Watercubs & Kivisilmän

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Canine Development Phases


I) Neonatal Period - birth to 2 weeks of age
Puppies are born totally dependant on their mother and need close and constant attention. Their eyes and ears are closed. Their mother stimulates urination and defecation by licking. Puppies do have some reflexes, including pain, suckling, righting (when turned on their side rolling back to lie on their stomach), anogenitial (urinating and defecating when stimulated).

II) Transitional period - 2 to 3 weeks of age
During this period many adult reflexes and behaviors start to take shape. Their eyes and ears open. Puppies begin to crawl, urinate and defecate on their own. Also at about 3 weeks they begin to socialize with dogs (litter mates and mother) and start to learn dog etiquette.

III) Socialization period - 3 to 12 weeks of age
During this stage puppies learn to walk and climb normally, eat solid and liquid food and reflexes become more fully developed.

This is the time when they are especially receptive to new stimuli, animals, humans, and novel experiences. The early weeks of this period are focused on interactions with other dogs, but starting as early as 5 weeks puppies can begin to socialize with humans. It is essential that puppies have interactions with other dogs at least during the stages of the socialization period.

IV)  Juvenile – 12 weeks - 6 months
Many adult behavior patterns are established at this time. The nipping, jumping, chewing and unruliness will become major problems when the puppy grows if the dog is not properly trained from the start. Male dogs reach sexual maturity at about 6 months. Newfoundland females usually get their first heat later, at around 12 months.

Socialization often heads downhill during adolescence, because the dog tends to interact with the same familiar friends and family, and is walked on the same route to the same dog park, where they encounter the same old people and the same old dogs (unlike with a puppy with which you go everywhere). Many adolescent dogs become progressively desocialized toward unfamiliar people and dogs until eventually they become intolerant of all but a small inner circle of friends. Your dog must therefore continue meeting unfamiliar people regularly, otherwise he will progressively desocialize. Socialization is an on ongoing process.


(c) Salmelin