There are 4 main development stages of a puppy. These are good to know as you move forwards in training and working with your puppy.
The first stage is Neonatal. This stage happens before you get your puppy from birth to about 2 weeks of age. During this time they are dependent on their mom, their eyes and ears are not open and all of the sensory input is done through smell and touch. The puppies that receive better maternal care in this stage do better with social and physical engagement as adults. Gentle handling of neonates starting at 3 days of age will help them to be calmer as they grow.
The second is the Transitional Stage, which lasts about a week when their eyes and ears open and begin to function. They gain muscle control and start learning how to socially communicate and interact. Such as growling and playing. At this time they are able to go to the bathroom without maternal stimulation. At this time introducing an appropriate substrate to eliminate is a good idea.
The third stage is Socialization. This stage is where puppies will learn to be social towards other dogs and other species. During the socialization stage that he is “sensitive” time, this time refers to age 3 weeks to 12-14 weeks. This is when the bulk of socialization needs to take place, getting them used to new things that may be scary or uncomfortable to them. Puppies that are weaned too early will struggle with this phase of life and puppies that are not handled while they are young tend to be more fearful of humans. Take the proper precautions to socialize your puppy during this critical/sensitive time, being aware that they are at higher risk of getting sick.
The last stage is the Juvenile stage. This represents the end of the socialization period to sexual maturity. On average sexual maturity is reached by 6 months of age, this may be delayed in large or giant breed dogs. Some breeds may remain behaviorally immature even after sexual maturity is reached. Behavior issues are more often reported during this stage because of immaturity. It is important to keep this in mind and continue to work on behaviors at home or with a trainer to give your puppy the best opportunity to be successful as an adult.
Getting a new puppy can be challenging, just remember that you can always reach out to us and ask any questions you may have.