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Puppy Development

During his first year of life, your puppy will experience several stages of development and will begin to mature physically, mentally and emotionally. The following timeline provides a general idea of how a puppy develops. Depending on the breed of your puppy, he may develop at a different pace.

Birth to 7 Weeks: Puppy with Mother

Your puppy is born blind and deaf, but his eyesight and hearing start to develop between the second and third week of life, about the same time he begins to move around. During the first seven weeks, your puppy should remain with his mother. She uses this period to teach her puppies about social behavior in the dog world, including how to play with others and respect for authority. She also weans her puppies.

7 to 8 Weeks: Your Puppy Comes

By this time, your puppy is weaned from his mother and is ready to go to his new home. Between seven and eight weeks of age is the best time to bring your puppy home as he is at a stage where he easily adjusts to change. Your puppy will need his first set of vaccinations around eight weeks old.

8 to 18 Weeks: Your Puppy and Socialization

During this period, your puppy is like a sponge, absorbing practically everything he observes. To socialize your puppy, expose him to a variety of places, people and situations, but watch for a brief period when he may be easily frightened, usually around eight to ten weeks old.

Your puppy is ready to learn some simple obedience commands, such as Sit and Come. Your puppy will need his second set of vaccinations around 12 weeks old and his third set around 16 weeks old.

4 to 6 Months: Your Puppy Is Growing Up

As active as your puppy was before, his activity level actually increases during this period. To keep him busy, you can increase the frequency and difficulty level of his training. Your puppy still has a lot of physical and emotional maturing to do. His adult teeth begin to come in around this time, so keep a good supply of chew toys on hand. You should be consistent with your expectations of your puppy and create a comfortable routine that minimizes confusion and stress. Around four months of age, your puppy may go through another phase where he is fearful or shy around new people or
situations. As his confidence grows, he will become more independent. At around six months, check with your veterinarian about spaying or neutering.

6 to 12 Months: Your Puppy's Adolescence

Finally, at around eight months, your puppy's activity level peaks. However, his independence increases and he may begin to test the boundaries of his environment. If this occurs, set up situations where he must earn his life rewards. For information on life rewards. As your puppy enters adolescence, he may start to display behaviors such as jumping
up uninvited, begging or pulling on his leash. You should work on correcting these behavior issues promptly and consistently. During this period, keep your puppy in his confinement area when you cannot supervise him.

After 12 Months: Your Puppy Begins Adulthood

Although technically an adult, your dog still has some physical and emotional growing to do. He may be as tall as he
is going to get, but his muscle mass may still increase. When he is physically mature, you can start more advanced
training, such as agility training. When he is mentally mature, you can prepare him for competitions and tests, such as the Canine Good Citizen® test. By this time, your dog is easier to live with. He is comfortable with your family routine and with his place in your home. After his first year, you can limit your vet visits to yearly check-ups unless your dog
requires a visit for an illness.

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