Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of “Brain Training for Dogs.”
At seven weeks, your puppy is developing some crucial physical traits and social skills. Here is an overview of those that are important to monitor.
Before tackling this week of development, it helps to take a glimpse at the weeks before. At seven weeks and under, puppies are still with their mom and littermates. This is the law in many states. The website Animal Law offers a table of state laws that provides the minimum age that puppies can be sold. Some states allow the sale of puppies at seven weeks, but they are rare exceptions.
By seven weeks, the mother dog has grown irritable from feeling the pups sharp teeth and nails upon nursing and her reluctance to nurse (shell get up and move away) paves the way for the weaning process. With no opportunity to nurse, puppies are encouraged by breeders to explore novel foods by offering gruel and mush so as to eventually transition the pups to solid foods. Weaning may start as early as three weeks and is generally completed by the time the puppy is seven to eight weeks of age.
Puppies removed prior to seven weeks are more likely to be anxious and fearful compared to puppies sent to homes when they are seven and eight weeks of age. They also may lack proper bite inhibition and inappropriate social skills.
Some dog breeds may be better off staying with their mother and littermates even longer than eight weeks. An example of this is Maltese puppies who are better off sent to their new homes at 12 weeks, this is because Maltese puppy development is much slower compared to other breeds.
At seven weeks, puppies go through several physical and behavioral changes. The following is what to expect during a puppys development.
At seven weeks, puppies are at a high growth stage and are using everything you feed them to grow.
The puppys bladder at this age is pea-sized. When active and awake, pups may drink a lot and urinate as often as every 20 minutes to an hour. They will pee after sleeping, during play . . . basically most of the time they are awake. At night, they may be capable of holding it for three to four hours and you may, therefore, have to get up at least twice a night for a quick potty break.
By this age, pups have the instinct to pick areas to go potty that are away from the locations where they sleep, eat, drink, or play. These instincts may be thwarted in puppy mill dogs, who are forced to potty in small cages.
By seven weeks, puppies have developed all their milk teeth. Dont underestimate their innocent name: baby teeth are very sharp and puppies will use them to nip anything that moves. That includes shoes, pants, arms, hands, and fingers. Fortunately, puppies grow out of this stage as they mature, but its important to implement some puppy bite inhibition games and teach puppies to gauge the force of their jaws by teaching puppies to take treats gently.
Between the ages of six and eight weeks, many puppies are given their first vaccinations. The vaccine takes about a week to take effect but their immunity is still not enough to be safe for exposure. Puppies at this age, therefore, should be kept off of any public ground where other puppies and dogs frolic until at least a week following the puppys last vaccine booster. Consult with your vet for any questions about how you can prevent life-threatening infectious diseases in your puppy based on your location.
Teeth of a seven-week-old puppy. As seen, the baby teeth are all in. These teeth are very sharp and may feel like needles when the puppy nips!
Puppies in their seventh week of life are officially in the secondary socialization period which takes place when puppies are in the process of leaving their moms and littermates to enter their first homes.
During the secondary socialization period, puppies are prone to approaching strangers with confidence and novel stimuli with little fear. This time frame is short-lived, hence why puppies need to be socialized during this time.
Make sure to expose your seven-week-old puppy or puppies to a variety of people—including those using accessories such as hats, canes, and umbrellas. Research has shown that a puppy who has had the opportunity to meet a large variety of people, places, and things will be more likely to accept novelties throughout his life.
The time is ticking with these fellows, as at seven weeks they will start to approach people much slower compared to a few weeks prior. Come 14 weeks, the pups may not approach people at all.
While socialization is paramount, care must be taken in avoiding putting the pup in situations that expose him to potentially life-threatening infectious diseases. Puppy classes and puppy parties may be safer options.
Most of a dogs brain growth (80 percent) is formed between the ages of four weeks and four months. The remaining 20 percent occurs from four months to a year.
Social competition tends to start among littermates at this age. Puppies may start “mock attacking” each other, and play fighting is very common. These “attacks” are important for the puppies from a behavioral and physical standpoint. They allow the pups to practice motor skills and develop good social skills.
The pups will wrestle and chew on each other all the time. You may notice one puppy grabbing a toy and another trying to steal it, or a puppy greeting the owner and the other pushing the puppy out of the way. Next thing you know, the pups are wrestling. You might hear a sharp yelp from time to time, but its completely natural.
Pups at this age are refining their bite inhibition and learning that teeth can hurt, so they begin to exert controlled pressure. If play gets too out of hand, the mother dog may intervene. This is part of puppy education and a reason why it may not be recommended to separate puppies from their littermates and mom until they are at least seven-and-a-half to eight weeks old.
By seven weeks, although competitiveness among siblings prevails, bonding remains strong. Thus the distress vocalizations in seven-week-old pups are quite prominent when isolated even briefly from their littermates at this time. However, this attachment has been found to significantly decline by week 10.
Puppies who are adopted out at seven weeks and are crated may benefit from the use of a “Snuggle Puppy” at night. A Snuggle Puppy is a dog behavior aid that consists of a stuffed animal that comes with an area to insert a heat pack and some models also have “heartbeat” options that help pups adjust without their littermates and moms.
Another great anxiety aid is the use of DAP diffusers. The diffuser plug-ins emit synthetic versions of pheromones that mother dogs release when the pups are nursing and are known to have a calming effect. “DAP” stands for “Dog Appeasing Pheromone.” A popular DAP plugin is Comfort Zone Adaptil.
Research by Pettijohn et al. showed that toys had no effect on relieving a puppys separation distress, but that social stimuli did, and in particular, the presence of humans appeared to be preferred to dogs for relief at seven to eight weeks of age.
At six to seven weeks, puppies may object strongly to being crated or other forms of restraint. This natural response to restraint peaks at this age, causing loud, frequent and prolonged vocalizations. In general, such vocalization tends to reduce significantly once the puppy matures and reaches 12 weeks.
explains dog trainer Linda White in her book First Steps with Puppies and Kittens: A Practice-Team Approach to Behavior.
Breeders usually start getting puppies used to crates from a young age so to aid them once they transition to their new homes, should the new dog owners elect to use crate training to their advantage. Lots of positive associations need to be made with the crate so that the puppy feels safe and comfortable in it. Contrary to popular belief, dogs arent den animals in the real sense of the term. Tasty treats are given in the crate, toys are provided, and a comfy blanket helps the pups choose this sleeping area.
At seven weeks, puppies object to being crated even if briefly. Lots of positive associations need to be made with the crate at this age. I like to keep the crates open so puppies voluntarily “crate themselves.”
Who said that seven-week-old puppies are too young for training? The belief that puppies should be at least six months old to start training is now old school. It stems from the olden days when puppies were trained using harsh tools and aversion-based corrections.
Nowadays, with more and more dog owners and trainers embracing modern, positive reinforcement-based techniques, puppies can start training from a much younger age. You can start training your puppy from day one, as soon as he gets home.
At seven weeks, puppies may not have long attention spans, but they are capable of learning basics such as sit, down and come. At this age, puppies can also learn some basics such as how to walk politely on the leash.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
With siblings, it is best to get to gradually teach them to be independent to prevent litter mate syndrome. You can read more about it here; https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Pros-and-Cons-of-Raisi…
Hi we adopted 2 8 wk old sibling girls and need to know if it’s better to keep in separate cages most of the time ??
Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. Those are puppies I am fostering for a bit. After losing our other dog, we wanted to keep a bit busy and help out pups in need. They are doing very well in learning polite skills!
This is an interesting and informative article. Ive learned a number of things that I didnt know. Thanks for increasing my knowledge, Adrienne. Your puppies look very polite in the last photo.
How much should an average Pitbull weigh?
If you see a Pitbull reaching 100 lbs and above, they are likely to be Mastiff crosses instead of purebred Pit Bulls. You might want to take a look at the American Bulldog if you like heavy dogs. Those dogs can grow up to 125 lbs!
On average, female Pitties are only around 30-60 lbs and 17-20 inches. Males Pitties are larger at 35-65 lbs and 18-21 inches tall.
6 Months to 1 Year old Pitbull
During this period, your Pitbull puppy will reach his adult size and weight. At 1 year of age, you may start to transition from puppy food to adult food. But, make sure to follow your vet’s advice on the perfect time to do this for your puppy. Not every adult Pitbull will weigh the exact same, or be the exact same height. So, make sure to take online Pitbull growth charts with a pinch of salt.
As a general rule, American Pitbull Terriers are fully grown by a year old. At 4 months, he will be about half of his adult height. And at 6 months, he will be around 2 thirds of his adult weight. 2 to 6 months is when your Pitbull puppy will grow the fastest.
Remember, Pitbull growth charts can only offer a guide to your Pit puppy’s weight, as every dog is different. Some will weigh much more than 38 pounds as adults, but some might weigh less. The most important thing is that they are healthy.
Remember, a Pitbull mix will have a different final weight and age that they stop growing which will be impacted by the breed they are crossed with. You’d expect a Pitbull Corgi mix to be smaller than a Pitbull Lab mix, for instance.
There are several possible ways that a Pitbulls growth can be impacted.
Genetics play a part in every part of our development. If your pup’s parents were bigger, chances are they will be too. Same if they were smaller than average.
A neutered dog will have their growth plates slowed and therefore grow taller than an unneutered dog. But they will also have less testosterone so some people feel that male dogs that are neutered have a less masculine appearance if they are neutered before puberty.
Poor diet and illness also play a part in healthy development, as they can prevent the body from putting it’s resources into growth.
Factors that can impact how big your Pitbull will be and how fast they will grow
Diet plays a significant role in determining your Pitbull’s growth. Giving your pup the best nutrition and healthcare can help them meet their full potential.
What do you feed a 7 week old pitbull puppy?
At what age should I start training my pitbull puppy?
Growing puppies need food with at least 22.5 percent of high-quality protein (based on dry matter). The amino acid profile (how the proteins are put together) matters too, as do other nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus or magnesium.