When it comes to stages of growth, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is as predictable as a teenage girl. The stages, for the most parts, are similar but with a basic understanding of your pup's temperament, you can tailor these to best suit your needs. Understanding the stages of growth for your Welsh Springer Spaniel will help you in all aspects of training and acclimating your dog to his new environment. These basic stages will provide you with a deeper understanding of how to interact with your pet during each pivotal stage.
During the first two stages, awareness and canine socialization, your Welshie will probably still be with their litter and the breeder. These periods last collectively about 49 days, or roughly 7 weeks. During this time, the Welsh Springer Spaniel learns that he is a dog, and what it entails in regards to his mother, siblings, and learning to be a dog. A responsible breeder will make sure your Welsh Springer Spaniel develops these skills before introducing him to a new home.
The stage from seven to twelve weeks is designated as the "human socialization" stage in which the Welsh Springer Spaniel will learn, to an extent, how to deal with humans. The beginning of this stage should have been initiated by the breeder, but otherwise, this is the perfect time to introduce a Welshie pup to a new home.
The time from eight weeks to sixteen weeks is when the Welsh Springer Spaniel learns about fear and power dynamics. During the "fear impact" stage (8-11 weeks) you should avoid painfully frightening circumstances during this time because at this critical age these unpleasant situations could have long-lasting effects. During the "classification" stage, your Welsh Springer Spaniel will attempt to define the leader in his life or try to assert himself into that role. Establishing boundaries and roles is significant to the growth of your Welshie during this stage.
The "flight" stage occurs during the first four to eight months of life. During this stage, your Welsh Springer Spaniel may become defiant, not responding to you when you call. The Welshie will want to be free and roam about, and will try to venture out on his own just to see what independence feels like. During this stage, it's important that you don't punish your Welsh Springer Spaniel when they do not obey or you will teach them that coming to you means bad things will happen.
Finally, your Welsh Springer Spaniel will reach maturity sometime after the first year or before the end of the third year. Your pet may feel the need to test his boundaries again and may even experience an increase in aggression. The most important thing you can do here is continue the positive training, setting aside time for your pet each day.