Welpenentwicklung Mischlinge

Puppy development: how your dog grows up

Hardly any time with your dog is as fast-moving and diverse as the various phases of puppy development in the first months of life up to the puberty phase. You are probably totally in love with your little ball of fur and enjoy every free minute with your clumsy roommate. To give you an idea of what is going on in your darling and how your puppy is developing, you will find the answers to the most important questions about puppy development in this article.

Developmental stages of a puppy

The development of your puppy can be roughly divided into 5 phases until dog puberty:

  1. neonatal phase: Puppies are born deaf and blind. They only react to external stimuli such as smell, touch, pain and warmth. The central nervous system is still incompletely developed. In the first ten days after birth, your puppy's sense of taste is already developed and he can perceive sounds. However, he is still dependent on external warmth from his mother and littermates.
  2. transition phase: In the days up to the third week of life, puppies can perceive environmental stimuli of their surroundings, they can hear and see. Heat regulation now works without cuddling up to littermates and the mother dog. Your puppy now defecates and urinates on its own and ventures its first steps out of the whelping box into the nearby environment. Also the milk teeth show up from the third week of life. In the first 2-3 weeks of life, they gain at least 10% of their body weight every day.
  3. Imprinting phase: From the 4th to the 8th week of life, his curiosity is awakened. Puppies now develop a strong urge to explore. Here it is important to protect puppies from bad experiences. In this way, you avoid false imprints from which fears could develop. Towards the end of the 4th week, they are able to maintain their body temperature independently.
  4. socialization phase: Dogs learn social skills between the 8th and 12th week of life. Many puppies still live with their mother during this period. The socialization phase is important because the puppy now learns how to get along with other dogs and how to live with people - which of course also influences your future life together.
  5. ranking phase: As the name suggests, this is the time when the hierarchy in your family pack is clarified, from about the 13th to the 18th week of life. As you know it from defiant toddlers, your puppy is now testing out exactly how far he can go with his behavior. During this time, he should learn that you are the pack leader.

Good to know: Opinions often differ as to what constitutes a pack of family dogs. By definition, a pack is a pair of parents and the offspring from 2-3 years. As we are of course not related to our dogs, strictly speaking we cannot speak of a pack. Dogs are described as socially obligate, i.e. they need social partners, but not necessarily from their own family. As humans can be seen as social partners in this case, some people use the term "family pack".

Size: How big will your dog grow?

Basically, the size of the puppy at 8 weeks of age can give an indication of its final size (measured at shoulder height):

< 20 cm

Your dog will be max. 35 cm tall

20 - 30 cm

Your dog will be between 40-50 cm tall

> 30 cm

Your dog will be over 50 cm tall

Further clues to the growth and to the size of the Dog give:

  • Breed: Purebred dogs are subject to defined standards, to which the size is also assigned.
  • Sex: As a general rule, males grow larger than females.
  • Parental dogs: Particularly in the case of mixed-breed puppies, the size of the parents does not always provide information about growth. For example, if the father is a German Shepherd and the mother is a Dachshund, the puppies may well grow to different sizes.
  • Radiographs: The veterinarian can use the spacing of the growth plates in the skeleton to track current growth and roughly estimate how large a puppy will grow.
Puppy neutral

Needs: What does my puppy need?

At the earliest 8 weeks, the puppies can move to their new home. Now it is up to you to pave the way for a good development of your little companion in the first weeks of acclimatization:

  • Safety: Make your living area safe for puppies so that they do not swallow small parts and are protected from injuries.
  • Safety: Make your living area safe for puppies so that they do not swallow small parts and are protected from injuries.
  • Support: Offer your four-legged friend "back-up": your patience and calmness will transfer to your little darling and strengthen his confidence.
  • Contact: It's best to take the first 14 days off after your puppy moves in, so you can get acquainted and bond with each other in peace.
  • Adequate sleep: Puppies need about 18 hours of sleep a day. Allow your four-legged friend to get enough rest in a quiet place.
  • Heat: Expose your puppy to cold temperatures only for short periods of time and avoid drafts. Especially breeds with thin coats can catch a cold quickly.
  • Food: When feeding your puppy, it is recommended to start with a vitamin-rich puppy food that contains all the important nutrients. Always provide your puppy with plenty of fresh water and feed him small portions several times a day. Healthy puppies drink every 1-2 hours and sleep in between.

our tip: In our articles about moving in and the first days and nights with your puppy you will find all the important information about the preparation for moving in your puppy and the first days together at home

Characteristics: What makes a puppy?

You can use the imprinting and socialization phase up to the 12th week of life in particular to try out many different situations with your puppy and teach it a lot, because this lays the foundation for further living together. Your puppy now builds a bond with you, he contacts conspecifics, strange people and inanimate objects and associates positive or negative experiences with them. In addition, puppies learn and understand the rules of coexistence easily now, because experiences and commands are quickly consolidated until the 18th week of life.

Age: How long is a dog a puppy?

Puppyhood flies by. Of course, a dog does not go from puppy to young dog overnight, but changes especially during the change of teeth between the 16th and 18th week of life. Although small dog breeds basically develop both physically and mentally faster than the larger breeds, the beginning and duration of the puppy phase is very individual.

Comclusion: As stressful as the first days and weeks may be, you'll be surprised how quickly the first weeks of your little one's life rush by. All the more reason to enjoy this precious time to the fullest. Looking back, what phase of your puppy's development do you remember most favorably? And was the biggest challenge really housetraining or the lack of sleep those first few nights? Share your memories with us - we look forward to it!

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