Puppy Development at 0-8 Weeks
Welcome Puppy Friends…
Is there anything more adorable than a basket with a litter of puppies in it?
You might feel really tempted to take one home, but just hold up a minute. You cannot take a puppy home until eight weeks old, so this gives you a little time to really think this through and talk to your family about it. If you agree to adopt a puppy, then there needs to be a system in place to make sure your puppy gets the proper care and training it needs. If you have decided this is what you want, then bring your puppy home. The following information tells you what to expect when your puppy comes home and looks at the changes puppies go through during their first few months. You will also find many great idea and tips for raising a happy and healthy pup.
Bringing Your Puppy Home
So what can you expect from your new puppy? It is really important to be prepared. You will need to purchase several items, food, toys, treats, a training crate and the list goes on and on. You need to have an idea about how to teach your puppy certain things, so read everything you can find about training puppies. Puppies play a lot and sleep a lot, they will need to go to the toilet every 1-2 hours. Take your pup outside after a nap or a game, they will usually need to go.
Your puppy will try to explore anywhere and everywhere. Keep a close eye on your pup and do not leave doors open where your puppy can escape. Keep an eye on open windows too. Puppies will chew or try to eat anything they see or smell. Keep dangerous chemicals away from your dog and make sure the family do not leave stuff lying around. You don’t want your puppy to eat your teenager’s hair dye and get sick from peroxide poisoning. When your puppy first comes home, feeding should be three to four times per day. A cereal for breakfast, dry food for lunch, dry food and tinned food for dinner and a little snack at bedtime. Once your pup reaches ten weeks, you can reduce these meals to two per day.
A Look at the Puppy Stages
At birth, your puppy can’t hear or see. Puppies possess reflexes they need to survive. They have the ability to find their mothers teat and suckle milk, eliminate waste, keep warm, and stiffen when grabbed by the neck. In week two, they will open their eyes and will begin to hear sounds. A puppy’s sight and hearing is not fully developed until they are five weeks old.
In week three puppies will be busy growing physically and socially. The changes in a puppy become more obvious in week five. Puppies will play and wrestle with their siblings. Puppies will also start reacting to loud noises by becoming startled. A puppy will also begin walking and will show an interest in other foods. Puppies will try to bark at things and their milk teeth will come through.
When you take your puppy home, your pup will be weaned from suckling the teat and eating solid foods and drinking water. Puppies will eat 4 to 5 small meals a day. Your puppy will also need to have vaccinations done. Make certain you check that your puppy has had these injections. Also check whether your puppy has been treated for worms. This is your responsibility now. You will need a good vet who will vaccinate your pup and recommend worming treatments. You vet will also let you know when it is time to spay your dog if you choose to do so.
Potty Training Your Puppy
8 weeks is a little young, but there’s not reason not to start. The earlier you start training your puppy on where to eliminate waste, the better and the faster your pup will catch on that going potty in the house is a no no.
Most pups are fully trained at 4 to 6 months, you can do better than that, especially if your pup has a yard to play in and a doggy door. Puppies who are allowed outside through a dog door learn really fast, but 8 weeks is a bit young for your pup to roam around the yard alone. 12 weeks is more of an acceptable age for this.
Puppies will circle, squat, sniff the floor if they want to go, take them outside immediately and when your pup eliminates waste, make a big deal of how good your puppy is. Most new pups will need to eliminate every two hours. Keep a close eye on them at all times.
Puppies are usually teething at 8 weeks, so your pup will need to chew things to stop the pain. Make sure you have a good supply of chew toys, softer ones are better. To stop your pup from chewing on things you don’t want wrecked, chew toys are necessary. Puppies and dogs chew things and this is a fact, so chew toys are a must. At 3 months, the baby teeth will fall out and your puppy will get molars at about 6 months old.
Supervision, Separation Anxiety, and Crate Training
Puppies at this tender age need to be watched at all times, like new born babies and toddlers. If a puppy has to be alone, you must create a safe place for your pup. This is where crates are handy. If you need to go out and no one is home to baby sit the pup, then the crate or a puppy play pen is a safe place where you won’t worry if your pup gets hurt or damages something.
Some puppies might show anxiety when left alone. It is important to ignore it, go about your business. Your puppy will get over it. It is the same deal when your pup will not stop crying. Every time you great your pup, you are reinforcing that all your puppy needs to do is cry to get attention. It might seem mean, but it’s not. Training your puppy to stay in a crate while you are away will teach your pup that the crate is a safe place.
If your puppy cries when you leave or come home, leave the room and go about your business, when the crying stops, go to your pup then. When you walk into the room and your pup stops crying, give lots of praise. Your pup will soon learn that whining and crying to get attention does not work.
Sometimes puppies act out. Maybe it’s about getting attention or something they want, like a treat or a walk. Punishment can often mess up the bonding process. Try correction with a gentle “no.” If a toilet training accident happens, don’t make a fuss; just show your pup the mess that was made and take your puppy outside to the spot where you pup usually eliminates waste. You cannot ignore bad behaviour, but punishment is generally counter-productive.
At 8 Weeks Old
At 8 weeks which is when your puppy came to live with you. Your puppy should be taken out for little walks and socialized with other dogs. As if you don’t have enough to do, but this is really important and if you keep reading, you find out why.
When Puppies are socialized with other dogs at the 8 week period, they will often turn out to be very social and well behaved dogs. If you continue this type of training with you puppy until the one year mark, they are reported to be more confident dogs. They are less likely to become stressed and will be treasured and loved family members and can be taken anywhere and be well behaved dogs.
A poorly socialized puppy grows into a troublesome dog. Sometimes the issues are minor, like getting a little over excited and sometimes these issues can be serious, such as growling or snapping at other dogs. Playing and walking your puppy and introducing your puppy to other dogs will instil confidence and puppies will learn how to get along with other dogs without any problems.
Many people are scared to take their puppies out due to illnesses like the Parvo virus. It is quite safe to start socializing your pup; it is not a good idea to wrap your puppy in cotton wool, if you do not start with socializing and basic training when walking on a lead, you risk your puppy growing up and being a troublesome dog.
The Parvo virus that everyone is concerned about when it comes to their dogs can be transferred to your puppy even if you don’t go anywhere. This virus can live on the bottom of your shoe for 36 hours. So you are not really doing your dog any favours by not starting the training and socializing at eight weeks. Chances are you will end up with an under socialized juvenile puppy that will not know how to behave at the family barbeque, much less around other dogs.
So get out there and get the training process underway. In saying this, ensure you are only around fully vaccinated dogs. Get together with other friends with dogs and go out on car rides. Steer clear of dog parks or areas where there are lots of dogs. Make a date with a friend to walk your dogs in a quiet area where there is little chance of meeting up with an unvaccinated dog.
In this time of a puppies life your pup should not be doing certain things. Some puppies are still having accidents in the house, jumping up, biting, not coming when called, digging holes, digging under the fence, chewing things they should not be chewing, chasing the cat and other assorted vices. Your puppy should start to understand that these things are unacceptable. You might want to consider obedience training if these vices are still ongoing after 8 weeks. Learning how to communicate with your puppy in a way that will be effective is something that is essential to learn. Whether you get some DVD’s and study how to solve these issues or read books or even go online and do some research. There are also many dog experts who will direct you to a trainer who can train you to train your puppy.
You can have these problems fixed in a matter of days once you learn how. The trainers actually promise this in their courses. Whatever you do, do not hit your puppy. The pup does not understand this, because it was not how its mother corrected problems. When you think about it, it really makes sense. Learn how to understand your pup, and you will be able to get your puppy to obey you and the problems will be corrected.
Puppies are just the cutest things ever, but they are a lot of work. You need time to do what is needed to settle your puppy into the home and teach your pup about toileting and the basic do and don’ts. On top of this, you need to set time aside to play with your puppy and start training your puppy. It’s a lot of work and you should be available so the puppy is not all alone, all day. Think very carefully before making the decision to get a puppy. Your puppy is a commitment for at least the next fifteen years.
Now let’s look at what changes you can expect in your puppy when entering the 8 to 16 week old stage.