YOUNG PUPPY TIME is so treasured here at Bonita Havanese. We know how brief it is! From the nine weeks the pups spend in Mama’s womb to the 11-12 weeks when they are ready to go to their new homes, so much happens.
My clients often want to what the first three months are like in a puppy’s life. This young, they’re all like little factories, growing and changing every single day— mentally, physically, emotionally, and neurologically too. So here’s the development of your Havanese puppy in a nutshell:
Birth – 2 weeks
They are tiny, vulnerable little things. They’re born with eyes and ears shut, and no teeth. They eat and sleep and eat and sleep. Those little dream-shakes you see the puppy do in sleep? Huge changes are going on inside as the body grows. They stay warm and sleep in puppy piles, breathing and dreaming and nursing on Momma, getting stronger every day.
Around 2 weeks, they open their eyes, and all the connections between the eyes and the brain are developing like wildfire. They can see! They don’t have to nurse quite as often, and their body temperature is starting to regulate itself. But they still need to be kept warm.
3 – 4 weeks
Around 3 weeks, their ears open, and those tiny teeth will start appearing. They begin moving around a lot: rolling and ambling and bouncing around with the litter, testing out their voices, beginning to play. You’ll hear a bark, and a yip, and waroooooo and every other sound they can muster.
Everything is a new and stimulating experience, from a sound to a smell to a feel. The world is amazing! I’ve watched a litter this age tumbling around that suddenly all stop and listen if there’s a new sound. Like a sneeze.
4 – 8 weeks
With those teeth, they can start eating solids, very gradually — like kibble that’s been soaked, and Momma will start back on the nursing some, which is a natural process — most puppies are weaned by the end of four weeks, and eating that good soaked kibble and drinking fresh water. We’ll also give them their first shots — and get them started on their regular vaccination schedule.
Meanwhile Momma is teaching them manners, and they start to learn a whole lot from each other — don’t bite too hard, for instance. Socializing is key at this stage, and the litter grows that way in leaps and bounds. They romp and play and get stronger, interacting with us as well. They’re being exposed to new sights and sounds, learning to venture around on their own. Their own curiosity prompts them to explore. They get used to being cuddled and picked up. And they’re developing so much every day. From one day to the next they can look like they’re changed. Their features are getting more pronounced, even though they still look like woolly little clown-bears.
8 – 12 weeks
Our puppies are very sturdy and very outgoing and smart, and even at the age of two months they’ll look you straight in the eye with that special, sweet expression of theirs. In other words, they are already melting hearts. But every day is a new experience, and they are learning by leaps and bounds now, bold and really showing their intelligence. They’re also far more coordinated, which means that for little pups, they are fast.
We keep our puppies until 11-12 weeks here, which is ideal for Havanese puppies — tiny breeds mature a bit more slowly than the larger breeds, and we’d never recommend someone take a Havaesese puppy at 8 weeks (it’s too young). But at 11-12 weeks, they are ready to become part of your family. Welcome home!
Keep in mind that every puppy is different, just like people. And Havanese dogs act like puppies for quite a while! And remember that you’re also getting used to having the little clown at home. By nature these are curious and playful dogs. So it’s important not to be too harsh or impatient. Puppies learn by exploring. And with these babies, a little correction goes a long way. Keep it positive, keep your eye on them, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. We’re always happy to answer them.