This is your 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 check out our 9 week old Labrador puppy video.
You’ll also find a 9 week old puppy schedule and lots of great tips to help you care for your new puppy.
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At nine weeks old, most Labrador puppies are just settling in to their new homes.
If you have a 9 week old, you’ve probably had your little one home for a week or so.
And his initial reserve, if he had any, will have worn off.
This a point at which new owners often have a lot of questions.
We’ll take a look at them one by one.
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How much should a 9 week old puppy sleep?
Some people worry that their puppy is not sleeping enough – or that he is sleeping too much!
Most puppies are still sleeping a lot at this age. Eighteen to twenty hours a day is not unusual.
Puppies don’t normally need to be shut away to have a nap, they’ll drop off to sleep quite happily in a basket or crate while family life goes on all around them.
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 he needs to.
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, it will come.
Probably in the next few days.
You can help by keeping night time trips to the garden very brief, and very businesslike. No playing, no chatting, keep the lights dimmed. Out, wee, back to bed.
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.
Notice that we don’t feed puppies as soon as we get up, as may encourage earlier and earlier waking! Also the last meal of the day is several hours before bed time.
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
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 – you’ll find a guide to crating times in our crate training article
How much should my 9 week old puppy weigh?
Your best guide to whether or not your puppy is growing properly is 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 or a couple of pounds either side of this.
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.
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, lack of it.
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, through the use of 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) and to generally ensure that every wee goes in the right place.
Check out our complete guide to potty training for more information
You might also find this guide helpful: 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 and this is 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
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
Each 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
So it’s important that you 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.
You’ll find our complete guide to feeding a Labrador puppy helpful over the next few weeks
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.
I strongly recommend you ignore this, and simply take his bowl away. You can offer the same meal later when the puppy is more hungry.
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, which are 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
Puppies this age often object to wearing a collar and lead, so you need to be patient.
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.
So, you have all the time in the world, in which 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.
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.
You might also want to consider getting your puppy a body harness, he’ll need one in any case once training starts in earnest. And it’s a good idea to have your puppy wear a harness once he starts being socialized from ground level.
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. And 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, carrying them in your arms or 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.
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.
How about you?
Do you have a 9 week old puppy?
Let us know what your concerns are, and share your tips with other readers.
And don’t forget to have fun, this stage passes all too quickly, and he will soon be too big to sit on your lap and carry around in your arms!
Help and support
Raising a puppy can be an overwhelming experience. It’s perfectly normal to find yourself struggling at times.
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.
At the beginning of 2020, I launched an online Puppy Parenting course to provide more in-depth support and guidance for new puppy parents. You’ll find all our courses on the Dogsnet website and if you have any questions about them you can email us [email protected]
Students have a full year’s access to the wonderful support team in our private students’ forum. And we’d love to see you there.
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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
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