During the first days and months at home with your new dog, some things will come very naturally, others may not. To help you get off to a good start, we have put together this quick guide to make sure you know what to expect, and when.
Month 1 - From dependency to socialisation
At birth and for a couple of weeks after, puppies are heavily dependent on their mother. They spend most of their time eating and sleeping.
They don’t open their eyes until 10 to 14 days after birth – but they’re still sensitive to touch and smell in the meantime!
This is when the fun starts! They start to show their own characteristics and give little glimpses into the personality that will come out more as they grow up. They’ll also begin moving more as their eyes open and become more responsive to noises.
This is also teething time for puppies. Like humans, puppies have two sets of teeth. The ‘baby teeth’begin to form during this time.
Month 2 - From first injections to going home time
This is when your puppy will need their first vaccinations. After these, your puppy will soon be ready to venture away from their mother and into their new homes.
It’s also the time when your puppy is most responsive to socialisation – so its the most important time to spend some quality time with your new pup.
Month 3 - Second vaccinations and potty training and Recognising their name
Your puppy’s second injections will be needed during this month.
They can start feeding three times a day now as their digestive systems are maturing. This makes it the perfect time to teach your new arrival were to do their business! Taking your puppy outside and making sure it associates this place with where it does its business is essential if you want to avoid messy accidents in the future.
It’s a busy month for your puppy as he will also start responding to his name being called out making this the perfect time to teach him some tricks. Remember to start slow when so he isn’t overwhelmed and becomes confused.
Month 4 - Making friends with other dogs
When your dog is about 3 to 4 months old, it’s time to start introducing them to other puppy pals. Make sure your dog gets all their injections before this though, and your puppy pals have also had theirs.
After the 4-month mark, you will start to notice little white teeth around the house as your dog will start to lose their baby teeth. Don’t worry if you don’t though, the teeth are tiny and many are swallowed!
By the time they’re 7 months old, they’ll have a full set of adult teeth to chew their favourite toy on.
Month 5 - Causing mischief
At this age, your puppy will probably start playing up. Whether it’s not responding to any commands you’ve taught him, or generally causing a mess throughout the house, be ready for the terrible 20-week mark in your puppy’s development, but remember, it will pass!
Month 6 - Sexual maturity
The next milestone, one your pup probably isn’t looking forward to, is reaching sexual maturity. This means it’s probably the best time to think about neutering (for boys) or spaying (for girls) your dog.
He’ll also still be a little rascal at this point as they’ve officially reached adolescence. He will resemble a teenager rebelling against their parents but he’ll grow out of it soon enough!
Month 8 - Permanent teeth
If you’re noticing he’s a little more nippy than usual or that he’s chewing the table legs, that’s because his permanent teeth have started to grow.
By now a puppy’s permanent teeth have started to grow in and there’ll be plenty more biting and chewing to be had.
It’s not all bad news though, your puppy is probably starting to get the hang of toilet training if they haven’t already.
Month 12 - A trip to the Vet
Now’s the time to look into swapping your dog’s puppy food to adult dog food. You’ll want to do this slowly so he doesn’t get an upset tummy. If you are unsure about this process, speak to your veterinary clinic for more advice.
It’s also time to book an appointment for your dog to get their annual boosters. Make sure they’re up-to-date with their worm and flea treatments, too.
Month 12-18 - Emotional maturity
Good news! The last couple of months might have felt like chaos but your dog will now start to mature and settle into their personality.
It’s a very exciting time and you will feel a lot of pride watching him grow. Enjoy every minute.