Do explore our handy life stages guide of a puppy so you'll know what to expect as you go along! The length of this phase will depend on the size of the dog, with smaller breed puppies maturing more quickly than larger dog breeds.
The first weeks
- Beginning of the third week, a puppy's senses begin to awaken. His eyes and auditory canals open so he can communicate with the litter.
- At around the 21st day, he'll make his first attempts at walking and barking.
- By the fourth week, the senses are fully developed. He will carefully observe his environment, and examine and sniff everything.
- At this stage, his ability to learn is great so spend a lot of time with your puppy.
- He can begin to eat solid food from the fourth week on. We recommend packaged dog food suited to puppies.
- Between 8 and 12 weeks, he can move to a "human pack". The best time for the separation from mother and brothers and sisters is at 10 weeks of age.
The first months
- If you adopt a puppy at about the 10th week, take him to the vet immediately to get advice on vaccinations and deworming.
- Shower a lot of loving attention to help cope with the new environment. Praise him often, however, set his boundaries with a stern "no" and begin house training.
- Until the 16th week, your dog will need a "leader of the pack" – which is you. It is your decision what and when your dog is fed and what he is not to eat.
- Ensure that special requirements for nutrients are met in this phase of quick growth. Give him a variety of experiences such as riding in a car, riding in a bus, an elevator, and so on.
- Usually rather short, puberty lasts from between one month and six weeks.
- Often your dog will behave badly and won't want to learn anything new.
- Sometimes he may forget what he has learned so far, or at least pretend to. Do be persistent and keep on with his education programme.
- Post this stage, in the eight or ninth month, he grows to be an adult dog.