Owning a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from a puppy may be a daunting thing to some as they are not quite sure when a puppy turns into an adolescent or an adult Cavalier. However, there are specific stages that a Cavalier reaches during their lifetime, but what are they?
In total there are 10 specific growth stages for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from birth to full maturity. A Cavalier is not considered fully grown until they are one year old and reach full maturity at two years old.
So we now know there are 10 specific growth stages from birth to a mature adult, but what are those stages? Continue reading if you want to learn more.
When a Cavalier is born they are still growing, they are blind, deaf, have no teeth, and cannot regulate their body temperature, and so, are still extremely dependent on their mommy.
They cannot even urinate or defecate by themselves yet, as soon as they are born, their mother will lick away the afterbirth, and in turn, this stimulates the body and waste organs and after some time this encourages them to both urinate and defecate.
Body temperature is regulated by snuggling up to mommy and their siblings to get warmer, and by moving away to get cooler. But if they move away too far and cannot sense that mommy is nearby, they will let out a very loud and high-pitched squeak until mommy comes to pull them back into the pack again.
From birth, a Cavalier will need some of mommy’s milk around every 2 hours to ensure that they grow properly, and are not malnourished. The smallest of the litter (the runt), may get pushed to the side when trying to suckle, so it is vital to make sure each pup gets enough milk during feeding sessions.
The neonatal stage is from birth to 2 weeks old. At this age Cavalier puppies sleep around 90% of their time, the other 10% is spent feeding by their mother.
They sleep for so long, as all their energy is required to grow. Still unable to walk, Cavalier puppies at the neonatal stage build muscle by crawling to find mommy’s teat or warmth from their siblings.
The transitional stage is from 2 to 4 weeks old, and this is where all the exciting things happen for our brand new pup.
In the 2nd to 3rd week, the Cavvy pup’s ears and eyes start to open, and they can see and hear properly for the first time. Also during this time, she will try her first attempts at standing, all be it very wobbly, but standing nonetheless.
Moving closer to 4 weeks old, our Cavalier’s teeth will start to come through and she will take her first steps, slowly moving around. This gives her a new sense of freedom and starts to explore. Meanwhile, she now has control over her bladder and bowels, and so can move away from the litter when she needs to ‘go’.
The socialization stage is from 4 to 12 weeks old and is a vital stage of their lives, as they interact more, and form close bonds with the other pups.
Mother’s milk production slows down at 4 weeks, and at around 5 to 6 weeks their full set of baby teeth has grown. Weaning has begun, and she is now eating real food, at around the 8th week the weaning stage is typically complete.
The socialization stage is when our pups are taught to be dogs by mommy, who will now start to reprimand them for bad behavior.
The fearful stage is from 8 to 12 weeks old, and during this period our new Cavvy will map their future, she can either become as strong as a lion or as meek as a kitten.
Everything is fearful to our pups at this stage, from a springy doorstop to the noisy dog next door. So it is very important to introduce new things gradually until they get used to them. If too many new things are introduced before she can understand them fully, then she will become scared of that item for the rest of her life.
From week 8 it is safe for pups to go to their new homes and live out their lives with their new human parents.
The juvenile stage is from 10 weeks old, up to sexual maturity. This is the period of time when your pup is learning to be a dog through play, biting, chasing, and play fighting. So this is the ideal time for training to begin, but it must be fun, else she won’t want to continue and will find something else to play with.
Juvenile Delinquent Stage
The juvenile delinquent stage is from 10 to 16 weeks old and is similar to a rebellious teenager ignoring your wishes.
It’s imperative to continue with the training at this point to instill the fact that they must obey your commands, or else they may become destructive dogs in the future. Again, the training must be fun and positive reinforcement for them to stay focused on the task.
At around 12 weeks old, the baby teeth are coming loose, and the adult teeth are starting to come through, so the chewing will begin to ease the uncomfortable feeling they are experiencing. Ensure she has plenty of hard chew toys to prevent accidental destruction of your personal possessions.
Early Adolescence Stage
The early adolescence stage is from 4 to 6 months old, and around the 5-month period testosterone in male Cavaliers increases dramatically, and if still living with their brothers and sisters can cause some aggression and fighting between each other.
Another fear stage can begin during this period too, which may result in aggression. Such as fear of losing a toy, or a favorite treat, causing the pup to snarl or growl. Training will prevent this from happening in the future, and if still living with mommy, she will immediately discipline the naughty pup.
The adolescent stage is from 6 to 12 months old, and during this period will gain muscle as most of the puppy’s growth is complete.
Puppy fur is now replaced with the adult coat, male puppies will start to lift their legs to urinate, and females can go into heat as early as 6 months old.
At this stage, the puppy’s energy levels will reach new heights, as they want to explore everything. Continued training and socialization are a must, as our Cavvy’s need to interact with other animals, children, and adults.
The maturity stage is from 1 to 2 years old, and our puppies are fully grown now. Your perseverance in training and socialization has paid off, as you have a very well-behaved and loving Cavvy that is caring to other animals and children alike.