Charting Labradoodle puppy development is a fun way to appreciate how much they grow, change, and learn in their first year of life.
Key milestones to look out for include teething, going for their first walk, completing potty training, and being ready to start obedience training.
If a puppy doesn’t seem to be meeting developmental milestones as expected, consult their breeder or vet for advice.
Your Labradoodle Puppy
Your new Labradoodle puppy may be an adorable little bundle of fur now. But Labradoodle puppies, like all puppies, grow up fast!
How long will it be before your new puppy reaches growth milestones like getting adult teeth and being old enough for spay/neuter? When will your Doodle puppy reach its full adult size?
What about behavioral milestones, such socializing with other dogs, fetching toys, or responding to commands?
New puppy owners often have lots of questions about puppy growth and development. We’ll tell you what you need to know about how your Labradoodle puppy will develop over the first months of its life.
Before your puppy even comes home with you, it will have already completed some important early phases of development. So let’s start at the beginning, with your puppy’s first days with mom and littermates.
Early Puppy Development
How long was your puppy’s mother pregnant? The time spent in the womb is called the gestation period.
The average gestation period for Labradoodles is around 63 days, or 9 weeks.
If your puppy came to you from a breeder, chances are it spent the first couple of months of life with mom and littermates, before coming to you.
What went on during those first few weeks? The earliest stages of puppy development are important to the good health and behavior of a dog over its whole lifetime.
Here is an overview of the first stages of your puppy’s development.
Neonatal (0-2 Weeks)
Newborn puppies are born deaf, blind, and unable to stand or walk. They already have a keen sense of smell though, and they use this to find one of mom’s nipples to nurse from. They have just enough physical strength to reach her, latch on, and feed, before it’s time for another nap.
In the first days of life, your puppy will seek warmth, nutrition, and care from the mother. Your puppy will want to be close to mom and is totally dependent on her care and attention.
Transitional (2-3 Weeks)
Your puppy’s eyes and ears will open, and it will be able to move around more. Hearing, sight, and brain development are not yet complete, so your puppy will still be very dependent on mom’s care.
Separation from mom at this stage will cause your puppy distress as it is still too soon to be away from the mother.
Early Socialization (3-12 Weeks)
Lots of important things happen during this stage of puppy development, and your Labradoodle puppy’s brain is maturing rapidly.
Your puppy will become more aware of its environment and begin to explore. Interaction with mom will expand to include play, and your puppy will also play with its littermates.
After socializing with its canine family, your puppy will also begin socializing with humans. During this time, a puppy can be fearful of new experiences, so introduction to people and animals should be done carefully.
Your puppy will also start weaning onto solid food from 3 weeks onwards, and by 8 weeks old, your puppy is old enough to come home and join their forever family.
Late Socialization (12 Weeks-6 Months)
Some Labradoodle breeders prefer to wait until this development stage before giving puppies to their new owners.
Even though these puppies are older, the work to raise them well isn’t finished yet. You’ll want to continue socializing your puppy, introducing it to other people and animals.
This is also a time to encourage good behaviors and discourage bad behaviors like biting and aggression. Potty and crate training are key during this time.
Puppy Growth Milestones
Lots of physical changes happen to a young puppy in the first few months of life. Here are a few important changes that your Labradoodle puppy will experience after coming home with you.
A puppy grows 28 baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth) that will fall out and then be replaced by 42 permanent teeth.
Your puppy’s baby teeth will appear by 6 weeks of age. They may begin to fall out while your puppy is still with the breeder, or once they are home with you, at around 12 weeks of age.
All your puppy’s permanent teeth should erupt by 6 months of age, which means that this transition from baby to adult teeth will be going on when you get your puppy and continue for a while after that.
Like most dogs, Labradoodle puppies like to chew during the teething process. They also chew to explore the world around them.
Your Labradoodle puppy’s Labrador Retriever ancestry might also amplify this tendency to chew, as Labs are known as “mouthy” dogs.
Provide your puppy with a variety of safe chew toys and discourage biting during play.
While your puppy will probably continue to enjoy chewing, most excessive chewing behavior will go away by 12-18 months of age.
What is the right age to spay or neuter a Labradoodle puppy? And is neutering necessary?
There is some evidence that there are health issues associated with neutering. And some debate over the right time to spay/neuter puppies. Keeping a male or female dog intact is not a straightforward decision. Especially for a female dog that will come into heat every six months or so once she is mature, unless she is spayed.
Your breeder may have recommendations, but it’s also wise to consult with your veterinarian.
Veterinarians take several factors into consideration when advising on the best age to spay or neuter puppies, including the breed, size, and overall health of each individual animal.
Recent research shows that early spaying and neutering (before 6 months of age) can increase the risk of joint disorders like hip and elbow dysplasia associated with neutering, in larger dog breeds, including the Labrador Retriever.
Certain cancers have been also found to occur more frequently in spayed/neutered dogs as compared to intact dogs.
Keep in mind that a larger Labradoodle from a Standard Poodle parent is at greater risk of early spay/neuter related joint disease than a smaller one from a Mini Poodle parent.
Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about the best plan of action for your individual puppy.
Getting Ready To Go Outside
Taking your puppy out for their first walk is an exciting and proud moment for many puppy parents.
It’s often a welcome change after staying indoors with them for several weeks too.
Puppies shouldn’t be walked or placed on the ground until their puppy vaccination schedule is complete.
The exact timing of this will depend upon what age they receive their first shots. Some breeders arrange this while a litter is still with them, whilst others leave it to their puppies’ new parents.
In the meantime, you can still practice lots of useful skills like walking on a leash and puppy recall inside the home, so you’re ready for the big day.
When is a Labradoodle Puppy Fully Grown?
When will your Labradoodle puppy reach adult size?
There are three sizes of Labradoodle: standard, medium, and miniature.
A full-grown Labradoodle can weigh anywhere from 20 to 70 pounds and stand between 14 and 24 inches at the shoulder, depending on its size category.
Many Labradoodle owners report that their puppies reach their adult height at around one year of age, but they will continue to fill out and gain weight for several months beyond that, up to age two.
Every dog is an individual and your puppy’s rate of growth and final adult size can be influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise.
Your Labradoodle puppy’s physical and behavioral development depends as much on your care as its genetics.
A high-quality diet, plenty of exercise, and good training and socialization in the first year of life can ensure that your Labradoodle puppy develops into a healthy and happy dog.
Labradoodle Puppy Development
Labradoodle puppy development starts from the moment they’re born, and continues past their first birthday.
During this time they grow physically, mature emotionally, and learn lots of new skills.
For some stages of puppy development, such as socialization, timing is critical.
But other things vary from puppy to puppy, and your breeder and vet can advise whether they’re staying on track.
How Old Is Your Labradoodle Puppy?
What milestones are they meeting at the moment? Let us know in the comments box down below!
References and Further Reading
“Canine Pregnancy.” East Central Veterinary Hospital. Accessed February 2021.
Dietz, L., et al. “The Importance of Early Life Experiences for the Development of Behavioural Disorders in Domestic Dogs.” Behaviour, 2019.
Williams, K., Lerner, R. “Teeth, Teething and Chewing in Puppies.” VCA Hospitals. Accessed February 2021.
Hart, B.L., et al. “Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence.” Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 2020.