New owner or seasoned breeder, you will be amazingly enlightened by the Video (below) and short, science-based information from birth to young adult.
CRITICAL STAGES OF PUPPY DEVELOPMENT
by the NetPlaces Network Staff © TheDogPlace.org
New puppy owner or seasoned breeder, you will be enlightened and amazed by this short but scientifically insightful information from birth to teething.
Neonatal Puppy Stage:
birth to 2 weeks - Within 48 hours a newborn clearly reacts to touch as mother nuzzles, breathes on him, stimulates him to urinate and defecate, then nudges him toward the warmth of her body. Within 10 days the puppy has developed a sense of smell.
By the second week eyes and ears open but vision and hearing are limited. The pup is still pretty much “in his own world.” As he nears the 21 day landmark, he learns to stand and tail wagging can be observed.
Canine Imprinting and Fear Stage:
21 - 28 Days by the third week the puppy will react to sudden or loud noises, showing fear. He can see further and can also be soothed by soft murmurings when held. He begins to play with siblings, is aware of his surroundings, and recognizes your voice. He also recognizes his dam as more than a food source and will begin to show affection for her and his human friends.
Human Socialization Period:
28 - 49 Days is when the puppy begins to interact with his littermates and become more aware of external surroundings. He learns acceptable canine behaviors through play. He begins to recognize humans as “superior” friends or something to be feared – which is why the fourth week is known as the “most critical” imprinting stage.
Dog Bonds With Humans:
8 to 10 Weeks The canine is the only animal that irrevocably bonds with the human race. Other species can take us or leave us depending on the food supply and how they are treated. Even when “born wild” or under a house the dog will, if treated kindly, bond with humans. You cat or other pet may care about you but quit feeding it and watch it leave.
The dog is the only species that has been reported to seek and share (regurgitate) food for its master much as a mother dog does for her litter. Puppies “rescued” from under a house will quickly bond with caring humans. This instinctual relationship is unique in the animal kingdom although there have been reports of similar bonding with the Indian Elephant. Scientists refer to this instinctual bonding as “imprinting” such as occurs when a hatchling first sees its bird parents. Of course, the puppy loves and depends on it mother but testing has shown a puppy is as inclined to respond and to go a human as it is to cross a room to get to its mother.
Puppy Learns Avoidance:
10 to 12 Weeks is the age and stage when the puppy’s brain is developing most rapidly and “he now has the ability to foresee consequences of his actions.” The puppy is at the “toddler” stage and is now capable of remembering pain associated with a particular action.
Be patient if he forgets and empties his bladder on the carpet. He will learn through your scolding as easily as if you cause him pain. He seeks your approval. You are now his pack leader. There should be little reason to actually inflict pain. By this age, puppies are capable of registering your scorn or annoyance when they are “bad”. Help him to learn and catalog mistakes in his little computer-brain. Like a toddler child, he is inputting information by touch as well as taste, smell and pain.
12 to 14 weeks a short but incredibly important time during which the puppy catalogs and stores enough information to bog down a cell phone! Think of it! In addition to figuring out an array of “do and don’t” instructions, his immune system is working overtime to process vaccines, during which time he has to figure out who is who in his world. His distance perception is developing and he can remember where he left his favorite toy. He learns accident avoidance, new behaviors, favorite foods and how to walk on a leash!
16 to 18 weeks bring on more than cutting permanent teeth. Just as a human baby becomes fretful, irritated by the pain, between 4 and 6 months, the puppy will be instinctively looking for something to chew on to hasten the rather painful process of teething. Give him hard rubber toys but best of all, give puppy what nature intended. Give him real beef bones. You may have to buy them as raw soup bones but depending on the pup’s size, shank bones are also wonderful. If you worry about carpeting, no problem, crate train him with his favorite and healthiest treat!
His brain has grown and developed in ways we still can’t understand even through MRI imaging. What he learns now will guide him forever. Harsh punishment should be no more than his mother has rendered, i.e. holding him down and growling. If he has been really obnoxious, she may have snapped at him but if he has been properly reared, no real harm has come to him and he loves people and trusts his new world. But there is something about to rock his or her world…
Depending on the breed, at 6 to 10 months, the puppy will develop Hormones. Growth hormones allow physical, mental, and sexual development. Do not let ignorance or a money-hungry veterinary practice talk you into castrating or spaying your healthy dog.
The adverse health and psychological effects of early spay/neuter are well documented. Consider how accidental castration affects a human teenager depriving him or her of growth hormones. Vital to bone development in all species, human physiological and psychological growth would be dramatically impeded were hormone supplementation not administered.
It is a personal decision each family must make but it should be done with
knowledge and forethought NOT by a hungry veterinary practice, NOT by animal
rights activists who use unfounded and erroneous information for political
It is medically and psychologically advisable to allow a female dog to experience at least one estrus cycle to complete her physical and emotional development.
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