What Your Puppy Needs at Each Stage of Life

Did you know your puppy needs different kinds of care and attention at various stages of its growth to adulthood? We are going to talk about what your puppy needs from birth to when you bring them home to full-grown adulthood. 

Up to 8 weeks

Puppies generally don’t leave their mother until they are eight weeks old for a number of reasons. First, they sleep almost the entire day and their senses aren’t fully active for a couple weeks after birth. So they are dependent on their mother for food and to help them expel waste because they cannot yet use those muscles themselves.

Although formal instruction usually doesn’t start until 12 weeks old, you’ll need to be intentional with how you welcome and treat your puppy when they first go home with you to start building a positive and strong foundation.

Your puppy will learn a lot from its environment and the other dogs around it. You want your puppy to socialize with dogs who have good behavior and habits so your new puppy will develop those good qualities.

8 to 12 weeks

Your puppy is a sponge at this time. They are fully aware of their surroundings, and it’s around this time that you’ve taken your puppy to your home. This is where you really start to build those foundational habits and skills in your puppy, especially potty training

Some of the best times to get your puppy in the habit of going to the bathroom are after they wake up, before they go to sleep for the night, and after playtime. At this stage your puppy will form strong bonds with you so make sure you give them the attention and affection they need.

Crate training is an important part of bringing your puppy home. You can introduce them to it by consistently putting them there for short intervals of time (five to fifteen minutes) then slowly increasing that time. They should feel safe and secure in their crate and you can make it more comfortable with a nice bed and a favorite toy or two. Plus, having a place that’s exclusive to them is a confidence boost.

12 to 16 weeks

After your puppy has received all its vaccinations and socialized with your family, friends, and well-behaved older dogs, they can begin to socialize with other puppies. 

We offer Puppy Play, a free session after most training sessions for dogs twelve weeks and older.

During this time period is when your puppy will be ready for obedience training where they’ll learn the basics like sit, stay, come, and continue to develop their social skills. Starting training at this time in your puppies life is important because they’re about to become a rowdy teenager, so starting before that rebellious phase should help avoid some resistance on their part. 

6 months to 1 year

Your dog may always remain the puppy you remember in your mind, but at this point they’ve entered their teenage years, and like human teenagers, they may start to push the limits and show dominance over other members of the house.

One of the most important things you can do for your growing puppy is give them outlets for all the energy they have. The busier they are (and then the more exhausted) the less likely they’ll be drawn to misbehave.

Canine Adulthood

Around 12 months is when most dogs reach full maturity. Smaller dogs may reach it earlier and bigger dogs may reach it later. At this point, your dog has mostly solidified their personality and habits. They need your love, attention, and to feel like they’re a part of the pack.

Looking for Training?

Our dog and puppy training classes in East Lansing are designed to help you form a better connection with your pet. To enroll in one of our dog training courses, call Dog Gone Funtoday at (517) 204-7344.