Stages in the life of a dog

Mario Hernandez on 13/04/2016

In this series of articles we will be giving details about the training needs of different breeds of dogs. In this first article we will begin by presenting the stages of the dog at he or she grows up. This will help us understand the particularities in their behavior in each stage.

Neonatal stage: is the stage from birth to about ten or twelve days after birth. In this period the puppy does not see or hear, it has to be breastfed and like any baby needs the company of his mother. Moreover, they cannot relief themselves voluntarily. Their mother licks them every so often to stimulate them.

Transition period: ranges from twelve to twenty-one days. At this stage puppies start moving more and they can see and hear. They also start controlling their evacuation. Most importantly they also interact and start playing with their siblings.

First socialization stage: spans from twenty-one days to two month. In this period the puppy receives the imprint of the mother, learns behaviors that make him/her a dog as for example barking and biting. The mother, also teaches the behavior within the group and their position in it.

Second socialization state is from around two to seven months. It is very important to the life of our puppy, as at this stage the dog has to get used to the humans, other animals, noises etc. Like us when we are very young, at this age puppies do not have a feeling of danger and are curious about everything.

Keep in mind that at this time the dog, because of their curiosity, can destroy things at home. We must be vigilant and try to avoid these undesirable behaviors, as this may begin to undermine our friendship with our puppy.

Adolescence is the period from 7 months to around a year. Adolescence comes with puberty in both males and females and hormonal changes occur. Males can start being more aggressive with other males and typically they begin marking their territory (urination). Females will have their first heat period and they might fail to follow their housebreaking rules relieving themselves at home.

The stage of maturity starts at a year and depending on the breed of our dog can span to 6 or even 10 years. The character of our dog is already defined, they are no curious about everything as when they are puppies, their desire to play may decrease but everything depends on the breed and the relationship we have with our dog since the time of puppyhood.

The senior stage arrives at different times for large or small breeds since the latter live longer. Dogs tend to sleep more, may show symptoms of deafness and may lose vision at this stage. This is when they need more understanding and respect by the owners. Keep doing the same daily routine, walks, games etc. of course within their limitations as they are no longer so young. Of course we can and should continue enjoying their company and friendship as much as we can.