Vet check

The Early Weeks

Your puppy's first 12 weeks is called the Developmental Period. This is when they learn about their environment, develop their own personality and what it means to be a dog.

The importance of early weeks in life

Possibly the most important weeks in a dog’s life are the first five weeks, when the experiences your puppy has will form the basis of the dog they grow up to be.

Weeks 1 and 2

  • almost 90% of the time snoozing (it’s a dog’s life!)
  • lots of crying, sucking, touching, and crawling
  • eyes open at about 10 days of age
  • vulnerable to cold temperatures
  • need their mother's touch to go to the toilet

Week 3

  • begin to walk
  • begin to see and hear better
  • go to the toilet without their mother's touch

Week 4

  • become more aware of the sights and sounds around them
  • mother is still the centre of life but begin to recognise people
  • socialisation begins

Week 5

  • fearless and very alert
  • start to play with people

Puppy socialisation

From the fourth week, a puppies brain and nervous system are developing and by eight weeks of age they will have the capacity of an adult dog – without the life experience. This is where socialisation plays such a big role

With other dogs

Puppies socialise with their mother and siblings to:

  • form attachments to other dogs
  • play fight
  • become well-rounded and confident

However, if a puppy is taken from their mother and litter mates too early they may:

  • show less interest in dog activities
  • pick fights with dogs when they grow up
  • be fearful of other dogs
  • be difficult to mate

With people

  • to form attachments to human being
  • feel safe around and trusting of people

Disease and vaccinations

Puppies get some protection against diseases from their mother, but this is only short-term. Vaccination will help your puppy develop his or her own immunity to disease.

The core diseases (diseases against which all dogs should be vaccinated due to being severe and life-threatening around the world) are:

When should I vaccinate my puppy?

Puppies usually have two to three vaccinations in the first 3-4 months of life, starting at around 6 weeks of age. They then require boosters (yearly or every few years ) to keep their immunity up for the remainder of their lives.