Puppy Development


3-8Wks (Toddler) 

Puppies start venturing about and exploring their whelping area. Lessons learned in the puppy toddler stage are CRITICAL for development. Puppies that are removed too early from their litter can become nervous, bark inappropriately, and develop aggression since those lessons are taught by mom and littermates. Training and behavioral problems have been linked to a puppy being removed to early. 

Behaviors 3-5 Weeks Behavioral patterns and body language. Bite control. Learning how to vocalize. Littermate relationships start developing  5-8 Weeks Patterned Vocalization. Learn their place in the pack. Continued body language and bite control.

Suggestions : Puppies are young enough that there isn’t really anything to do, sometimes the mom will growls when necessary to “check” the puppies. Puppies are handled daily by the breeder and are exposed to a variety of noises and textures.

Socialization, Imprint & Fear Period (7-12 Weeks) 

We cannot stress enough the importance of socialization and its impact on puppies. Dogs that lack proper socialization can become fearful and aggressive. Positive experiences and interactions are a MUST. ANY traumatic, painful, or frightening experience can have a lasting impact if not remediedBehaviors: Short attention span. Lessons learned are permanent. Willing and eager to learn. Temperament and personality will start to show. Transition their learning from their mother to humans. Suggestions: Introduce new environments, people and objects. Make experiences positive by providing a positive tone and treats/toys. Take all new experiences slowly to allow them to adjust. Do not let others be forceful with your puppy, if your puppy seems uncomfortable, allow them space. Comfort your puppy, you are there to protect and lead your puppy.

“Tween-ager” Period (12-16 Weeks) Test boundaries and establish their place in the “pack”. Very observant and will try to move up in the pecking order of your family. You may seem some of the following behaviors during this time. Behaviors: Questions commands and authority. Attempts to dominate. Leash biting. Growling/mouthing. Overexcited. Suggestions - Learn how your actions, tone and body language impact your dog. Please do not play aggressive games during this time (Wrestling or tug of war) Puppies may see this as a test of dominance from you. If your puppy/dog becomes overly excited, growls or mouths you – stop whatever activity you are doing. Do not leave children unattended with the puppy/dog since your puppy does not know how to behave with them. We recommend signing your puppy up for kindergarten to start their training during this time.

“Teenager” Period (4-8 Months) Don’t be sad, but your puppy will become more independent and want to go exploring on their down during this time. It is so important to teach your puppy the “come” command and to stay close during this time. Behaviors: Puppy becomes independent and will venture off. Ignore commands / test boundaries. Teething (Expect to find puppy teeth around the house) Plays “Catch me” – be sure not to chase them, call them to come and treat when they do.  Suggestions: Leash 100% of the time, we use a normal 4-6 foot leash and a long line. Continue with training classes. Practice “Come” randomly and be sure to make it positive. NEVER allow your puppy off leash in an unconfined area

 “Cujo” Period (7-10 Months) 

This stage is one of the most difficult times when it comes to owning a puppy. Many families rehome their puppies during this time. Please take the time to train your Pembroke, you get out what you put in. Hard work pays off, so hang in there! Behaviors: Puppy is a free and independent thinker. Tests their place in the pack. Energetic and exuberant. Teething Suggestions: Reaffirm the pack order. Set realistic expectations. Continue to train daily. Channel puppy energy to something positive.

Second Fear Period (6-14 Months) Your puppy will revert on things that they were once confident, such as going up or down stairs. Your puppy will feed off your energy, so try to be patient and calm. Behaviors: Puppy will become reluctant to new things. Fearfulness will come and go. Puppy can seem frustrating. Puppy can seem skittish. Suggestions - Be aware of triggers. Be Patient. Desensitize with introductions and rewards. Avoid coddling(Reward for fearful behavior) Do not over react