1. Neonatal period (0 to 2 weeks)
Puppies can touch and taste at birth, but thatâ€™s about it. During this period, they are going to be most influenced by their mother (or mother surrogate) and littermates, and will start learning some simple social skills, coordination, and the ranking process. Mostly, they will just eat â€” newborns need to have milk from mom or a commercial milk replacer about every two hours.
2. Transitional period (2 to 4 weeks).
Their eyes open, they stand and walk, their sense of smell and hearing develops, they wag their tail, teeth start coming in, and they will even start to bark. By the end of this period, they should be able to use the bathroom on their own and see quite well on their own.
3. Socialization period (4 to 12 weeks)
This is the stage and timeframe where itâ€™s incredibly important to introduce your pup to other people and dogs. By five weeks, puppies are aware of their surroundings and start really enjoying playtime. Good experiences with people from weeks 5 to 7 will play a large role in how they continue to interact.
However, even though they will start being influenced by people after about a month, ideally, you want puppies to remain with their mother and littermates for eight weeks to learn inhibited play biting and other dog socialization cues.
By week seven, you may be able to start house-training your puppy. From weeks 8 to 10, your pup will go through a normal â€œfearâ€ period that can be helped with training that is positive and encouraging. However, the true training â€œgolden timeâ€ is from 9 to 12 weeks, because your pup is actively working on social skills and paying attention to both people and littermates.
4. Ranking period (3 to 6 months)
Think about this period as â€œelementary school age.â€ Just like human children, dogs at this point are most influenced by their playmates â€” both dogs and people. During this stage, your pup will begin to understand and use ranking in terms of submission and dominance. Teething and related chewing (and chewing issues!) happen around this time, and when the puppy is about four months old, she will go through another fear stage.
5. Adolescence (6 to 18 months)
Your pup now understands that he has a pack (which may consist of both humans and dogs) and his behavior will be most influenced by this group. You can expect your dog to challenge you more as he explores dominance and his role in the pack.
Dogs that are not spayed or neutered will also start exhibiting sexual behavior during this period, and a second chewing stage will likely begin somewhere between 7 to 9 months.