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Old 07-14-2009, 11:41 AM
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Puppy Development

How a puppy is raised has a big influence on what kind of dog that puppy will turn out to be. Puppies that are raised in puppy mills or pet stores do not get the kind of attention critical for early development often leading to behavioral issues that may or may not resolve over time.

Neonatal Period (1-14 days)
Puppies are born helpless and completely dependent on their moms. They respond only to the warmth, touch and smell of her. The puppies crawl in a circle moving their heads from side to side when trying to find their mother for food or warmthTheir eyes and ears are closed. There is some vocalizations at this stage, especially if hungry, cold or in distress. Vocalization also encourages the mother to nuzzle the puppy. Early neurological stimulation will have important and lasting effects on puppies.

Transitional Period (14-21 days)
This period begins when the eyes are open and ends when they are first “startled” upon hearing a noise. This week is characterized by the rapid development of motor skills. The onset of usable vision usually occurs by 18-21 days, the emergence of teeth, and the first signs of hearing first evidenced by the startle response. The puppies move around a lot more, and begin to walk and leave the nest to eliminate. toys and other visual objects sld b added to their nest. The mother will start to spend short times away from the puppies

Awareness or Identification Period (21-28 days)

This is the first time the puppies have use of all of their senses; they need a stable environment and the influence from their mom. Imprinting during this period is very important to becoming a “Good"¯ dog in the future. Puppies will start play fighting, barking increases. They may begin to eat real food, but the mother sld still be with them. During this period a variety of new noises sld be introduced. (T.V, radio, vacuums, hair dryer, heavily closed doors).

Second Awareness/Identification Week (28-35 days)

During this week Play behavior becomes much more sophisticated, including growling, chasing, and kill games. They are eating well now, and will start to be weaned. There is much research supporting the conclusion that puppies raised in an environment lacking challenges are more likely to develop into fearful, less successful adults. During this time, new objects sld be added for challenge. Each puppy sld separated for short periods of time from the rest of the litter, teaching more independence and preventing separation anxiety problems later in life.

Socialization Period (5-16 weeks)

Dogs lacking proper stimuli are over excitable, learn slower, and may compensate with self-destructive behaviors like coat chewing, licking, etc. "Bounce-back" is one of the most valuable traits you can “teach” a dog. And the more often the puppy recovers, bounces back from a frightening situation the list of things that it is not afraid of grows faster and faster. Puppies must be exposed to a wide array of smells, textures, surfaces, sounds, vibrations, tastes and sights. The more chances a puppy has to be exposed to something new during the critical socialization periods, the less bothered it will be throughout the rest of its life when confronted by other new or frightening things. Under socialized dogs are shy,fearful, become defensive, discriminate threats inappropriately, and may even bite out of fear. During this time age (5-10 weeks) prior to the puppy going to their new home.

Curiosity Period (5-7 weeks)
Weaning should be complete, however the mom will continue to play with and teach the puppies. The puppies are very curious now wanting to crawl, investigate and taste everything. They have very little sense of fear now and will approach and investigate anything and everything. They have the lowest fear and the highest approach acceptance now. The puppies sld be encouraged to follow our voice, making eye contact and sld start talking to the puppies several times a day, including play interactions such as fetching toys. House breaking begins, the best time for pups learn to eliminate outdoors, and learn to be groomed and bathed.

Behavioral Refinement Period (7-9 weeks)
Puppies have fully functioning brains and are capable of learning anything. Learning at this age is permanent. Many behaviorist agree that this is the best time for the puppy to go to its new home. Puppies that do go home at this age must continue with the correct exposure to other dogs, so it will learn to coexist in a dog world Puppies that stay with the breeder and other litter mates must be treated as an individual-including crate training, housebreaking, separation from mother and litter mates for extended periods of time and extensive socialization.. During this time boundaries should be taught, as well as good behavior. The proper time to place each puppy may vary; depending on the situation and if the new owner is equipped to provide a stable learning environment.

Fear Imprint/Impact Period (8-11 weeks)

Puppies have no fear until about the 5th week of life with fear increasing gradually through the 6th week and escalating toward the end of the 7th week. The puppy will begin a time of much more caution. It may be fearful of loud noises, strangers, sudden movement, other dogs, etc. If frightened during this period it may take weeks to return to normal. Most agree that this is the wrong time for anything traumatic, shipping, harsh discipline,and maybe a transfer to a new home, unless the new owner is experienced witheven puppies. The puppy needs to be exposed to lots of positive experiences at this time. Some puppies pass through this stage very quickly and others take longer, based on a combination of genetics, socialization and the experience of the owner or breeder in the handling of the puppy.

Environmental Awareness Period (9-12 Weeks)
Puppies start to learn the right behaviors for the right time pay more attention to their humans and are very busy learning about their New World. Many believe that if left with litter mates they will bond with them and not their human. If you do choose to have two pups join your home at the same time the key is to treating each as an individual, by separating them from each other during periods of time such as night, each in their own crate. If the puppy has no other dog interaction at this time there is a risk of the puppy not acquiring good doggy social skills.

Seniority Classification Period (13-16 weeks)
This is the age of independence. The puppy begins to test leadership and dominance. “temper tantrums” may occur. Puppies that have been compliant may begin to have an opinion of their own. This is a critical period of learning for the puppy. This is the time when attending puppy class is essential. The exposure to other puppies, other breeds, other sizes is critical. The puppy will learn the difference between play and work. An environment with a lot of other of distractions helps build self-confidence, this period (14-16 weeks is also the closing of the “window” of effective socialization, so waiting until the puppy is 6 months old for class may be too late.

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Old 07-14-2009, 11:12 PM
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