Watching a puppy grow is one of the greatest pleasures for dog owners, and a 9 week old puppy is no exception. They are at that wonderful age where they are still clumsy and puppy-like, yet starting to develop their own unique personality.
For new owners, it can be an awkward age because they are starting to change their behaviors. Your nine-week-old puppy is developing new sleeping patterns and needs a different feeding routine.
At this age, they want to explore and often get themselves into trouble.
It all sounds daunting, doesn’t it!
But, don’t worry because we are here to help. In this article, we give you a useful guide to life with a 9 week old puppy. We’ll show you what to expect from your puppy at this age, and you can also check out our funny 9 week old Labrador puppy video.
You’ll also find a 9 week old puppy schedule and lots of great tips for your 9 week old Lab.
If you have a specific question and want to save some time, you can skip straight to the answer.
- How much should a 9 week puppy sleep
- When will my puppy sleep through the night?
- 9 week old puppy schedule
- How much should my 9 week old puppy weigh?
- Potty training a 9 week old puppy
- 9 week old puppy biting
- How much to feed a 9 week old puppy
- 9 week old puppy training
- Socializing your 9 week old puppy
With this info, instead of worrying about what to do, you will see nine weeks as the next stage of your beautiful life journey as your little pup develops and grows.
Young Puppy Questions and Answers
At nine weeks old, most Labrador puppies are just settling in to their new homes. If you have a 9 week old pup, you’ve probably had her home for a week or so. If she had any initial reserve, this will have worn off and she will be getting into all sorts of trouble.
She’s so small and clumsy, yet curious and keen to play with her new family. Some owners are terrified that they will do the wrong thing and fail to give puppy everything she needs.
At this stage, it’s normal for your mind to be full of questions. Don’t worry, as all will become clear.
At this point, new owners often have lots of questions, so we’ll take a look at them one by one. Why don’t we start with sleeping patterns, especially because their puppy seems to do nothing but sleep all day!
How Much Should a 9 Week Old Puppy Sleep?
Some people worry that their puppy is not sleeping enough or, conversely, that she is sleeping too much! It can be quite a worry if she sleeps all day – is she ill? Do I need to take her to the vet?
Most puppies sleep a lot at this age, and eighteen to twenty hours a day is not unusual for a nine-week-old Lab. Being a puppy is a very tiring business, with plenty of things to do and people to see!
Generally, you don’t need to shut puppies away for their nap. Normally, they’ll drop off to sleep quite happily in a basket or crate while family life goes on all around them.
Helping Puppies Sleep
There are situations however, where you may need to help your puppy sleep.
If you have young children for example, or another young dog, you may have to step in from time to time to make sure your puppy can nap when she needs to. Kids and other puppies still want to play, even when your puppy can barely keep her eyes open.
She’ll welcome a bit of peace and quiet while she takes a well deserved nap after a hard day’s play!
At nine weeks old, puppies often start settling into a sleeping routine, so it is good to get them into the habit of sleeping through the night.
Puppies aren’t quite so adorable when they wake you up in the middle of the night because they want to play or need the toilet!
When Will My Puppy Sleep Through The Night?
Sleep is very precious and however adorable your little chap is, you probably don’t want to play with him at 3am.
Some puppies are starting to sleep through the night at 9 weeks, at least from midnight to around 6am, which I do appreciate is still night time to some of you!
However, some pups are not quite there yet.
Hang on in there, unbroken sleep will come, but you just have to be a little patient with your puppy.
At 9 weeks old, he will probably start sleeping through the night in the next few days.
You can help by keeping night time trips to the garden very brief and very businesslike. There should be no playing, no chatting, and keep the lights dimmed. Otherwise, your puppy will soon think it is great fun to wake you up because you are rewarding him.
If you have any problems, we have some useful advice here.
Otherwise, encouraging your little one to sleep soundly at night is all about establishing a daily routine. Once he gets the hang of it, everything will fall into place. Why don’t we start with meal times and create a 9 week old puppy schedule?
9 Week Old Puppy Schedule
Here’s a typical 9 week old puppy meal schedule that we use for our own Labs
- 6 am: Wake up, outdoors for a pee
- 7 am: Breakfast
- 11 am: Lunch
- 3 pm: Tea
- 7 pm: Supper – last meal of the day
- 10pm: Take water up
- Midnight: Last pee and into the crate
Remember, some pups won’t quite manage six hours yet, so you might be better off going to bed a bit earlier and getting up at 2 or 3 am. That sounds difficult, but it’s not too bad once you get into the routine, and it shouldn’t be for too long once she grows up a bit.
Anyone with small children knows this all too well!
Notice that we don’t feed our puppies as soon as we get up, because this may encourage earlier and earlier waking! Trust us – it’s a bad habit to get into.
We have some more information about avoiding early feeding times if you want to find out a bit more.
Also, notice that the last meal of the day is several hours before bedtime because it gives plenty of time for her food to go down and make sure she poops long before bedtime.
If you prefer to go to bed later and get up later or to go to bed earlier and get up during the night, that’s fine too. The principles are the same and its just a matter of setting a 9 week old puppy schedule that works for you and your puppy.
Puppy Crates and Feeding
A little crate time can give you a break from supervising your puddle maker while you are busy, but keep crate times short at this age because they only have small bladders and need to pee frequently. You’ll find a guide to crating times in our crate training article.
Next, why don’t we look at growth and development? How much should your 9 week old puppy weigh when she is growing normally? Most of us would simply put our puppy on the weighing scales and look at a chart.
How Much Should My 9 Week Old Puppy Weigh?
Although it is very easy to find charts letting you know how much your puppy should weigh, they are not always accurate, especially if you have a mixed breed pup that doesn’t fit any category.
Even dogs within the same breed grow and develop at different rates, so while charts can give a rough guide, don’t rely on them.
Your best guide to whether or not your 9 week puppy is growing properly is to look at how he behaves and feels, rather than what the scales say.
As a rough guide, many 9 week old Lab puppies will weigh between 18-20lbs (8 – 9kg) or a couple of pounds either side of this. A few pounds either way should make little difference unless they look too plump or you can see their ribs.
Check out our puppy growth FAQ for more information
Puppy weights may also vary quite considerably between the two different types of Labrador (field and show) and even between individuals from the same litter. Try not to worry too much, but if you think that there may be a problem, get in touch with your vet.
Potty Training A 9 Week Old Puppy
Nine weeks is often the point at which people start to worry about potty training progress, or rather, the lack of it. Surely, your puppy should be getting used to peeing in the right place by now.
Perhaps you are taking your Labrador puppy outside after every meal and every time he wakes up, but he is still making puddles all over the house. So, what is going on?
You role is to restrict his access to areas where mistakes are most likely to happen with baby gates or some other kind of temporary barrier.
You will also need to take him outside before his bladder is over flowing, which might be every twenty minutes at certain times of the day. Overall, try to ensure that every wee goes in the right place.
Check out our complete guide to potty training for more information. It might give you a few useful pointers for how to avoid accidents.
For those of you who have to work, how can you find the time to potty train your puppy? Luckily, we have an article that might just help you! How To Raise A Puppy When You Work
9 Week Old Puppy Biting
Another common question at this age is about puppy aggression. This is such a common concern and often arises for the first time at about nine weeks.
The puppy is settled in his new home, his shyness has worn off, his confidence is back, and he is ready for some fun.
Concerns arise simply because most people do not realise just how ferocious Labrador puppies seem when they play.
Puppies bite hard and make a lot of noise. It can be a little frightening, especially for small children, but it’s usually quite normal.
Check out this article on puppy aggression to reassure yourself that you have not bought a vicious wild animal into your home.
Then, head over to our article: How To Stop Your Puppy Biting
One further question is how much you should feed your puppy. Just like asking how much your puppy should weigh, there is no clear answer for this question. You will have to trust your judgment and experience.
How Much to Feed a 9 Week Old Puppy
Many puppies, especially Lab puppies, are very greedy and wolf down every morsel you provide for them.
Puppies like this will eat far more than they need and quickly become obese if you let them decide on quantities.
However, it can be quite difficult to know how much to feed a 9 week old puppy, especially with all the different brands and types of food.
Each 9 week puppy will need feeding according to his or her size and, as we’ve seen, sizes can vary widely even in the same breed.
You also need to bear in mind that every brand of puppy food is different. Some brands have more fillers and you’ll need to feed larger quantities in order to keep your puppy well nourished.
A Quick Feeding Guide
So, it’s important to start by following the instructions on the packet.
You can then add a little more to each meal if the puppy is not gaining weight steadily, or reduce the meals a tiny bit if he is getting too plump. Gradually, you’ll get the hang of it!
You’ll find our complete guide to feeding a Labrador puppy helpful over the next few weeks. The University of Missouri also has a useful guide for all dogs, including small puppies.
Feeding Picky Puppies
Some puppies are quite picky and won’t always finish a meal, but that’s fine. However, if your puppy normally eats heartily and suddenly goes off his food, all food, then he may be unwell.
Have a chat with your vet if you are concerned, especially if your puppy misses more than one meal.
On the other hand, if he is quite happy to eat an alternative menu, the chances are he is simply exercising his right to an opinion.
You can ignore this and simply take his bowl away. Later, you can offer the same meal when the puppy is more hungry.
Just as a sidenote, if you are interested in feeding your puppy on a more natural diet, you may enjoy our guide to raw feeding: Raw feeding for dogs
9 Week Old Puppy Training
It’s never too soon to start training your puppy provided that the training is age appropriate.
And, provided that you use modern methods, training is great fun for dogs of all ages.
You’ll find free guides to teaching all the basic puppy commands such as ‘here’ and ‘sit’, in our training section, and you’ll find some great tips to get you started with recall in the video below
Training Puppies To Walk
Puppies this age often object to wearing a collar and lead, so you need to be patient. They’ll try everything they can to take them off.
Fortunately this is not a problem at all, because a nine week old puppy does not need a walk. In fact, he won’t need a walk in any formal sense for several months. What he needs is space to trot about and play, and your yard or garden is probably suitable for this.
In addition, you can’t yet put your puppy down on the ground outside your home, because he is not fully immunized. As a result, you have all the time in the world to introduce your puppy to his collar and lead.
Let him wear a collar for a short while each day. Clip the lead on from time to time and let it trail. Don’t forget to distract him with food and cuddles.
Occasionally pick up the end and encourage him to follow you. Make it ‘no big deal’ and he will too. That, and a lot of patience, are all part of 9 week old puppy training!
You might also want to consider getting your puppy a body harness, because he’ll need one in any case once training starts in earnest.
In addition, it’s a good idea to have your puppy wear a harness once he starts being socialized from ground level. Check out our guide to when a puppy can go outside for more useful info.
Socializing Your 9 Week Old Puppy
We have known for several decades that puppies need to be exposed to different types of experiences before they are three months old, in order to become confident and fearless.
Yet, far too many puppies are kept at home, away from the world in those important first few weeks. Don’t let that happen to your puppy.
Socialization is all about raising a friendly confident dog, and proper socialization helps to avoid problems like fearfulness and aggression. If it hasn’t started already, that process needs to start right now, at 9 weeks old.
That means taking your puppy to lots of different places, and carrying them in your arms or in a carrier to avoid contact with potential sources of infection.
Enrolling your puppy in a well-supervised, modern force free training class can be a great way of building social confidence too.
Studies have shown that puppies enrolled in classes before 20 weeks of age are less likely to be fearful than puppies kept at home. Bear in mind that you can’t do this until she has been immunized.
What about bathing? Can I bathe my 9 week old pup?
Can I Bathe My 9 Week Old Puppy?
Most puppies don’t need to be bathed unless they roll in something unpleasant or get themselves covered in food.
But, Labradors being Labradors, there is bound to come a point when you have a sticky or messy pup on your hands!
Fortunately, it’s fine to give a 9 week old puppy a bath occasionally. Just use a gentle shampoo designed for puppies, and try to make the process fun for your little one.
You might find the kitchen sink or a large plastic bowl is a lot less scary than the great big family bathtub.
Week Old Puppy Summary
In this article, updated in June 2019, we have shared some of our experiences with 9 week old dogs. This age can be scary for new owners as the bundle of joy starts to explore the world around her.
As you can see, there isn’t anything too difficult, and setting a routine and a puppy feeding schedule can bring order to her life and help her settle down. At this age, with a bit of patience, you can start training your new family member and begin socializing her.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun because this stage passes all too quickly. Soon, she will be too big to sit on your lap and carry around in your arms!
Perhaps you have some tips and stories to share about your 9 week old puppy. Why don’t you share it in the comments and join in with our lively, growing community?
More Information On Puppies
Check out our Labrador Puppies section for more help and advice on surviving the early days of puppyhood.
For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.
The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.
The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.
The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.
References and further reading
Cutler et al 2017 Puppy socialization practices of a sample of dog owners from across Canada and the United States. Journal American Veterinary Medical Association
Scott J & Marston M 1950 Critical Periods Affecting the Development of Normal and Mal-Adjustive Social Behavior of Puppies. The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology
Duxbury M et al, 2003. Evaluation of association between retention in the home and attendance at puppy socialization classes. Journal American Veterinary Medical Association
Covert, S.J. 1993. Feeding the Dog. University of Missouri.
Fiszdon, K. and Kowalczyk, I. 2009. Litter size, puppy weight at birth and growth rates in different breeds of dogs
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website