chart provides general guidelines for the
stages of development.
0 - 2 weeks = Neonatal
- Learning to orient toward
- Eyes are opening, usually
open by two weeks.
- Competition for rank and
territory begins. Separation from their
mother and littermates at this point can lead
to poor learning skills and aggression toward
people and other pets, including other
- 2 - 7 weeks =
- By the third week smell is
well-developed and they can see well enough
to find their mother.
- By the fourth week smell is
fully mature and hearing is well-developed.
They start to interact with their
littermates, they can walk fairly well, and
they’re teeth are erupting.
- By the fifth week sight is
fully mature, they can right themselves, run,
place their feet precisely, avoid obstacles,
stalk and pounce, and catch "prey" with their
- Start to groom themselves and
- By the sixth and seventh
weeks they begin to develop adult sleeping
patterns, motor abilities and social
7- 14 weeks = Most active play
- Social and object play
increases their physical coordination and
social skills. Most learning is by
observation, preferably from their
- Social play includes
belly-ups, hugging, ambushing and
- Object play includes
scooping, tossing, pawing, mouthing and
- Social/object play includes
tail chasing, pouncing, leaping and
3 - 6 months = Ranking
- Most influenced by their
"litter" (playmates now include companions of
- Beginning to see and use
ranking (dominant and submissive) within the
household, including humans.
6 - 18 months = Adolescence
- Heightened exploration of
dominance, including challenging humans.
- If not spayed or neutered,
beginnings of sexual behavior.