Puppies are born helpless and completely dependent on their mums. 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 warmth. Their 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. Please see the article published by Dr. Carmen Battaglia, report on research by the U.S. Military program called Super Dog
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 useable vision (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.
We increase individual attention with each puppy, and ad toys and other visual objects to their nest. We also move the puppies to an area of the house that has more activity. The mother will start to spend short times away from the puppies.
This is the first time the puppies have use of all of their senses; they need a stable environment and the influence from their mum. 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 will still be with them.
During this period we introduce a variety of new noises, (T.V, radio, vacuums, hair dryer, heavily closed doors). We also introduce new areas of the house, and change the lighting. We track and record the handling cuddling and picking up of the puppies. We invite strangers to visit to handle and cuddle the puppies. Teenagers love to volunteer.
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, more time is spent individually with each puppy, adding new objects for challenge; a maze of chair legs works well. Each puppy is separated for short periods of time from the rest of the litter, teaching more independence and preventing separation anxiety problems later in life. This also encourages bonding and acceptance of humans.
According to most behaviorist, 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, including and especially a comprehensive variety of people.
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 there new home. Our puppies will experience a trip to the Vet, meet new people, go for rides in the car, learn to navigate obstacles such as poles on the ground, ramps, and or stairs. They will continue to be introduced to new toys, objects, sights, and sounds. All of this and more will ensure that all of our puppies make a smooth transition into their new homes with as little stress as possible.
Weaning should be complete, however the mum 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.
During this period, many new objects are introduced, steps, tunnels, blocks of wood, cardboard boxes and anything else we can think of. The puppies are encouraged to follow our voice and spend time outside with us. Handling continues making eye contact and talking to the puppies several times a day, including play interactions such as fetching toys. Puppies learn to be groomed and bathed.
During this period we try to introduce the puppies to the specific things that they will come in contact with in their new home. Such as water, farm animals, cows, cats, sheep, horses etc. It is very important that we understand your situation and your expectation for your puppy so we can give each puppy the best possible chance at success through proper socialization. Much time has been spent with each puppy observing the temperament, thus making it easy to temperamentally match each puppy with it’s new owner.
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 treated as an individual-including crate training, housebreaking, separation from mother and littermates 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.
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 even a transfer to a new home, unless the new owner is experienced with 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.