When Is a Puppy Fully Grown?

“When is a puppy fully grown?”

That question is probably not foremost in your thoughts when you bring a new puppy into your life. That adorable little face, those huge soulful eyes, and that cute wiggle when he walks are what come to mind when thinking about your new pup. But gradually, as your puppy gets older and perhaps a bit destructive, you may find yourself wishing that he would grow out of some of those youthful traits and begin acting more like an adult dog.  By the time he’s chewed your third pair of shoes you will probably begin to wonder…

“When will this puppy be fully grown?”

Happiness is a warm puppy -- Charles Schulz

Happiness is a warm puppy -- Charles Schulz

Although there are some similarities between early development stages of puppies and human babies, the process is considerably quicker for canines.

Newborn puppies go through many changes during their first three weeks .  They open their eyes, take their first steps, and begin to act like a tiny dog. During this early stage they are not really aware of the world beyond  “mom”  and siblings.

Somewhere between the third and fourth week your puppy’s senses of sight, smell, and hearing rapidly develop. All of a sudden he’ll discover that there is more to his world than just his canine family. His relationship with his new human family begins to take shape. This is a critical time for the development of your puppy’s personality and behavioral traits. Take care to avoid stressful or traumatic experiences as they may significantly influence how your dog will behave as an adult.

Your puppy will begin learning proper pack “etiquette” during the fifth through seventh weeks. If he begins to bite inappropriately or play too rough, his mother will correct him. These early lessons provide some of the social skills he will need as he interacts with humans and other dogs.

For the first three months of his life your puppy will experience many new things. Whenever possible, try to make these learning experiences positive. In doing so you are much more likely to avoid behavioral problems as he enters adulthood.

After three months or so your puppy enters a “toddler” stage of development. He gains more independence and tries to explore his world as he sees fit, not at the prompting of his mother or his human family. Shoes, furniture, books, and just about anything within reach will fascinate him. He will also learn what they taste like as he begins teething. This is a good time to begin very basic obedience training and establish your role as pack leader.

Your puppy will reach adolescence at around six to eight months, well on his way toward adulthood. Although the transition from adolescent to adult varies, depending upon the breed (or mix of breeds), you can be pretty sure that he has reached adulthood by the time his second birthday rolls around.

That’s when a puppy is fully grown.

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