This section details information regarding puppy rates of growth and development according to the age of the puppy. Each stage of puppy growth provides invaluable information about a puppy, what to expect and how a puppy should be treated. By the time it reaches its first birthday a puppy is considered a mature, adult dog. Puppy growth rate is fast compared to humans. Just compare a puppy of 8 weeks to a baby of the same age. Each stage of puppy growth and development is fascinating and it helps to understand each stage a pup will go through to reach adulthood.
 Growth Rate
One of the most common questions asked about a puppy’s growth and development rate refers to the eventual size of the puppy. How big will the puppy grow? How can you determine the adult size of a puppy? It is easy to get completely carried away when choosing a puppy. A young puppy is tiny and cute - everyone loves puppies! But will the puppy be suited to your environment? How much exercise will be required for a full grown dog? Will the puppy be a suitable pet for children? The breed of the puppy will determine the answers to these questions. A general response to the size and growth rate of a puppy and the adult size of a puppy is therefore not possible; it needs to be specific to the puppy’s breed.
 Stages of Puppy Growth and Development
The following sections detail the various growth and development stages up to one-year-old with puppy behaviour details:
 Newborn Puppy Growth, Development and Behaviour up to 3 Weeks
A puppy is born blind, deaf and toothless
During its first week, 90% of a puppy’s time is spent sleeping and 10% eating. They are only able to crawl
The puppy's eyes, which are closed at birth, open when it is between one and two-weeks-old. It then begins to see
The pup’s ears should open when it is two to three-weeks-old
Puppies whimper when they are cold, hungry or uncomfortable
Puppy’s grow while they sleep
A puppy is reliant on its mother for the first few weeks for food, comfort and to learn basic dog requirements
 Puppy Growth, Development and Behaviour between 3 and 7 Weeks
A puppy will be weaned between the ages of 3 and 7 weeks

During the ages of 3 to 7 weeks its first teeth, or milk teeth will appear

A puppy is taught basic behaviour disciplines from its mother
A puppy will continue to develop by socialising with other dogs, animals and people
Puppies will stand up and start walking
At the age of 3 weeks a puppy will develop its sense of smell
At 3 weeks the puppy will begin to bark and show social development such as wagging its tail, growling and baring its teeth
Up to the age of 4 weeks the mother will be with the puppy almost constantly

The puppy has good use of its legs and is able to chase

Between 4 and 5 weeks the mother will gradually spend time away from her puppies
Rapid growth and development rate at this stage

Interaction with litter mates leading to Order of Dominance

After weaning, puppies need to receive a series of vaccinations in order to develop immunity on their own. Vaccinations for puppies generally include distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, par influenza, parvovirus, rabies and sometimes bordetella
 Puppy Growth, Development and Behaviour between 7 and 12 Weeks
Puppies are usually found new homes at this age. It starts focusing attention on its owner rather than other puppies
The first fear period of the puppy begins
A puppy starts to learn its name but still has a short attention span
The puppy will start house training
At first, the puppy should be fed four times a day. (Feedings should be reduced to twice a day by the time a puppy is mature, or even once a day in the case of a dog that gets little exercise)
The puppy’s motor skills improve
The puppy will use its basic instincts to naturally explore its new environment and the different things within it
Puppies will still sleep a lot and grow as they are sleeping. During times of stress, a dog raises its hackles - the hair along the neck and spine

Puppy training must begin and pups need to be made aware of your rules


 Puppy Growth, Development and Behaviour between 12 and 16 Weeks

The first of the permanent teeth will work through
Ensure the puppy has plenty of attention and toys to play with
At this age a puppy might demonstrate Pack Leader Behaviour and test who is the boss. A puppy will challenge your authority
 Puppy growth, development and behaviour between 4 and 8 months
The adult teeth continue to come through and during this time puppies need to chew! The incisors and the canines are very important because the dog bites and tears at its food with these teeth
Provide them with items to chew
The confidence of the puppy will now have grown as will its physical size
The puppy will be showing interest in chasing other puppies at this age and starts to become independent
  Puppy growth, development and behaviour between 8 months to 1 year
Feeding frequency should be considered. Reduce to 2 or 3 meals per day
Some dogs reach sexual maturity at the age of 8 months
The puppy is old enough to start obedience classes or a professional training programme
The puppy would have grown to approximately half to three quarters the size of an adult dog
Female dogs would probably have reached their eventually height but will to continue to 'fill out'
 Puppy Growth and Development & Behaviour between 8 months to 1 year
Puppies are now considered to have finished their development and growth rate and are viewed as adult dogs.

Although sexually mature beforehand, a dog usually does not attain full growth until at least its first birthday.

Puppy Growth - Large Breeds
The information provided on this page relates specifically to the various stages of growth, development and behaviour you can expect to see in your puppy’s first year. In respect of the larger dogs, such as the Mastiff, caution must be taken during growth periods in the first 18 months of the puppy's life. Excessive exercise such as jumping obstacles or excessively long walks can cause joint damage.
Puppy First Days
Puppy Dental Pain
When Dog Eats Bad Things
Puppy & Dog Vaccination
Choosing the Right Puppy Dog
Training a Puppy
Puppy Growth & Development
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