What to Expect Next?
There are many stages to puppyhood and this is just a brief list of what to expect over the next year. This list is compiled from our experiences and multiple web sites.
8 weeks to 3 months - expect major growth, even on a daily basis and don't be surprised if one part is growing more on one day and another the next. One day it will be the ears, the next the legs, the tail, puppies can look very goofy and out of proportion during this phase. Everything will all catch up at some point. The “I’m Afraid of Everything” Stage lasts from about 8 weeks to 3 months, and is characterized by rapid learning as well as a fearful period that usually pops up at around 8 to 10 weeks. Not all dogs experience this, but most do, and they’ll appear terrified over things that they took in stride before. This is not a good time to engage in harsh discipline (not that you ever should anyway!), loud voices or traumatic events. You can begin teaching simple commands like: come, sit, stay, down, etc. Leash training can begin. It’s important not to isolate your puppy from human contact at this time, as they’ll continue to learn behaviors and manners that will affect them in later years.
3-4 months - you should still see major growth happening, the 16 week weight is a guide to what the puppy may weigh when full grown, double this weight and in theory, that’s what your puppy should weigh when full grown. That is just a guide though and your mileage may vary. It’s during this time your puppy is most like a toddler. You will see your puppy become a little more independent - he might start ignoring the commands he’s only recently learned – just like a child does when they’re trying to exert their new-found independence. As in “I don’t have to listen to you!”, also known as selective hearing in beagles. Firm and gentle reinforcement of commands and training is what’s required here. They might start biting you – play biting or even a real attempt to challenge your authority. A sharp “No!” or “No bite!” command, followed by several minutes of ignoring them, should take care of this problem. Continue to play with them and handle them on a daily basis, and after those 16 week shots, get your puppy out and start introducing them to as many other dogs and experiences as you can!
4-6 months - the start of the terrible twos! They are still growing but it should seem to be slower as they get older. The dreaded teething will occur during this time, make sure to keep lots of chew sticks around and be more vigilant than ever about leaving anything you care about on the floor or within puppy teeth range. Expect to see a lot more selective hearing (re-inforce the name game and other positive reinforcement training during this time) and some general brat attitudes from your puppy will be very evident. This can be the most trying time for new puppy owners, the puppy mantra is critical here "G-d made them cute so you won't kill them!" Your patience will be tried but if you can keep your sense of humor, you will also have many laughs. This is a good stage to make sure you are giving your puppy lots of exercise and play time. A tired puppy will be less destructive than a bored puppy. Those of you with other dogs will want to encourage play time for them and those of you with just the one puppy will want to introduce your puppy to lots of other dogs and encourage playing. During this time frame, you will want to decide if you will be spaying or neutering your puppy, check with your veterinarian for recommendations on when you should do this procedure, some recommend earlier, others closer to 6 months. Piper's first heat was when she was close to 9 months old, but there are many factors involved in when that first season may start.
6-18 months - the terrible twos for beagles seems to continue until around 9 months old so you aren't out of the woods yet on keeping things away from your little ones. Around 9 months old, you should have a pretty good idea of what your puppy will look like when fully grown, most of the height growth is done now but there will still be some filling out. In beagles the major changes in markings usually start to settle around the 6-9 month time frame, you should see the saddle take shape, and after 9 months the chest will deepen and muscles will start to really show definition as the puppy fills out. In the 12-18 month time frame, your puppy should finish filling out and you may need to start watching how much food they eat depending on their activity levels. Beagles tend to remain puppies until at least 3 years old, some always act like puppies their entire lives. Those who want to do activities such as agility can start learning those skills during this stage. Generally the joints and bones are still developing until your dog is about 2 years old so some larger jumps you want to avoid until they are older. Of course, with some puppies, trying to control the jumps they make is pointless, they will try what they try! Ours leap the long way down from the back of the sofa.
18 months to 3 years - Your beagle is technically a dog but many still act like puppies and have major puppy energy until they are 3 years old or so. Some beagles will ALWAYS think they are puppies even into their senior years. We recommend doing some activity with your beagle, a daily walk should be the minimum. Continue to reinforce their training and you should have a well behaved member of your family. You may continue to see subtle changes in their markings, a little more white in the muzzle as they get older.
Senior times - Hopefully, your beagle will have a long time with you with many active years. Eventually senior dogs can get more diseases and have other health issues that may make them less energetic. The senior years are a fact of life and it can be difficult so see your family member start to get to the end of their time with you, unfortunately they just can’t stay with us forever. At some point we all have to make the heart-wrenching decision to help our buddies to the . Once you have gotten to this point, let yourself go through the grief process any way you need to before making any big changes. Some people will get another dog right away, some need to wait a while, only you will know what is right for you. We usually have to wait a little while before we can even read the Rainbow Bridge poem, but at some point we are ready to start again with another new family member.
G-d made them cute so you won’t kill them!