The apple doesn't fall
far from the tree, especially for dogs. The fact is,
well-socialized dogs are more likely to have well-socialized
puppies. Pups often mirror their mothers' calm or fearful
attitude toward people; this is a normal part of their
socialization. But you can play a vital role too, by petting,
talking, and playing with puppy to help him develop good "people
are usually weaned at six to seven weeks, but are still learning
important skills as their mother gradually leaves them for
longer periods of time. Ideally, puppies should stay with their
littermates (or other "role-model" dogs) for at least 12 weeks
Puppies separated from their
littermates too early often fail to develop appropriate "social
skills," such as learning how to send and receive signals, what
an "inhibited bite" (acceptable mouthing pressure) means, how
far to go in play-wrestling, and so forth. Play is important for
puppies because it increases their physical coordination, social
skills, and learning limits. By interacting with their mother
and littermates, puppies explore the ranking process ("who's in
charge") and also learn "how to be a dog."
Skills not acquired during
the first eight weeks may be lost forever. While these stages
are important and fairly consistent, a dog's mind remains
receptive to new experiences and lessons well beyond puppyhood.
Most dogs are still puppies, in mind and body, through the first
two years of life
General guidelines for
puppies' stages of development
Birth to 2 weeks:
Puppy is most influenced by his mother.
Senses of touch and taste are present at birth.
to 4 weeks: Transitional Period
Puppy is most influenced by his
mother and littermates. Eyes open, teeth begin to come in, and
senses of hearing and smell develop. Puppy begins to stand, walk
a little, wag tail, and bark. By the fourth or fifth week,
eyesight is well-developed.
3 to 12 weeks:
Socialization Period During
this period, puppy needs opportunities to meet other dogs and
3 to 5 weeks:
puppy becomes aware
of his surroundings, companions (both canine and human), and
relationships, including play.
4 to 6 weeks:
puppy is most influenced by
littermates and is learning about being a dog.
4 to 12 weeks:
influenced by littermates and is also influenced by people.
Puppy learns to play, develops social skills, learns the
inhibited bite, explores social structure/ranking, and improves
5 to 7 weeks:
puppy develops curiosity and
explores new experiences. Puppy needs positive "people"
7 to 9 weeks:
puppy is refining his
physical skills and coordination, and can begin to be
housetrained. Puppy has full use of senses.
8 to 10 weeks:
puppy experiences real fear
involving normal objects and experiences; puppy needs positive
9 to 12 weeks:
puppy is refining
reactions, developing social skills with littermates
(appropriate interactions), and exploring the environment and
objects. Puppy begins to focus on people; this is a good time to
3 to 6 Months:
Puppy is most influenced by "playmates," which may now include
those of other species. Puppy begins to see and use ranking
(dominance and submission) within the household (the puppy's
"pack"), including humans. Puppy begins teething.
puppy experiences another
6 to 18 Months:
is most influenced by human and dog "pack" members.
7 to 9 months:
puppy goes through a
second chewing phase, part of exploring territory.
Puppy increases exploration of dominance, including challenging
If not spayed or neutered, puppy experiences beginnings of
ENS Protcol -
Selecting and Raising Puppies
PAT- Testing -
Volhard Puppy Aptitude Testing
importance of proper puppy socialization