Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Weeks 5-8 What to Expect

Stage 3: The Overlap Stage 4-7

WeeksFrom 3-4 weeks the puppies begin the most critical socialdevelopment period of their life – they learn social interactionwith their littermates, learn how to play and learn bite inhibition.

They will also learn discipline at this point – Mom will begin weaning the pups around this time, and will start teaching them basic manners, including accepting her as the leader of the pack.We begin to introduce food to the pups starting around the4th week – transition gradually as Mom weans them.

We continue handling the pups daily, but don’t separate them from either Mom or litter mates for more than about 10 minutes per day. Puppies that are removed from the nest too early frequently are nervous, more prone to barking and biting and have a more difficult time with socialization and training. Puppies need to be left with Mom and siblings until at least 8 weeks of age - and preferably alittle longer - for optimum social development.

Experts say that the best time in a puppy’s life to learn social skills is between3 and 16 weeks of age – that’s the window of opportunity you have to make sure your puppy grows up to be a well-adjusted dog. It’s extremely important to leave the puppies with Mom and their littermates during as much of this period as possible.

We definitely don’t discipline for play fighting, housebreaking mistakes or mouthing – that’s all normal behaviour for a puppy at this stage.

5th to 7th Weeks: This must be considered as the third period in the puppy's life. The puppy will venture away from home, not very far, and do a little exploring. At the beginning of the 6th week, awareness of society will dawn. That is, the society of man and the society of the dog. The puppy's nervous system and trainability are developing and by the end of this critical period, will have developed to capacity.

During this third critical period, the puppies will learn to respond to voices and will begin to recognise people. It is during this period that a 'social pecking order" will be established among the puppies in the litter. Some of the puppies will learn to fight for food, they will be the bullies. The litter mates that are cowed by the aggressive tendencies of the others will become shy.

The scientific tests have shown that it is an advantage for a puppy to remain with the litter long enough to acquire a little competitive spirit. but that too much is detrimental to the puppy's emotional growth. Puppies that remain with litter mates after the eighth week will develop bullyish or cowed tendencies which will remain with them into adulthood.

The third critical period ends during the 7th week and the puppy is now considered emotionally developed and ready to learn. The training ability system within the dog is ripe and is operating to capacity. What it learns during the fourth critical period will be retained and become part of the personality and characteristic of the overall dog. If the puppy is left with the mother, its emotional development will be crippled. It will remain dependent upon her, but in her will find very little security since she will begin to totally ignore the pup.

If the puppy remains with the litter beyond this point, and without adequate human contact, its social adjustment will be learned from litter mates. The optimum time for taking a puppy into a new household is at the end of the seventh week and the beginning of the puppy's fourth critical period.

5-8 Weeks after birth

· Weaning Occurs
· Increased hand and eye co-ordination
· Visionary depth (the puppy can notice things outside it’s immediate area)
· Increased muscle control
· Walks, plays, leaps, rolls and tumbles
· Investigates smells and noises
· Handling is very important
· This period initiates the puppy’s level of socialization and is vitally important in making up the puppies’ personality.
· We try to subject the puppies to unusual stimuli such as other animals, children, vacuum cleaners, squeaky toys and any other stimuli available.


Anonymous Tana said...

Well written article.

6:21 PM  

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