Puppy development involves a lot of stages and milestones as puppies grow into adulthood. Whether you've adopted a puppy and you're wondering when they'll calm down and stop chewing on everything — or you're simply curious about what puppies go through to become full-fledged dogs — this puppy timeline has the answers you're looking for.

1. When Puppies Open Their Eyes and Ears

Puppies are born blind and deaf, with both their eyes and ears sealed shut. For their first two weeks of life, newborn pups experience the world entirely through touch and smell. During the third week their eyes and ears open, giving tiny pups a whole new way to experience life. This is typically because puppies are born without their brains fully developed unlike other mammals that have longer gestation periods.

2. When Puppies Learn to Bark

Once puppies are able to hear, they begin to mimic the sounds they hear from their mother. It doesn't take long after their ears open for puppies to go from soft grunts to full-fledged whining and barking.

3. When Puppies Learn to Walk

Puppies begin to stand around the same time their senses develop. By the third week, they begin taking their first clumsy steps, giving them a new sense of independence.

4. When Puppies Learn to Play

Once puppies become mobile, it's not long before walking leads to scampering around and playing with their littermates. At about three weeks of age, this marks the beginning of the crucial socialization stage as pups learn from their mom and siblings what it means to be a dog.

5. When Puppy Teeth Come In

The third week is a big week in the puppy timeline. In addition to the other puppy development milestones mentioned above, those sharp little puppy teeth also start to erupt. Typically, by week eight they have their entire set of deciduous teeth (puppy teeth).

6. When Puppies Learn to Go Potty

Weeks three to four is also the time when pups develop control over their bladder and bowel movements, and learn to leave their sleeping area before relieving themselves.

7. When Puppies Start Eating Solid Food

Puppies are weaned from their mother at 3-4 weeks of age when their teeth start to erupt. During the weaning process its time to provide the growing puppies plenty of water and transition to a solid puppy food. The puppies may show interest in the mother's adult solid food, but its important that adult food is out of reach so the puppies can not consume it as this poses a choking hazard. The weaning process will be fully complete by 8 weeks of age, around the time a puppy can be adopted into its new home.

8. When Puppies Begin to Like People

The fourth week in the puppy timeline is also when puppies begin forming emotional attachments and bonds with the people around them. While it's still too early to separate a pup from their mother and littermates, this is a great time to start getting to know the puppy you intend to adopt.

9. When Puppies Need to Be Socialized

Although puppies start learning about the world and the social order within their litter by week three, weeks four through twelve make up a crucial window for socialization that will make the difference between a pup growing into a well-adjusted dog or one with emotional and behavioral problems. The earlier puppies in this stage of development can start meeting new people, interacting with other pets who should also be vaccinated and have gone through their vet checks so as to not expose your puppy to anything, exploring the world, and gaining new and positive experiences, the better.

10. When Puppies Need to Be Vaccinated

According to the American Kennel Club, puppies should start receiving vaccinations between six and eight weeks. When your puppy is ready to be adopted, be sure to get its veterinary records to understand what vaccinations it has not yet received.

11. When Puppies Can Start Being House-Trained

By week seven, says Dogtime, a puppy has developed the physical coordination and muscle control necessary to begin house-training. Accidents are still likely. Their muscles continue to develop and they gain new neural pathways that help them understand how and where to properly relieve themselves.

dog eating food
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Life extension for puppies? It’s called good nutrition.

A long life starts with good nutrition. And good nutrition starts with a science-led diet. Like our Large Breed Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Recipe for puppies. It's formulated with vital nutrients to support 5 essential building blocks for lifelong health. And the taste? Puppies love it!

12. When Puppies Are Ready to Adopt

Once puppies are fully weaned at week eight, they're ready to leave their canine birth family and go to their new homes. This can be a delicate time. While a pup this age is still within the time frame of readily accepting new family members and new experiences, they're also shifting into a fear stage that can last until about week twelve. Puppies at this age need a lot of reassurance and positivity to keep from becoming anxious adults.

13. When Puppies Are Ready for Obedience Training

By week nine, after they've had a chance to settle into their new home and form a bond with his new family, a pup is ready to begin basic obedience training. Make sure to check with your pup's veterinarian to get their opinion first.

14. When Puppies Learn Their Place in the Household

At week twelve, a puppy's dominance and submission instincts start coming to the fore and they start to figure out where they fit in the social order of the household. At week twelve, the fear stage gives way to curiosity as they become more independent and assertive. Now, they need plenty of reassurance from their loved ones. Usually, pups are secure about their place in the family by about six months of age.

15. When Teething and Chewing Begins

Adult teeth start coming in between three and six months of age, which is when the dreaded chewing begins. It's important to puppy-proof the house at this stage, hiding or placing out of reach anything you don't want to get chewed, as well as anything that might pose a choking hazard or otherwise harm the pup, such as power cords or toxic plants. Providing chew toys during this time can help prevent him from satisfying his urge to chew on the living room rug or your favorite shoes.

16. When Puppies Are Ready to Be Spayed or Neutered

Puppies can be spayed or neutered between four and six months. This should be discussed with your veterinarian to understand the benefits for your puppy and best timing to schedule.

17. When Puppies Start Testing Boundaries

As adolescent pups become more independent, they may try to assert themselves, establish dominance, and stake out their territory. It's common for pups between six and eighteen months of age to push their boundaries and challenge the authority of their human, as well as any other pets that make up their "pack."

18. When Puppies Mature and Settle Down

Puppies typically develop the emotional maturity and temperament of an adult dog between twelve and eighteen months of age, although they may continue to occasionally exhibit puppy behavior like chewing and nipping until they're about two years old. Generally, by the time a pup reaches eighteen months, they've settled into their grown-up personality and fully acclimated to their place in the family. Now this doesn't mean they won't still be a bundle of energy — this can continue for a few years depending on the dog, which is why regular exercise and training is important for them to learn proper behaviors.

Normal puppy development certainly comes with challenges, and more often than not those challenges will try the patience of new puppy parents. But the puppy timeline, watching a pup grow from infancy to adulthood, also comes with a multitude of rewards.

Jean Marie Bauhaus Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger, and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of fur babies.