Puppy Development Stage
When does your pup comes of age and into the threshold of a full-fledged dog. Dog enthusiast usually consider an animal a puppy until it is 12 months old. But there are exceptions especially big breed dogs that may take up to 18 months to mature.
Many a dog remains immature in body and mind throughout the first 24 months. The first two years of the dog age is equivalent to about our ten years for every one year of the pup. After that it is about 5 years of human years for every one year of the dog’s life. The lifespan of your dog will depend on its breed. Usually large breed such as the Bull Mastiff and Great Dane live to about ten years. But smaller breeds such as the Miniature Pinscher or the Chihuahua may exceed 15 years of living.
For the first 20 days of a pup’s life, it cannot hear or see. So the mother is responsible for all the cleaning and feeding duties. From week 3 through to week 7, pups remain with their littermates, learning to act like dogs and becoming socialized by their mother and human caregivers. After 12 weeks, the litter should not be left together as they start to develop behavioral trend. Their behavior begins to heighten and there will be domineering and submissive behaviors. This is not encouraged as it can become a training issue later on. For at this period of development, separating the puppies’ area into sleeping, playing, feeding and elimination can help in housebreaking.
About seven weeks, the puppy happily enters childhood and will be very curious. You will be seeing your puppy mouthing, wagging its tail, running everywhere and enticing you to play with it. This is the time where it will starts to bite whatever it can find such as your shoes and sandals. Ensure that you keep your shoes away from it and get some chewing toys for the puppy to satisfy its “itchy” teeth. Your puppy will be running to you for your warm cuddles and happy to see that its needs especially its meals is taken care of. At this stage, you should take you puppy for its first vaccination.
Your puppy by now will start to show signs of bowel control. This is the time that you introduce your puppy to separate areas of feeding and area of elimination. Laying down of newspaper as its elimination area is a common practice. This will helps your puppy to know where its “potty” is.
Socialization is an important part of the dog’s development. You should begin to expose your puppy to all kinds of stimuli such as strangers, children, loud noise and other pets if you have them at home. Do remember to praise your puppy for the good behavior so that it will grow up to be a confident dog.
When your puppy reach the age of six months, you can decide whether you want to spay or neuter your pup. If you are not going to breed it, the recommendation is to spay or neuter. It has its advantages, for example a female dog will be bleeding and messy when it is on heat. By spaying it, the female dog will never be on heat and it will not “bleed”. And for a male dog to be neutered, it will be more gentle and affectionate with you, and not have the male hormone, , testosterone, which “boost” its aggressiveness.