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New Puppy Parent? Here’s What to Expect in the First Six Months

New Puppy Parent? Here’s What to Expect in the First Six Months

New Puppy Parent? Here’s What to Expect in the First Six Months

You did it!  You finally decided to welcome a new puppy into your family.  Yes, they are cute, and everything will be like heaven, you think.  Indeed, this can be valid; however, there will be a challenge during the first six months of raising your new edition.

It is normal to question the decision you made about getting a puppy when the first few weeks are not pure bliss and as anticipated.

Responsively there is tons of research on your pup’s development, and it is relatively foreseeable.  Keep on reading, and we will cover what is like being a New Puppy Parent and What to Expect in the First Six Months.

After reading, you will be equipped for puppy parenthood 101 and ready to raise an awesome pup.

Month 1

When puppies first enter the world, they are super reliant on their moms for anything and everything.

Any handling by humans this early on should be kept to a minimum.  The first few weeks of the new puppy's life is a time to let nature progress.

At this stage, your pup may be wiggling around with his or her littermates, nursing up a storm, and just being cute. Approximately around three weeks of life, your puppy's ears and eyes will begin to open to the noises and visions of his or her surroundings.

Your pup will take its first steps on or about week four.  He or she will need to remain close to their mom for most of their time still, even though they can now explore their surroundings a bit.

Weeks three and four are super important for your pump.  During this chapter of their life, also referred to as the exposure period, your pup will discover a ton of new things such, playing, walking, and learning to explore the world around them.  Also, he or she will start to look like a dog.

Month 2

Excellent and fun times are ahead around week five for your pup.  Your little one will be engaging in play with their littermates, trying out their first barks, and mainly just learning how to be a dog. 

The brain is exploding around this phase also.  There is a ton of developmental things going on.  Besides learning how to interact and play with littermates, your pup is acquiring and learning how to use their physical coordination and increasing their social life (social skills).

At this time, your pup is still heavily affected by their littermates and mom. However, he or she is now ready to begin the exploration of the world besides nursing.  Now your pup will be prepared for constant interaction with humans, and around week six, your puppy will discover that you are their favorite human.

Around month two, your pup will be ready to start the joys of potty-training basics. He or she is still too small to hold in their waste for long periods. Therefore, taking them outside hourly is crucial as well as continual positive reinforcement.

Do not reprimand your pup for going potty in the house since you must remember that he or she is just starting to learn how to go potty on their own without mom outside. Also, it can take them several weeks to develop full bladder control. 

By the end of your pup's second month of life, it will be time to contact your local veterinarian's office to start vaccines. Usually, puppies will get their first vaccination combo around the six-week mark. Remember to talk to your vet and get the recommended vaccine schedule.

Month 3

Welcome to month three.

This is by far the most crucial stage; when you will begin to bond with your pup, their brain will start developing rapidly, and training will become useful and can be started around this time.

If you rescued your pup from a shelter or local rescue group, most likely they will be spayed or neutered at this stage as well.  However, 8-12 weeks, puppies can be neutered or spayed; they must weigh at least 2 pounds. 

It isn’t unheard of to wait until your pup is closer to six months of age to be spayed or neutered to permit more muscle and bone development.

After your pup has his or her first set of vaccines, you can start taking your puppy to training classes, which can be an excellent way for socialization and help them gain skill and self-confidence.

However, around the third month of life, your pup will experience a fear impression stage, which means that any “traumatic experience they have will have a long last impact on them.

It would help if you showered them with positive occurrences to help them understand that the world is not scary.

You can take them to the dog park or meetups to see new faces, experience new smells, hear new noises and see new places. 

Month 4

Your pup's personality will become truly evident by week 12.  You will be able to know if he or she is sassy, shy, daring, or a jokester.

Make sure to keep socializing your pup between weeks 12-16 to make him or her as conscious as possible.  

Frolicking and playing with fellow pups is a fantastic way to help your dog develop critical social skills, as well as bite inhibition, and still focusing on potty training.

Your little furball will be acquiring many more permanent teeth at this age, which can spell out trouble if you are not prepared to handle this correctly. 

Your pup will use his or her mouth to explore the world around them. As you wait for the arrival of the "adult" teeth, your puppy can get pretty "mouthy," since chewing is soothing and feels so good to them, not suitable for your furniture.

It's essential to make sure you have a lot of durable chew toys for your pup. If your puppy nips your hands, made sure to redirect with your hands and do not reprimand them, they are still learning the ways of the world. 

Month 5

By now, your pup will start to test you and push boundaries by acting naughty; however, remember that your puppy is continuing to grow, and by month five, dogs try to form their place in their homes and the world around them.

Help your pup out, making sure, just like you would a baby, puppy proof your home. Invest in the following items.

  • Puppy proof cabinet latches
  • Puppy proof garbage can
  • Crate for crate training

Your furball will be testing out their flight reflexes around month four and five as they gain more confidence and experiment around their surroundings. At this point, they will NOT be ready to play off their leash. 

Make sure to give them continual positive reinforcement training, including more training classes with other people and their pups, since this is the best way to keep your puppy healthy, well socialized, and happy. A happy puppy makes a happy human.

Month 6

And here we are, your pup is a half-year-old (6 months). What was once your little furball may start to resemble a "grown dog," However, don't be sad; your pup still has a lot of puppy in them, meaning energy.

We are not going to hide the fact. However, month six may be a bit tough. Look how far you two have come; you made your way through teething and not to mention potty training.

So, your pup is now in what we will refer to as the teenage phase. And like most teenagers, your six-month-old love bug will be unpredictable and moody. Also, he or she may have selective memory.  

Meaning they "forget" all the training you have been working so hard on.  But don't worry, your puppy is well on her way to being a grown-up, and month six is an indicator of only good things to come for you both.

By now, if your pup has not been spayed or neutered, they may soon come into heat, so now you must get them fixed.  

If you are a first-time puppy parent, yes, it's understandable that you may be nervous about getting your pup fixed, but don't worry, it is a very general surgery performed on puppies all the time. The benefits most definitely outweigh the risks.   

Remember that spaying and neutering your pets helps reduce the pet population as Bob Barker used to say after every episode of the Price is Right.  And in the long run, it saves lives.

Congratulations, once your pup is over six months old, the road will be a lot easier. Pat yourself on the back, You guys did it.

Your puppy will not be considered an adult or mature until 18 months or 1 ½. You may have a little bit of work to do, but it will be easy peezy. 

By now, you know who your dog is, and you will be BFFs ready to conquer the world together from here on out.


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  • Merri Wong