Your Puppy’s Development: 8 Weeks

The time has finally come! After a long several weeks, your puppy has finally reached the age of homecoming and can travel to his new family if he weighs at least four pounds. This is a special time for both you and your puppy. From an owner’s point of view, it’s the joyful time when your family will finally be complete, and you anticipate the moment with excitement. For your puppy, it’s a time for independence and growth, but also a chance to share his abundant love with someone who’s eager to reciprocate those same feelings. Eight weeks is an optimal time for a puppy to join a new home, but once he gets there, it’s important for him to receive the proper welcome. Here’s what you should know about caring for your puppy of eight weeks.

Health
As long as they are over two pounds in weight, puppies can be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks old, although many owners choose to wait until the puppy is closer to six months old. We recommend neutering or spaying your puppy before he reaches sexual maturity to avoid potential training and health issues as well as any unwanted litters. Neutering is also believed to have health benefits in both male and female dogs.

If you choose to get insurance for your new puppy, PuppySpot offers comprehensive insurance plans through Trupanion which provides 90% coverage of new injuries and illnesses, including hereditary and congenital conditions. It’s best to get your puppy covered as soon as he arrives, as insurance keeps care costs low, especially if your pup requires expensive procedures down the line. Usually this requires a vet visit, but PuppySpot puppies can (and should) be insured from day 1.


A Typical Day

Because this age is full of many new experiences, it’s important to provide your pup with support to help him enjoy his busy environment to the fullest. Since he is meeting new people and dogs and coming into contact with unfamiliar settings, your puppy may be sensitive to abrupt sounds and movements. Therefore, it is crucial to enter new experiences with a positive attitude so your puppy does not associate these experiences with fear. The more positive associations your puppy makes at this stage, the more likely he is to be a friendly and well-behaved adult, rather than timid or aggressive. Previous activities like going on walks and using the crate may occur with less ease than before, but with the right guidance, they can still go smoothly for both you and your pup. Try to avoid stressful situations such as unnecessary surgery and travel. Make grooming visits infrequent and approach the vet’s office with gentleness and plenty of praise. Your puppy sees you as his provider of safety, and will treat you as such, staying by your side for comfort.

Socialization
Socialization continues to be important, and should continue once your puppy arrives home. Eight weeks old is an ideal time for a puppy to form strong bond with people. A puppy’s mind has by this point developed the capacity to form greater social connections, so he can benefit from contact with new faces, both human and canine. You can now take him out to places like dog parks that require vaccination so your pup can get the chance to meet and interact with others.

You will also want to expose your puppy to new sights sounds to prevent him from becoming fearful of everyday noises and commotions. Common sounds include cars, children, vacuum cleaners and the TV. One way to expose your dog to new experiences is by simply taking him outside. Going out on walks is a perfect opportunity for your puppy to see new faces, both human and canine, and learn the appropriate way to interact with each. Give him the time he needs to sniff out a new dog, and if things get aggressive, separate the two and move on. You can also introduce your puppy to the sounds of cars driving down the road, horns honking, and other common neighborhood noises. Your puppy will learn that cars are normal, and he does not have to lunge or bark at them when they pass by. When riding in a car, make sure you follow the proper guidelines in your area for driving with a dog in the car.

Your puppy will also be learning the regular scents of the neighborhood while on regular walks. Every new place a puppy visits is full of brand new, foreign smells. Bringing your puppy out in public, whether it be to outdoor malls or restaurants with outdoor seating, introduces him to new sights, sounds, and smells and helps him adjust to being around new people.
Socialization is the key to raising a pup that is warm and friendly around others, instead of aggressive or overly cautious.

Your puppy’s first week home, while exciting, can also be overwhelming to a young pup. But if you treat your new bundle of joy with patience and care, you will be amazed by just how much the little one can add to your life.