Neonate (0-2 weeks) – The pup is blind, deaf and helpless. He relies on his mother for warmth, food, and to help with bodily functions. He spends all his time feeding and sleeping.
Transition (2-4 weeks) – The senses awaken, with the eyes and ears beginning to function. The pup becomes aware of his surroundings and makes early attempts to explore his surroundings. He may show an interest in tasting food.
Socialization (4-7 weeks) – Within the safety of his litter, the pup begins to venture further from the mother, and spends much of his time wrestling and playing with his siblings. Humans are recognized, and the pup begins to enjoy being handled and spoken to. Weaning is almost complete.
Fearful (7-12 weeks) – The pup gains an awareness of the world beyond his litter, and is ready for a new home. He will bond strongly to his owners at this point, but is sensitive to stress. He is capable of understanding commands, but needs gentle encouragement in training.
Juvenile & Ranking (3-6 months) – The growing pup is energetic and boisterous. He needs regular exercise and obedience training to help control his increasingly mischievous behaviour. He will attempt to establish a higher position for himself in the family structure. Behaviours, such as chewing and growling, can no longer be tolerated, even in play. Strong leadership from the owner helps assure the pup he should remain submissive.
Adolescence (6-18 months) – Although almost fully grown, the pup’s brain is still developing. A consistent approach to training and discipline, combined with patience, will help the pup through this phase and toward a happy adult life.