15 Things to Expect in Your Puppy’s First Year

short-coated fawn dog
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Having a puppy at home makes time fly (and they’re everywhere: on your lap, on your couch, and in your bed). But even in those busy early weeks, your puppy is growing a lot. Learning about your pup’s body and mind growth is super important for getting closer to your new buddy. Here are the things to expect in your puppy’s first year!

Needing Plenty of Nap Time

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When you first met your puppy, she was probably very energetic—running around and playing with her siblings. So, it might be surprising if she seems to sleep a lot after coming home with you. You know how you feel tired after a long trip? Well, it’s the same for your puppy. She needs time to get used to her new home and feel comfy.

Being Picky with Food

yellow labrador puppies in green plastic container
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When your pup first comes home, he might not feel like eating much. Even treats might not interest him at first. Puppies can be picky eaters, you know! If your new friend doesn’t want to eat, it doesn’t mean he’s sick. New puppies have a lot to take in—they need time to get used to their new homes. You might have to try different foods until you find what he likes.

Frequent Bathroom Breaks

white and brown short coated puppy lying on brown wooden floor
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Usually, a puppy can hold her pee for about an hour for each month of her age. For example—if she’s 8 weeks old, she’ll likely need to go every 2 hours. She can hold it longer while she’s sleeping and less when she’s active because her bladder is still growing, and she’s learning how to control it. Try to remain calm in these situations.

Curious and Active

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Ever heard the phrase “Follow you around like a puppy”? Well, having a furball is just like that. Your puppy is curious about you and what you’re up to, so she’s really obedient. She might be great at sitting and coming when you call her. She’ll tag along everywhere you go and might even feel sad if she doesn’t find you at home.

Nibbling and Chewing

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Chewing and biting might not be enjoyable for us, but it’s totally normal for dogs. So we can’t be mad at that cute little ball of fur when she nips us. Like human babies, puppies explore by putting stuff in their mouths, but their teeth are very sharp! To stop chewing and biting, you can redirect your puppy to chew on something else—like giving a baby a pacifier.

Oopsie Potty Moments

Short-coated Brown Puppy Sleeping on Brown Mat
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Expect some potty accidents indoors. Your puppy is new and tiny, so it’ll take time for him to figure out where to go potty. But with good planning, you can reduce the mess and stop bad habits from starting. Prepare for accidents by limiting your puppy’s access to easy-to-clean areas in your home—like a room with vinyl floors or a puppy crate.

Curiosity Getting Stronger

Black and White Short Coated Puppy Sitting on Green Grass
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As your puppy starts noticing new things around him, his curiosity will push him to explore every nook and cranny of your home—both inside and outside. And believe us, he’ll find all the spots that aren’t puppy-proofed. If you’re not careful, he might dash out of the house in a flash. Just like babies, puppies can get into trouble fast. They need you to watch them closely when they’re outside to keep them safe.

Eyeing Up Counters

short-coated black and white puppy playing on gray sands
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Counter-surfing becomes a concern as your puppy grows. By around twelve months, she’s tall enough to reach tabletops and counters. So anything left up there is fair game for her to explore—and that includes things like plants, flowers, plastic bags, and sticks. But these items can be dangerous if she eats them accidentally, so it’s essential to keep counters clear of hazards.

Trying Everything in Mouth

Cream Toy Poodle
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During the early stage, puppies start tasting more things. They might pick up sticks, leaves, grass, dirt, rocks, and other stuff that isn’t meant for eating. Plus, since they’re teething, they’ll look for things to chew on to ease those sore gums. Towels, shoes, socks, pillows, and throws are all favorites for a teething puppy.

Playing and Tackling

white and brown short coated dog on green grass during daytime
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Puppies love to chase, tackle, and nip at things that move fast and make noise. It’s in their nature to chase squirrels, birds, other pets, and even children—it’s just normal dog behavior. But it’s our job to show them what we want them to do instead. We recommend teaching them the “Bump It” behavior instead of chasing and biting. We use treats to reward this behavior—making it more fun for them than biting kids.

Being a Little Destructive

White and Brown Shih Tzu Mix Puppy With Minion Toy on Green Grass
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When your puppy doesn’t get enough exercise, all that extra energy can lead to destructive behavior. He’ll try to let it out in a dog-approved way, but if he can’t, he might start chewing things or making a mess. Taking him on decompression walks lets him roam around in nature, sniff, explore, relax, and unwind. These walks are good for him—they help with his physical health, emotions, and behavior.

Confused About Rules

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Puppies act on their natural instincts, like chewing on the couch—without knowing what’s right or wrong. It’s our job to teach them the behaviors we want, even if it goes against their instincts. Be ready for some unexpected and unwanted behavior during this stage. Keep up with training sessions and reward good behavior to help them learn.

Getting Bored Easily

Short-coated White Dog on White Textile
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When you first brought your puppy home, everything was exciting and new for him. With his limited energy, there was never a dull moment! But now he’s probably explored everything and knows his toys and usual spots well. With plenty of energy and stamina—it’s natural for him to start feeling bored. This might be the first time he’s felt this way, or it might be getting worse.

Forgetting Training Sometimes

golden retriever puppy lying on floor
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Sometimes, you might feel like your puppy has forgotten everything you’ve taught him. It can be very frustrating, but it’s totally normal. When your puppy’s behavior regresses or new issues come up—don’t think it’s just a phase. Keep up with training and reward the behaviors you want to see to help him get back on track.

Feeling Scared of New Things

brown short coated puppy on wooden box
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Your puppy is figuring out how to be brave and handle fear. Stuff that never scared him might spook him now. Remove those things and slowly show them to him again so he can see they’re not dangerous. And you can also get help from a trainer to help your furry buddy get over his fears.