How does my puppy grow? …

Did you know your puppy has some crucial stages in it’s growth and development which as a responsible guardian you should be aware of? No? Then read on….


This is a bit of a buzz word used in puppy training but what is it and why should you do it?

The socialisation period lasts (approximately) from when a pup is 3 weeks to 12 weeks old. It’s has 2 periods, Primary (3-5 weeks) and Secondary (6-12 weeks).

The socialisation period is THE most influential of a puppy’s life. It is when they are most accepting of new experiences and learning that occurs will form lasting impressions.. positive and negative.

In the Primary stage the pup will still be with Mum and it’s litter mates. It learns to play and have initial interaction with humans. Puppies should NEVER leave their litter during this phase as it can lead to many behavioural issues such as separation anxiety and aggression.

In the Secondary stage, pup should be learning to adapt to the outside world, it’s when they will leave their litter and adapt to a new life with you!

All new experiences should be positive, controlled and short. You can start reward based training at this point. Always be your puppies advocate and remove them from any situation that is becoming fearful for them. You want to avoid negative associations building up. Mixing with other puppies and dogs should be short and controlled. Step in and help your puppy if they are out of their depth. Don’t let them ‘sort it out between themselves’ as it could lead to fear aggression of other dogs to develop.

The Fear period

The Fear period starts around week 8 and lasts until around week 10. During this period a puppy is much more sensitive to traumatic and negative events. If they are exposed to an aversive event it can have lasting impact. Be aware of this when you bring you new puppy home and try to make all new experiences happy ones.


This phase is from 12 weeks to sexual maturity (usually 6 months of age). You will see their confidence and independence grow. Learning is still key and this is a good time to start puppy classes. You’ll see them develop more adult like motor skills and they could show less tolerance for unfamiliar things.

Adolescence (6-18 months)

Learning continues to take place and physical and mental stimulation remains key. Some dogs experience a second fear period during this time. Keep up the positive reward based training and maybe consider other activities such as scent work or agility (check min ages for these activities)