Stages of puppy development

A friend of mine recently expressed some exasperation that her 10 month-old puppy suddenly seemed to forget everything he had learned and was actively resisting training.  I asked her what she was like when she was an adolescent.  My friend’s dog is somewhere in the adolescent or juvenile stage, and is being a brat.  Its just a good thing he’s cute.

Like us, dogs go through stages of emotional and physical development, and their behavior changes during those phases.  Here’s an excellent brief on the subject, courtesy of the Arizona Humane Society.


Posted in Dog Behavior, Dog Training and tagged .


  1. Thank you for sharing. I have a puppy training and socialization program, Jumpstart, in San Rafael, Ca. We start at 8 weeks old and go up to 7 mos, which in canine time represents a lot of growth and emotional development. I find that training older puppies takes a different skill set. After 4.5 mid puppies need games based training that sharpens their physical ability and coordination. Training games are preferable to the quieter modes we use with younger puppies. For example recall training (come!) challenges puppies to run as fast as they can – toward you. They will gleefully burn up that rocket fuel and put themselves against nature with a sense of drive they hadn’t felt in their earlier months. This why it’s important to change your mode of training as your puppy matures. It’s like putting a 6th grader in a 2nd grade class.

    • Thanks very much. Most of my puppy training activity is to help socialize pups that come into the shelter and get them ready to live in a home. For very young pups, its more of a boot camp to ensure that they’ve had maximum exposure to their littermates or other same-aged pups, and helping them to play together without murdering each other. A lot of this can depend on how much pre-natal stress they were exposed to.
      We don’t have them long before adopting them out – there’s a waiting list for puppies, but we have follow-on classes that mainly deal with helping the adoptive dog parents cope. Tailoring these classes for specific age groups is interesting. I’ll check your website.

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