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10 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Puppies

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Westies puppies and mum
West Highland Terriers - WOOF

10 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Puppies

So here are the 10 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Puppies. They have an uncanny ability to capture our hearts with their playful antics and irresistible charm. While you might think you know all there is to know about these adorable furballs, there are some surprising facts about puppies that might just leave you amazed. From their remarkable senses to their unique growth patterns, let's delve into the lesser-known aspects of these delightful companions.

Sense of smell.
A puppy has a brilliant sense of smell.

1. Super-Powered Senses:

  • After a puppy is born, the Puppies first real sense, is touch.

  • Puppies are born blind, deaf, and toothless, but their sense of smell is fully functional from birth. There are some who may say that even the "Sense of Smell" is second to Touch. Either way - these senses are first and prominent.

  • Their sense of smell is estimated to be about 10,000 to 100,000 times more sensitive than humans, making them excellent at detecting scents. Even higher with some Blood Hounds or other scenting breeds. Dogs make excellent "Working Dogs" too. Cadaver dogs, Search and rescue, Drug Dogs and many others.

2. Rapid Growth Phases:

  • Puppies undergo rapid growth during their first year of life. Large breeds mature more slowly, often reaching full size by 12-24 months, while smaller breeds can be fully grown by around 8-12 months.

  • This is why the generally accepted rule of "A dog ages 7 Human years = a dog year" can't be true. They can be upto 17 human years old when they get to the age of one. We have always believed that this is the case. Why? Well its simple - it is an effect of Mother Nature. A dog must grow and learn very quickly in order to survive in the wild. We know they are not in the wild, when we get them, however this does not change what happens Naturally. In all of my articles the discussions around "Timing of your dogs Training" is paramount.

  • "Step 1 - Puppy Magic"

  • "Step 2 - Best Mates"

  • "Step 3 - Unleashed"

  • ""Step 4 - Limitless"

3. Socialisation Sweet Spot:

  • The critical period for socialisation in puppies is between 3 to 14 weeks of age. Positive experiences during this time can shape their behavior and attitudes toward people, other animals, and their environment. Val Bonney calls this an "Imprint Period". When everything our dog learns they will retain for life. A great foundation. Read more on Socialisation.

  • No need to worry if you haven't managed this during this period. Remember, socialisation is an ongoing and consistent process.

4. Puppy Dreams:

Sleeping puppy
Puppy Dreams - Let sleeping dogs lay!

  • Just like humans, puppies experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which indicates dreaming. You might notice them twitching, wagging their tails, or making small noises while asleep.

  • Pay particular attention to your puppy if they are in REM sleep. Try to wake them very calmly so they don't get a fright!

5. Puppy IQ:

  • Puppies are incredibly receptive to learning. They can start responding to basic commands as early as 8 weeks old. This is why we like to train puppies from 8 weeks of age.

  • Consistent training and positive reinforcement during puppyhood can set the stage for a well-behaved adult dog.

6. Baby Teeth Woes:

  • Similar to human infants, puppies possess baby teeth that will eventually shed to accommodate their adult teeth. This transition generally initiates at approximately 3 to 4 months old. Be mindful as they might alleviate teething discomfort by chewing on objects, or even your hand.

  • Never PULL anything out of your puppies mouth like a leash. You may break their teeth and hurt them.

Communicate with each other - puppies rule
Puppies communicate with Body Language and vocalisation too

7. Sibling Communication:

  • Puppies in a litter communicate with each other through vocalisations and body language. They learn vital social cues and play behavior during their time with their littermates.

  • This is one of the reasons Puppies Nip and Bite you.

8. Taste Preferences:

  • Puppies are born with a preference for sweet tastes. This evolutionary trait likely stems from their early diet of their mother's milk.

  • Among a puppies characteristics, taste is the one that doesn't quite match up to the human experience. This discrepancy arises from the lower number of taste buds in dogs.

  • In fact a dog's sense of taste is the only sense they have which is not better than a humans.

9. Fear Imprints:

  • Traumatic experiences during a puppy's early life can lead to fear and anxiety issues later on. Positive exposure to various stimuli can help prevent the development of phobias.

  • Setting your puppy up for success is vital.

10. Teething Woes:

  • Teething can be a challenging time for both puppies and their owners. Chewing helps alleviate discomfort and aids in the shedding of baby teeth.

  • We suggest to our clients to massage their gums internally and externally when you can. Gentle massage from 8 weeks of age is great for them learning not to nip and bite too.

Puppies are more than just cute companions; they're fascinating creatures with intricate behaviors and unique development stages. From their extraordinary senses to their rapid growth phases, each puppy is a bundle of surprises waiting to be discovered. So the next time you find yourself in the presence of a playful pup, remember that there's always more to these little wonders than meets the eye.

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Check out this piece by our lead Puppy Trainer, Peter Bonney. Want more like this? Head over to and click on 'Articles' to dive into a treasure trove of info. You can also find books by Val Bonney there, available in both physical and digital formats. Don't hesitate to spread the word—share these resources with your friends and family!

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