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Puppies: the Ultimate Guide to Ownership

Get prepared and raise a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted puppy.
Get prepared and raise a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted puppy.
Filter your page based upon where you are in your puppy journey!
  • I'm exploring
    Choosing a breed, finding a breeder, and selecting a puppy.
  • I'm preparing
    Essential supplies, puppy-proofing, setting up a routine, and more.
  • Raising my puppy
    Behavior, health, grooming, nutrition, training, socialization, and more.
  • Expanding my pack
    Introducing a puppy to another pet, and deciding when to get a second dog.
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Choosing a Breed Type

Choosing a Breeder

Choosing a Puppy

Where to Find an AKC Puppy

Browse purebred litter listings and breeder profiles on AKC Marketplace.
Personalized guidance for your puppy journey

Development: 2 to 12 Months

French Bulldog puppy sleeping in a dog bed.

2 Months Old

Help your puppy adjust to their new home. Find out what to expect as they grow, symptoms to watch out for, and learn how much sleep they’ll need – and how much patience you’ll need. »
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Australian Shepherd puppy (3 months old) laying down in the shade with a toy.

3 Months Old

We always say that the earlier your train your puppy, the better! This is the best time to get started socializing your puppy, prevent behavior issues before they start, and teach basic commands.
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A miniature poodle puppy eating his dinner.

4 Months Old

Your puppy may start exhibiting more independence now. Solve problem behavior like chewing issues, get the best toys for teething puppies, and prevent fears from developing.
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5 Months Old

Get answers to the most common questions about 5-month-old puppies, including spaying and neutering, shedding, behavior training, and more.
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Miniature Schnauzer on leash meeting another dog on the sidewalk.

6 Months Old

Now is a good time to learn about trimming your dog’s nails, traveling with your puppy, the difference between playing and fighting, and more.
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7 Months Old

Learn how to unleash your puppy’s superior sense of smell, correct problem behavior, and continue potty training.
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8 Months Old

Welcome to adolescence! Now is the time to introduce crating, practice obedience skills, solve chewing and teething issues, and more.
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9 Months Old

Find out if your dog is finished growing, learn dog park etiquette, and more.
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10 Months Old

Learn what to do if your puppy gets away from you, how to prevent parasites, and how to supervise puppy play sessions.
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11 Months Old

The fact is, fights between dogs sometimes happen. Learn how to break them up without getting hurt yourself, and get other tips for your nearly-grown pup, like what to look for when boarding them in a kennel.
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12 Months Old

Your dog may be sexually mature now and it’s important to learn what to expect. It’s also a great time to introduce him the world of dog sports.
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Preparing for a Puppy

Register Your Puppy

Why register your dog with the AKC? The benefits are plentiful, including complementary services and care to make sure your dog is healthy and happy.

Once Your Puppy Is Home

You now have a new puppy, and this is a huge responsibility. Start with the basics—what to name your dog, how to care for your dog, and how to begin basic training.


Get solutions to some of the most common nuisances, from barking and whining to fears like loud noise.
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Poodle puppy being held up in cupped hands.

Naming Your Puppy

Get inspired for a name for your dog, from famous names to names for specific breeds and personalities.
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Basic Training

It's critical that all dogs receive basic training, from how to walk well on-leash to being comfortable with strangers.
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Puppy Health

From good nutrition to proper sleep habits, get all the tips you need for ensuring he’ll have a long, happy life.
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Chocolate Labrador retriever puppy eating the spilled dog food on the floor outside his dish.


Our experts advise on what and how much to feed your dog, which vitamins and nutrients he needs, and more.
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little dog in the airline cargo pet carrier, at the airport after a long journey


If you plan to go on a trip with your puppy, you need to know how to plan the right destination, and how to prepare.
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Join AKC GoodDog! Helpline

The AKC GoodDog! Helpline (GDH) is a live telephone service that offers individualized training advice for all owners and their dogs, ranging from new puppies to senior dogs exhibiting new, unwanted behaviors.



Protect your pet with microchip enrollment

Because one in three pets will go missing in their lifetime.


Protect your pet with microchip enrollment

Because one in three pets will go missing in their lifetime.


Expanding Your Pack

Breed-Specific Puppy Training

Labrador Retriever Puppy Timeline

Know these key milestones to help train your Labrador Retriever.
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French Bulldog Puppy Timeline

Bringing home a Frenchie? Here are some suggested training goals.
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German Shepherd Dog Puppy Timeline

When will your GSD puppy stop growing? Find out your dog's growth and training timeline.
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Golden Retriever Puppy Timeline

Here's a roadmap to the first 18 months with your Golden puppy.
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Poodle puppy running in the grass.

Poodle Puppy Timeline

A big part of Poodle development depends on the variety of your Poodle!
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Bulldog puppy laying down stretching in the grass.

Bulldog Puppy Timeline

Unlike other breeds, Bulldogs require a few special considerations when it comes to exercise, training, and grooming.
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Rottweiler Puppy Timeline

Teaching your Rottweiler puppy good behavior and socializing them early on is important.
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Puppy with chewed up ball

German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy Timeline

German Shorthaired Pointer puppies require a little extra attention and exercise.
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Aussie puppy

Australian Shepherd Puppy Timeline

Aussies are cute — but don't forget they need a job!
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Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy sitting with its owner in the grass.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppy Timeline

Pembroke Welsh Corgis are little socialites. Here's how to keep your puppy happy.
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You have questions, we have answers.

Puppies: How Much Exercise Is Too Much?

I’ll never forget the look my puppy obedience class trainer gave me when I told her proudly that my puppy had gone on a two-mile hike with me. As she explained, puppies, especially large-breed puppies, should not be exercised too much, as over-exercising could cause joint and bone problems, and...

How to Socialize Your Dog From Home

Puppies have a short time window for optimal socialization, and that requires exposure to multiple different surfaces, people of all backgrounds, and various new situations. But what about the puppies who happen to be within that window now, during this time of necessary social distancing due to COVID-19? How can...

Most Common Puppy Illnesses

Raising a new puppy is exciting, but it can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to keeping our puppies healthy and safe. If you’re worried about keeping your dog healthy, Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC’s chief veterinary officer, says that prevention is the best cure. “Proper vaccination and parasite eradication, as...

Make the Most Out of Life With Your Best Friend

Sprint into action and immerse yourself in the world of canine sports to keep your dog physically and mentally fit.
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