Watch your Puppy Grow
Supporting us through what can only be described as one of the strangest year in history, our animals have been a saving grace in times of despair and loneliness and have proved just how important they are in our lives. As more and more people realise how beneficial dogs can be for both our physical and mental health, the country has seen an influx of puppy adoptions and purchases over the past 12 months.
However, like the age old saying “Dog’s aren’t just for Christmas”, understanding the commitment and responsibility can often be overwhelming for those who may have never owned a dog before. Learning and adapting to your dog’s growth and the support they need whilst maturing takes time and patience and can be a hard task for anyone whether they are experienced or not. So to help out all new puppy owners out there, we have made this how to guide for understanding how your puppy grows and everything you need to enjoy your four-legged friend growing up in front of your very eyes.
First Steps - 0-7 Weeks
As one of the significant stages in your puppy's life, their introduction into this world is fundamental in both their survival and development later on in life. During the first 10 days of your pup’s life, your puppy is completely dependent on its mother as it is unable to open their eyes or feed themselves, relying heavily on their mother for food and comfort. Slowly the puppy will begin to sense movement and vibration and will begin using its paws to maneuver around.
Around 5 weeks, your puppy will be able to move around freely and begin interacting with others in the litter. This stage is vital for their social skills as they will learn behaviours and boundaries set by their mother and others around them. It is so important that dogs are not removed from their mothers before the age of 7 weeks as it can harm both their development, growth and behaviour. Unfortunately, it is the loss of this initial bond that leads rescue puppies to struggle later in life. After 7 weeks, your puppy will be about ready to take home, where the real fun and games begin.
Learning Stage - 8 - 10 weeks
For new dog owners, this is one of the trickiest stages in your dog’s development. Understanding their new environment is fundamental to growth and the bond between you and your new puppy. Your new additions life so far has been taken away from them and they have been moved to a brand new home. We would recommend when purchasing a puppy to bring with you a toy or blanket that your puppy had from their original home to help soothe and calm during those first restless nights.
It is this stage where your patience will be tested with toilet training. Puppy pads and plenty of anti-bacterial wipes are essential during this stage. There will be accidents. Own them and move on. Eventually, your puppy with lots of rewards and praise will learn to use the bathroom outside and when this happens it will be one of the proudest moments of your life. With rewards such as JR training treats, there can be an easy way when it comes to going for a poop outside.
Training Stage - 11-16 weeks
Expect tears, tantrums and a whole load of treats in this stage because you need an abundance of calm and patience. During this time, it is recommended to enroll your new pup into training classes, which can be found online or at your local vets, to help your puppy adjust to walking on a lead, responding to commands and even socialising.
In the first few months, it is essential not to punish your puppy repeatedly for mishaps as negative behaviour can have a detrimental effect on your puppy’s development. Like us humans, our dogs respond significantly better to positive reinforcement, before you know it your puppy will be ready for the outside world feeling as confident as ever.
Puppy Love - 5 - 12 months
This stage is where you undergo processes with your pet to avoid any problems later in life with their burgeoning sexual maturity. It is suggested to get your puppy spayed or neutered at 6 months as they are now basically hormonal teenagers. This procedure is routine and won’t require much time at the vets and aftercare only being between 10-14 days after the operation is undergone.
For restless and energetic puppies, we suggest investing in a surgical vest for your new pup to wear if you believe they will not cope very well with a cone. Created to stop infection from licking during the recovery process, many dog owners opt for jackets instead of cones due to a dog’s natural instinct for wanting to remove them.
At this time too your pup will begin to become more confident and require more stimulation during playtime. Investing in toys to both aid dental health in chewing and toys to snuggle in times of relaxation. Whenever purchasing new chews or toys, supervision is vital and we always suggest that dogs, no matter what age, should never be left alone to play or chew bones or toys.