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Understanding the Transitions and Milestones of Puppyhood



Puppyhood is a period filled with fascinating changes, challenges, and significant transitions. As puppies develop physically, cognitively, and socially, they follow a general timeline of growth. Interestingly, this timeline bears resemblances to the developmental stages observed in human babies and toddlers. At Northwest Lagotto, we believe that by gaining insights into the various phases and their corresponding milestones, we can better comprehend what to expect from our furry companions and provide them with the necessary care to ensure their optimal growth into well-adjusted adult dogs. We are here to help our Lagotto family at each stage of growth and welcome questions and inquiries. If you would like to join our family of satisfied puppy owners, contact us today at NWLagotto@gmail.com


1: Newborn to Four Weeks: The Early Stages During the first three weeks of a puppy's life, their senses are not yet fully functional. They spend a majority of their time sleeping, unable to see, hear, or smell. However, between the second and fourth week, a series of remarkable transformations occur. Puppies begin to interact with their littermates and mother, their eyes open, and their senses gradually develop. By the fourth week, they can walk, emit barks, wag their tails, and experience the emergence of sharp puppy teeth.


2: Four to Eight Weeks: Exploring a Changing World This stage marks a period of significant changes in a young pup's life. The mother starts the weaning process, teaching her puppies essential behavioral lessons. Interacting with their siblings becomes akin to navigating the playground, as puppies learn crucial social skills. Furthermore, this phase witnesses the beginning of exploratory behavior and a heightened fear threshold. Gradually exposing puppies to everyday stimuli helps them acclimate to their environment. Notably, the eight-week mark holds particular significance, as it often coincides with the puppy transitioning to its permanent home. At this stage, they have developed the necessary maturity to adapt while maintaining a resilient fear threshold.


3: Eight to Twelve Weeks: The "Fear Period" Paradoxically, as you bring your puppy home at eight weeks, they enter a phase marked by increased fear and wariness towards new experiences. However, this stage also represents a crucial period of impressionability, where positive encounters play a vital role in helping them adjust to their new environment. It is an opportunity to gradually expose them to new people, animals, and situations, considering their comfort levels. Like sponges, puppies absorb information and experiences during this phase, necessitating the avoidance of frightening or painful encounters. Moreover, strong attachments to their human companions are formed during this period, forging a bond that lasts a lifetime.


4: 12 to 24 Weeks: Pre-Adolescence and Skill Development Around the 12-week mark, puppies become less fearful, more curious, and increasingly independent. They begin to establish their place within the family hierarchy while exhibiting emerging personality traits. This stage witnesses the eruption of permanent teeth, leading to a heightened inclination for chewing. Engaging in exploratory behavior, puppies benefit from enrolling in training classes to learn essential skills and socialize with other dogs. Concurrently, continued socialization with new stimuli, be it people, places, or animals, helps foster confidence and security. As their independence grows, they embark on explorations that extend beyond their immediate surroundings.


5: Six to Twelve Months: Life with a Teenaged Dog During this phase, formerly adorable and cuddly puppies transform into teenagers, testing boundaries and asserting themselves within their pack, which includes their human family members and other household pets. Adolescents necessitate increased stimulation, activity, and consistent training to channel their energy effectively. While occasional misbehavior and moments of disobedience may arise due to sexual maturity, maintaining training protocols and providing ample opportunities for play and exercise remain crucial. Leash walks become exciting adventures as teenage dogs explore their environment

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