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Puppy Stages ~ 1st 18 Months

Puppy Stages ~ 1st 18 Months

On December 8, 2019, Posted by , In Rescue Organization, With 1 Comment

1st Year Puppy Stages

Along with obvious growth spurts, your puppy will have definitive emotional Be prepared for  every stage of puppyhood by learning what to expect, and not to expect

4-8 Weeks






At this stage, all puppies should still be with their mother and their littermates where serious socialization, fears and pack respect is established.  It’s crucial for puppy development that they stay with their mothers and littermates until at least eight weeks old.

Taken away from their littermates/mum before 8 weeks can create subliminal ‘fear phobias’ that will surface later as they mature.  i.e. mouthing/chewing/separation anxiety.

Puppies will start to show signs of chewing, and their sense of smell will really start to be present. They will still have their puppy coats.



8-12 Weeks


Great time to bring your puppy home!   At this point in puppyhood your dog should be microchipped and starting vet care, such as getting his first vaccinations.

Although they will still sleep often, your puppy will be more curious and start to explore more. During the end of this phase (closer to 12 Obedience Classes ~ good idea, when they are closer to 12 weeks of age & are up to date on their vaccinations.

They should know and respond to their name easily at this stage.

Your puppy will experience growth spurts throughout this period.


16 Weeks



At 16 weeks your pup will weigh approximately half of his full adult weight.  They will start to lose their milking teeth now and will need to be restricted from chewing things they shouldn’t and given things to help them ‘teeth’.

i.e. Like human babies losing their ‘milk’ teeth is painful and giving them a wet soaked & frozen, twisted face cloth will help ‘freeze’ and numb their gums which will be very helpful for them.  You won’t notice it, but they sure will feel better.  Dogs hide pain as in nature pain is weakness which makes them vulnerable to other predators, so dogs tend to have a high pain threshold, but still feel the pain like we would.

…..so be prepared for this teething phase!  Keep valuables out of reach and give them a few good soft toy & a frozen twisted face cloth that can help freeze their gums during this period makes you an amazing dog owner!

You and your our puppy should definitely be enrolled in obedience classes by now and initial vaccinations have been given.   They should be responding to basic commands and starting to understand rewards for good behavior.  Ps:  Girls tend to learn faster than boys at this stage, just like us when we were in Elementary School.  Don’t worry ~ the boys catch up fast later.


Important:  Spay or Neuter Appointment.    Set a date now to have your puppy spayed or neutered.  With 3+ million dogs given up to Shelters annually, and even more dumped to fend for themselves, we don’t need another ‘litter’……….Check our 110,000+ adoptables in need of a home on our website, you’ll see there’s more supply than demand.  Help us help them!


6 Months



Your puppy is getting big!  They are also getting adventurous and starting to take more risks.  Be sure to continue using your basic commands (sit, stay, come, etc.), as your puppy should fully understand that you are the alpha leader in the pack.

Some smaller breeds of dogs will already hit puberty at six months. A lot of their adult canine teeth should be in place now and their adult coat should be filling in.


12 Months

Your puppy may, but not always, be at their expected height and weight.  While their height may have been reached their bone density is still a work in progress, and therefore we believe that all dogs are still puppies till 18 months of age.  Their outward physic may have been established but their inside bone development may still be going on.

At this point, your vet should start talking with you about booster vaccinations. Larger breeds will be hitting puberty now, and all dogs will start to get a bit rebellious. Even if your pup tries your patience, stick to his training and basic commands.


18 Months

Your puppy is no longer a puppy but an adult dog. Much of your dog’s socialization and training will have happened by now, and your dog’s personality is likely established. Just like humans, some dogs mature at a slower rate, so no need for concern if your pup is still acting like an adolescent.


Addendum True story:  My female Std. Poodle and I had won top obedience honors nationwide and were on a ‘roll’.  I had just acquired my 2nd Standard Poodle, a male, to achieve the same honors over time I hoped.   Training him was a different story.  I tried everything, including foreign languages and raw steak ~ and he just wouldn’t respond.  Then one day at 3-4 yrs of age he knew everything perfectly, as if he had stored it all to bring out one day when he was ready……..and we went on to win countless trophies over his competitive lifetime including a ‘Dog World Award’ in Madison Square Gardens in Obedience, a rare and one of the most difficult awards to achieve…just ‘shows to go you’!

One response to “Puppy Stages ~ 1st 18 Months”

  1. Robin Noonkester says:

    We are interested in a lab mix. Maybe lab and German shepherd puppy.

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