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You & Your 12 week old puppy.

Updated on January 21, 2015

At this stage in your puppies life, 8-12 weeks of age, the biggest mistake that owners make is failing to realize that you are still dealing with a very young dog. They are not yet old enough to be responsible for letting you know that they need to go out, or knowing what objects are theirs to play with and which are yours and those objects you want them to ignore.

Therefore, it is wise to set goals through this stage. What do you want your adult dog to do when they are older? Your goals could look something like this:

  1. Maybe to come when they are called
  2. Stays when given the command
  3. Walks on a leash
  4. waits to be fed at each meal
  5. Plays with his toys, and leaves your stuff alone
  6. Can be confined away from the family when necessary without whinning
  7. knows basic commands, like "leave it", "fetch" "down" etc.

Keep the goals simple, and maybe write them down to help you remember and stay on track. If you puppy doesn't know these things yet, don't be dismayed, you don't have a bad puppy, and there is always time. Try to place situations that allow you to use these desired commands within you normal day, or try looking for moments when you can teach and gently correct your puppy and their behavior to match that of the behavior you want displayed.

When you are with your puppy, keep your puppy in the room you are in. Don't ever let them wonder to far without you. Your puppy is not trustworthy from a housebreaking standpoint quite yet, and you need to get them outside every time they changes activities.

Furthermore, beware that everything is going to start going in his mouth. This is all the more reason that he should be where you can keep an eye on him. Fortunately, he is old enough to be introduced to some of the obedience commands that you ultimately hope to teach him, such as "leave it" or "drop it".


"The Toddler"

Physical and Mental Development Of your 12 Week Old Puppy

Welcome to kindergarten! At 8 to 12 weeks of age, your puppy is in the “I’m afraid of everything” point of stage. This period is characterized by rapid learning but also by fearfulness of even the boldness puppies. Your puppy may appear terrified of things that they used to take in stride. This is a good time to avoid loud voices and traumatic events, wherever possible.

For the next several weeks your puppy’s brain will continue to develop rapidly. You want to create a calm environment and minimize the stress of new places and sounds as much as possible. By now they should have already learned where to go potty. However, even though they are much better at controlling their bladder than when they were younger, plan to offer several potty breaks a day as you have before. Making a break after every meal, sleep session and play time. If possible, try to keep a regular schedule for toilet breaks, so your puppy learns when they will get to go at certain times of the day. This will teach your puppy how to hold their bladder and how to wait before going. Gradually you will start to see your puppy hold their bladder longer and longer until the awaited time. However, make sure you are consistent in your potty schedule until it becomes a daily routine.

Behavior Changes

At this point in your puppies life, they already know how to: eat, drink, poop, sleep and, of course, play. This time is definitely defined by play as they are in the "toddler" stage. This is no time for your puppy to be without supervision. You must be prepared to watch them whenever they are out of a “safe area” such as a crate or playpen. And you must keep them next to you at all times to assure there safety and well being.

If your little one acts out, a gentle correction is the best approach. Punishment is ineffective and endangers your bond with your puppy. Keep your puppy on a short leash and try gently tugging her away when she jumps on people or things you don't want them jumping on or nibbles on a leg of the dining room table you rather they didn't nibble on. Always remember, they are still growing and so is their bladder, though they can hold in longer than before, they still need to go out after every play session, eating session, training session, and any time the activity is changed. At 8-12 weeks of age your puppy should be able to hold her bladder for about 30-40 minutes before going, however, to forgo any unwanted accidents taking them out after after change of activity assures no unwanted messes.



One of the most important things you can teach your puppy besides basic commands at this age, is how to properly walk on the leash. This is started by getting them use to having a harness, or collar on and having something long like a leash trail behind them and being attach to them. To introduce this idea let your puppy start to drag a light leash about 6-10 feet around the house under your supervision, this will make "catching him" easier and you can also then practice the "come" command with him. However, at first, before giving any commands or doing any training sessions, let them get use to and grow accustomed to being on a leash, before starting command training.

After a week your puppy should be use to the lead. Now you can start to train with your puppy on real common and basic commands, like "Sit" and "stay. If you haven't started already. If you have, bring the commands on on difficulty just a bit. Nothing too hard, remember, there still pretty young, and still have lots to learn and mature and grow, before harder commands can be implemented.

Training isn't just about giving your dog a command, it's also about teaching your puppy other wanted behvaiors, like being handled, and how to behave when someone pets them. Handling your puppy’s feet, nails, mouth and ears. This teaches them the important lesson of touch and respect for you as the owner. And encourages trust between you and your puppy. It also prepares them for important handling by the vet and anyone else who may need to grab or touch the dog for the care.Therefore, touch your puppy often. Touch and hold their paws, all four, tail, ears, legs, pick them up, hold them, open their mouths, touch gently around their eyes, get them accustomed to all these places being touches and handled. You will be doing a favor to yourself and your puppy.

Now is also a good time to teach your puppy their name. To help them learn this more quickly, use food rewards or a favorite toy. This way when the time arises and you call their name to avoid an accident they will come to you. Whenever you train your puppy at this stage always make sure you make into a fun "game" to keep your puppy engaged. They have show attention spans, and so keeping them engaged is key.

Socializing with other people and pets (healthy and up-to-date on vaccines, of course) will help make her/him a friendlier, better mannered companion for you and your household. Have people and other animals (of people you know) come over often to see her/him and interact with her/him.

Enjoy these first few weeks with your new friend and practice patience. They have a lot to learn, they will be with you for the rest of your life, so no need in rushing things. Take it slow, enjoy the time, because it will fly by.



Puppies in all shapes and sizes, depending on their breed, they will have different diet, exercise and grooming needs according to their breed. Therefore you should always do your research of the different dog breeds before choosing the one that best fits your lifestyle and home.

When you bring your puppy home they most likely will have already received their first series of vaccinations. Be sure to ask to get documentation of all of the veterinary care. Your veterinarian should be the first stop with your new pet and an appointment should be made the minute you walk through your front door with your puppy. The doctor will examine your new puppy to assess the overall health, offer questions and make sure to stay on schedule and follow up when the vet asks.


Most likely your puppy will receive a series of vaccinations and shots over the next few months. Usually from 1-4 months. At 4 months they will need to be spayed/neutered and received there rabies shot.


Regular mealtimes are needed for your puppy. Try giving at least three meals a day to 10 week and younger puppies. As they grows older, you can gradually change to just a morning and night feeding if your schedule dictates, but it's also perfectly fine to continue offering three meals daily, even for an adult dog. Just remember to measure the portions to reduce the likelihood of overfeeding. Remember to choose a high-quality commercial puppy food formulated for your puppy’s size and age. Your veterinarian is a great source of information about which diets are best for a growing puppy in your location and for your budget. Never hesitate to ask your breeder these questions either, they know the breed of dog better than your vet, and usually have dealt with them long enough to know what works best. They are a good source of information, as you start out your life with your new family member.



Now is a good time to get your puppy use to baths, brushing, and if so desires being handled at the "beauty salon" at pet co pr pet smart for regular grooming requirements, such as nail clipping.

Even though you can't bring your puppy to these places yet, you can get them accustomed to the motions, by touching their feet, and bringing them to the vet for a weekly nail trim. Or giving them a small bath, and giving them a comb twice throughout the week as your pet them.

To train your puppy to be still in these moments, which is a great idea try giving them an award every time they are still, if they move around a lot, no treat. When you offer the great give them praise like, "good boy" or a pat along with the treat and then go back to grooming or bath (the action you were doing before). This will help also when at places like the beauty salons and vet. However, to ensure that not too much fuss is made keep your sessions short at first. Remember they are a toddler and only 8-12 weeks old, their attention spans are short.

Don't forget to get them use to you touching other parts of the body, as earlier touched in this article. Such as the ears and looking inside them. These are all important things needed to ensure a good and easy life for you and your puppy.

Your puppy is now three months old at 12 weeks, and you have already begun to establish habits to help you achieve much more. You are off to a great start!



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