The period from birth to three months of age is the most important in a dog’s life. This is the time when it learns about itself, its littermates, and the world around it. It discovers what is fun and what is dangerous. The more a young dog is allowed to investigate its surroundings, the more developed its brain becomes. A happy, alert pup is easier to train.
At seven days: During the first week of its life, the pup is both blind and deaf. It employs heat sensors in its nose to locate its mother.
At fourteen days: After two weeks, the pup’s eyes are open. Using all four legs, it can now just raise itself off the ground. The head can be lifted
At three weeks: The puppy now has the ability to move around in the direction of its choice, although tentatively.
Six weeks: The confident pup is now ready to investigate the world around it. Movement is deliberate and coordinated.
Make sure your pup meets as many people as possible while it is still very young. Ask friends to kneel down to help curb its inclination to jump up. Advise your friends to avoid eye contact, which often provokes an unduly excited response. Reward calm behavior.
Whenever possible, introduce your pup to other species that it is likely to encounter. It is best to do this when the dog is less than 12 weeks old. After that age, greater care must be taken to make sure that neither predatory instincts nor its fear of strange animals is stimulated. Always supervise meetings.
Don’t encourage bad habits -- reinforce only good behavior. You may find some traits, such as pawing for attention, endearing in a pup, but these habits become unacceptable in an adult dog. If you carry a puppy constantly when its young, it will expect the same treatment if it feels insecure as an adult.
Oversee all your puppy’s activities to make sure that frightening situations are kept to a minimum. Fears that are learned at an early age can develop into enduring phobias unless overcome ra
In all relationships with dogs, the human must play the part of ’top dog’. Few dogs want to be pack leaders. The vast majority feel secure knowing that there is someone in command.
Are you the leader of your pack?