- A small-breed puppy reaches adult weight by 9-12 months
- A medium-breed puppy reaches adult weight by 12 months.
- A large-breed puppy reaches adult weight by 18-24 months.
Bringing him home: 8- 12 weeks
It is important that a puppy is not too young to be taken from its mother and litter. From 8 weeks old is the minimum age.
By the time you have welcomed your puppy home, his brain is ready to start soaking up all the new experiences you can give him. He’ll learn fast, so it’s important to make sure you’re teaching him the right things. Learning basic manners and house training etc are very important. Remember your puppy is still too young to be taken out and socialised with other dogs as they still need their vaccinations.
It’s also important to know that a puppy experiences it’s first ‘fear period’ somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks of age. Your pup may show fear or apprehension about people, places or things that he was previously unafraid of. It’s important to continue with socialization in a positive, upbeat way. But, also be careful not to expose him to situations or experiences that are unduly nerve-wracking for him. Its a big world for him to learn, take it easy and build up confidence with positive rewards.
Terrible Twos: 3 – 4 Months
Like the ‘terrible twos’ in humans, this is just the canine equivalent. During this stage of puppy development, your puppy will show increasing independence and may even occasionally ignore/challenge you. He’ll also be teething at this time, and his sore gums will lead him to bite and chewing on anything and everything. This is one of the puppy stages where you’ll probably find yourself saying “no” an awful lot! But, remember to use a firm conisitent tone and never use a harsh voice or physical punishments.
Socialisation is key: 5 – 10 months
Your puppy will continue to grow and develop at an amazing rate during this period. It’s critically important to continue his training and socialisation experiences, as he’ll be making assumptions and decisions about the world, and his place in it, during this stage of puppy development. He will continue to challenge you and test the limits too, so be prepared.
Get your puppy spayed or neutered during this period. These procedures have a positive impact on your puppy’s future health and helps to reduce the huge number of unwanted puppies born every year.
Teenage Challenge: 10 months – 1 year
If a small breed your puppy will reach maturity during this time frame. Although your pup may look like an adult dog by now, he may still be quite immature in his behavior. He’ll also have tons of energy, but not necessarily a lot of common sense – Hence the “Teenage” term.
Pups of some breeds may become quite challenging at this point, and may make subtle (or even quite ‘in your face’) attempts at dominance. It’s important to continue obedience classes and socialisation and to insist on good behavior and compliance with your rules. Stick with firm and consistent voice commands and positive reinforcement, you will need to be patient.
All grown up: 1 year +
Somewhere between 1 and 2 years of age, most dogs reach full sexual and developmental maturity. Your puppy’s growth will now taper off, although he will probably continue to ‘fill out’ over the next few months.
At this point you can start your pup on more vigorous exercise, such as jogging, agility etc. because his bones and joints are fully developed and less prone to stress injuries. You can now switch your pup over from his puppy food to a premium adult dog food, as his nutritional needs are changing. He should be obedient and well behaved by now, and all your hard work over the past months will have paid off.