggressive and non-threatening manner.

It’s also likely that after your dog reaches six months, he or she may go through another scared episode.

Not everyone will have this experience, but if yours does, don’t push them to confront their concerns until they are ready. Counter-conditioning and desensitization may help speed up the process.

When Do Lab Puppies Reach the End of Their Growth Cycle?

Yellow Labrador Puppy feet on the fence peering over

Before your Lab puppy reaches his first birthday, he will have accomplished the majority of his development.

In reality, by approximately nine months of age, he will be near to his ultimate adult Labrador height, and most of his further development will be ‘filling out’ rather than becoming taller.

VIDEO: From Pup to Pooch: 8 Stages of Puppy Development

This was a class assignment for a psychology class where students applied Erik Erikson’s 8 stages of development to the steps of a developing puppy. It’s incredibly appropriate and fits well!

 

Last Thoughts

You’ll be better equipped to satisfy your new puppy’s demands if you know how and when they’ll grow.

Provide socialization at the right times, and make sure your puppy has enough of opportunities to socialize with their siblings, people, and any other pets in your house.

Your dog should attain maturity between the ages of one and two years, depending on the breed; Labradors reach maturity between the ages of two and 2.5 years.

QUICK RECOMMENDATION: Doggy Dan’s Puppy Program is a great place to start if you’re getting a Lab puppy. It’s a fantastic course that teaches you all you need to know about raising and training your new dog.

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The Ages And Stages Of Puppy Development - black Labrador Retriever puppy looking back at the camera.

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The “puppy stages first year” is a guide that gives information about the ages and growth stages of a puppy’s development. This will help you understand your new puppy, and what to expect from him or her in their first year.

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