8 Week Old Puppy
For most puppies, this is the first week in their new home. Potty training is now underway and puppy socialization plans are being made.
Your 8 week old puppy has had their first vaccinations before you collected him at around 6 weeks old, however, you need to arrange to get a well puppy vet check within 4 days of bringing him home.
9 Week Old Puppy
The nine week old puppy has usually been in his new home for a week or so. He’s beginning to feel like part of the family, but in many cases this is the point at which new puppy owners have a whole lot of questions to ask. At this point, many of you will be thinking about training your puppy too.
The next four weeks are vital in puppy development stages. Your main job is socializing your puppy. This means taking him to lots of new places and exposing him to lots of new experiences. In most places you’ll need to carry him to avoid the risk of infection.
10 Week Old Puppy
At 10 and 11 weeks old, your puppy will be able to control their bladder a lot more, potentially up to 6 hours through the night. So, life will be starting to get back to normal.
Most puppies in the U.S. receive their second vaccinations between 10 and 12 weeks old. So, make sure you’re up to date with your puppy’s vaccination schedule.
Socializing your puppy is still the most important job for you at this age. But, you cannot put your puppy on the ground outside until they have received their final vaccination.
So, make sure you know exactly when their final jab is. And carry on introducing them to as many new people, things, and experiences as possible throughout this puppy development stage.
Some people can suffer from the puppy blues at this stage too, as your life has completely changed!
3 Month Old Puppy
3 months is the point at which the window for socializing your puppy – making sure he grows up confident and friendly – closes. But, that does not mean socialization can stop. Puppies who are isolated at this point will soon lose that friendly fearlessness.
You have an important job now, building on what has been achieved so far, and introducing your puppy to the world at ground level. This part of his education can begin once his vaccination cover is complete. He should be fully immunised at around this point. But check with your vet for confirmation of the actual date.
Three months also marks the point at which many puppies will drop down from four daily meals, to three. This can cause problems for some puppies because the portions are larger
If your puppy gets an upset tummy when you make this change, just go back up to four meals again for a few days, and give smaller portions for a few days when you try again.
4 Month Old Puppy
Some 4 month old puppies will be potty trained. But, many will need another month before they can cope without frequent bathroom breaks and the occasional accident.
Your puppy will begin to lose his baby teeth. This can also be a time at which biting can be most challenging. (See the page on Puppy Biting). So, you’ll need to be consistent patient. And try not to worry, this stage will soon be over!
5 Month Old Puppy
Many five month old puppies will be fairly reliably clean and dry in the house, provided that they are not left alone for too long. A few will need another month or two to complete the process.
Remember, no two puppies are the same. Puppies progress at different rates, so don’t worry if your puppy does need those extra few weeks to hit a milestone like this.
Large puppies like Bernese will already be half their adult height or more, and your puppy’s coat will now be a sleek grown up version. That puppy fluffiness will have gone.
For many puppies, five months is an awkward, gangly time. A five month old puppy may have shed the last of his soft puppy lines and be looking quite skinny.
Your puppy is getting stronger now too, and if you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to make sure he learns how to walk nicely on the leash.
In a month or two, he’ll be a lot harder to control if he is still pulling.
6 Month Old Puppy
At six months most puppies drop down from three meals a day to two. By the end of this month most puppies will have finished teething but an urge to chew may continue for another few months in some breeds, Berners included.
Some female dogs will have their first season during this month. But, for many, it will be another three or four months before this happens. Be aware though, if you haven’t had your female dog neutered, that the possibility of pregnancy is on the horizon.
This is a major milestone for your puppy. He is now looking very much like an adult Berner. A little smaller, a little more puppyish, but he’s nearly there.
Still a Puppy
Because he looks quite grown up, people expect a lot of their 6 month old puppy. But inside, he is still very much a puppy. The beginnings of adolescence and with it an increasing independence of spirit can bring its challenges, but also a whole lot of fun.