Puppy Development Milestones

Although we tend to categorise dogs as either puppies or adults, there are in fact numerous different development stages which your dog will go through before they reach adulthood. From the little fluff ball who can barely open her eyes, to the cheeky bundle of energy that can’t sit still, in this article we’ll cover all the stages your furry friend reaches before maturity. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of your dog’s physical state as she grows up, so you know how to care for your pup during each one.

Neonatal period (0-2 weeks)

The neonatal stage denotes the first two weeks straight after birth. During this stage, puppies can taste and touch, but not much else. She will be greatly influenced by her mother – or surrogate, as the case may be – and littermates, whilst beginning to learn very basic social skills and physical coordination. However, for the most part, she will be concerned with food.


Transitional period (2-4 weeks)

During this stage their eyes will open, and will tentatively begin to stand and walk. On top of this, their sense of smell and hearing will develop further; they’ll even begin to wag their tail, develop teeth and bark! By the end of this transitional period, puppies should be able to do fairly well on their own, and do their business without much trouble.

Socialisation period (4-12 weeks)

This is a very important stage for your pooch for many reasons. Firstly, this is the period in which you will be able to take her home with you (at around the 6-8 week mark). However, this is also the stage where her energy levels will begin to grow, and introducing her to other people and dogs becomes crucial to their development.

That said, it’s still important at this stage for your pup to remain with her pack. This will allow her to learn how to play safely in a secure environment. You can also have a go at some very basic toilet training, but this is probably best reserved for the 12 week mark.


Ranking period (3-6 months)

After gaining a considerable amount of energy, at this stage, your dog will become heavily influenced by their playmates, that is, dogs and people. As she learns the rules of play, she will also begin to learn her place in the hierarchy, establishing relationships based on dominance and submission.

Adolescence (6-18 months)

At this stage, your dog’s pack has been properly established and, from thereafter, most of her behaviour will be influenced by this. Also, you should expect your pooch to challenge you more by this age, as she further explores her role within the pack.


Jaycliffe Pets offer quality kennels, cattery, and grooming services to the Rotherham area and beyond. To discuss booking your dog into our kennels for a holiday of its own while you jet off this summer, or to enquire about our expert grooming services, please contact our friendly team today.