Puppy Development: Answers to Your Questions

All dogs go through the same stages of puppy development. However, there are specific traits in ever breed.
Puppy Development: Answers to Your Questions

Last update: 11 July, 2019

It’s good to know each stage of puppy development so you know just what to expect when your little furball becomes an adult. Each stage has important milestones such as opening their eyes and ears for the first time. Learning how to walk and starting to eat solid foods are other milestones and they’re equally important.

Many people worry about all kinds of things with their pets. Questions in regard to their food for example. “Is my puppy eating enough?”, “Is it the right kind of food?” They also worry about knowing if the doggies are growing as they should or if they weigh too much…or too little.

Today we’ll try to offer you a broad view on the many stages of canine growth. We’ll also suggest you begin a journal to record your own observations. Of course, we all want to know that our puppy development is normal. Besides, it’s fun to record their progress, as it’ll be useful in their future life.

Puppy development: stages

Of course, the developmental stages of puppies begin long before you bring them home. Smaller dog breeds develop sooner and reach maturity at a younger age than some larger breeds. Naturally, there are many doubts and concerns…

How soon in the puppy development process do they open their eyes?

A litter of sleeping puppies.

A puppy’s eyes usually open during their second week of life (in some cases it happens towards the end of the first week). This is one of the earliest stages of development they’ll go through. Furthermore, the eyes of the puppies don’t suddenly open. A small space begins to open between the eyelids and, in the course of a couple of days, they fully open.

When do they start walking?

The third week is a determining factor in a puppy’s growth. Here they’ll begin to test the strength of their paws. Most puppies will finally get up and stand on their four legs and stagger around by the end of their third week of life.

How soon do puppies start barking?

Newly born pups shriek and squeal right after they’re born and then when they’re cold or hungry. However, they remain silent for the most part. The common dog sounds begin to appear around the second to the third week.

The real barks start from around eight weeks old, and nearly all puppies will be able to do cute barky vocals between the 10th and 12th week.

When will they stop biting?

Puppies bite as part of their normal playfulness, but also because biting alleviates their teething discomfort. With the right training, most puppies will learn not to bite too hard, and they’ll stop biting entirely around six months of age.

Keep in mind that “training” is the key word here. Not biting is something you must actively teach your puppy.

Stages of puppy development and socialization

A dog yawning near a woman's face.

Socialization is a process all dogs must go through as it’ll help them live peacefully in our world. It’s about learning not to be afraid of new experiences, and to welcome human beings as friends.

You probably already know that puppies need help with this process because, at the age of three months, they begin to get nervous about strangers and events. The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom divides the Puppy Socialisation Plan into 10 stages. But we’ll only tell you about the two most important ones:

  • The window for socialization in puppies. This stage closes at around three months of age and is when your puppy will most accept and easily adapt to new experiences. This is the stage when you should take them everywhere and make sure they meet as many people as they can.
  • The period of fear in a teen dog. This is the period between the 6th and 12th month. In it, young dogs that were well-socialized as puppies may begin to feel scared of the things around them again. For this reason, their socialization process should remain ongoing.

When will puppy-dog become an adult?

As you may have guessed, there’s no exact answer to this kind of question. There are, however, three aspects of puppy development that should take place before they’re true “adults.”

  • Physical maturity
  • Sexual maturity
  • Mental maturity

Your puppy needs to go through all three before they can be officially called “adults”. But, to complicate things a bit, these processes don’t happen at the same pace. The point at which all three are over varies from one dog breed to another.

Consult your veterinarian for indications on how to handle each one of these stages. It’ll mainly depend on the breed.

It might interest you...
Why Puppies Need to Interact with Other Dogs
My AnimalsRead it in My Animals
Why Puppies Need to Interact with Other Dogs

In this article, we're going to tell you why puppies need to interact with other dogs early on, and the best way to go about that for their safety....