Critical periods in your puppy’s psychological growth:
0 to 7 Weeks
Neonatal, Transition, Awareness, and
Canine Socialisation. Puppy is with mother and
littermates. During this period, puppy learns about social
interaction, play, and inhibiting aggression from mother and
littermates. Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates
during this critical period. Puppies learn the most important
lesson in their lives--they learn to accept discipline.
7 to 14 Weeks
Human Socialisation Period. The puppy now has the brain waves of an adult dog, but his
attention span is short. This period is when the most rapid
learning occurs. Learning at this age is permanent so this
is a perfect time to start training. Also, this is the ideal
time to introduce the puppy to things that will play an important
part in his life. Introduce the puppy to different people,
places, animals, and sounds in a positive, non-threatening
8 to 10 / 11 Weeks
Fear Imprint Period. Avoid
frightening the puppy during this period. Any traumatic, frightening
or painful experience will have a more lasting effect on the
puppy than if it occurred at any other time in its life.
13 to 16 Weeks
Seniority Classification Period or The
Age of Cutting. Puppy cuts teeth and apron strings!
Puppy begins testing who is going to be pack leader. You must
discourage any and all biting because such biting is a sign
of dominance! It is important that you are a strong and consistent
leader. Formal training must begin. Such training will help
you establish your leadership.
4 to 8 Months
Play Instinct Period. Flight Instinct
Period. Puppy may wander and ignore you. It
is very important that you keep the puppy on a leash at this
time! The way that you handle the puppy at this time determines
if the puppy will come to you when called. At about 4-1/2
months, the puppy loses his milk teeth and gets his adult
teeth. That's when puppy begins serious chewing! A dog's teeth
don't set in his jaw until between 6 and 10 months. During
this time, the puppy has a physical need to exercise his mouth
by chewing. PTO
6 to 14 Months
Second Fear Imprint Period or Fear of
New Situations Period. Dog again shows fear
of new situations and even familiar situations. Dog may be
reluctant to approach someone or something new. It is important
that you are patient and act very matter of fact in these
situations. Never force the dog to face the situation. DO
NOT pet the frightened puppy or talk in soothing tones. The
puppy will interpret such responses as praise for being frightened.
Training will help improve the dog's confidence.
1 to 4 Years
Maturity Period. You may
encounter increased aggression and renewed testing for dominance,
but because you have spent a lot of time with your dog, this
will not present a problem at all - in fact you will probably
hardly notice this, it is just something to keep in mind.
Continue to train your dog during this period. Your dog may
have another fear period between 12 - 16 months of age.
Regardless of your reason for acquiring
a puppy, you'll have to win it over. You, not your dog, will
have to be the leader of the pack if your pup is to develop
into a well-mannered family member instead of a burden. Dominance
and alpha behaviour are important concepts that every dog
owner should comprehend.
Dogs are animals, not human beings. They are pack animals
by nature. Every pack has a leader, known as the alpha animal,
which dominates and leads the other members of the pack. The
alpha is the boss who makes decisions for the entire pack.
Usually the pack will have an alpha male and an alpha female.
All the other members of the pack form a hierarchy of dominance
and submission where everyone has a place.
In your home, you and your family become
your dog's pack, as do any other dogs you may have. It is
your responsibility to establish yourself in the alpha position.
If you fail to do this, your dog will do it as a natural behaviour.
Many people assume that they are automatically in charge just
because humans are superior to animals. But are you really
the pack leader? Does your dog know it?
Being the pack leader does not mean you have to be big and
aggressive. Nor does it mean that there has to be a battle
of wills after which you are the victor. Anyone can be the
pack leader. It is an attitude an air of authority. It is
the basis for mutual respect, and provides the building blocks
of communication between the two of you. Read and follow my
Need for Leadership/ Leadership Checklist
firstname.lastname@example.org Visit my Website on www.doglistener.co.uk
Stan Rawlinson ( Doglistener) is a Dog Behaviourist
and Obedience Trainer who has owned and worked dogs for over
25 years, starting with Gundogs then moving on to the behavioural
and obedience side of Pet Dogs in 1996. He now has a successful
practice covering London, Surrey and Middlesex you can visit
his Web Site at www.doglistener.co.uk