Puppy Development Stages


Weeks 3-14Socialisation Period. If puppies are socialised later than 14 weeks, (or in some dogs, possibly 12-14 weeks) shyness or aggressiveness may dominate the dog's long term behavior.


Weeks 6-8Optimum Socialisation. If puppies are socialised earlier, shyness often develops, along with over-dependence on owner, as in separation anxiety, leading to over protectiveness.


Weeks 8-10Fear Imprint. Fear display experiences maybe permanently impressed causing defensive reactions in some circumstances.


Weeks 12-14Puberty Onset. Meaningful sexual mounting often occurs. Males display erections.


Weeks 18-40Protective-Aggressive. Barking at strangers and other territorial and social group protective tendencies may occur.  Leg lifting may begin in males.


Weeks 35-56Functional. Many dogs become more serious about protective-aggressive behavior. A general persistence in behavior problems is noted and corrections become more difficult.


Weeks 104-208Achievement. Protective, aggressive behavior can become especially purposeful. Problem behavior appears to become self rewarding, habitual. Corrections markedly more difficult.

Critical Stages in Puppy Development

Neo-Natal Period 

(0-12 Days)

Critical Stages in Puppy Development

Transistion Period 

(13-20 Days)

Critical Stages in Puppy Development


(4-16 Weeks)

Critical Stages in Puppy Development

8-10 Weeks

Critical Stages in Puppy Development

Socialisation, Exploration & Education

(7 Weeks)

Critical Stages in Puppy Development

12-16 Weeks

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