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Some of us think of an adorable little dog that can barely open its eyes when we picture a puppy to ourselves. Others see a whirlpool of energy that cannot even keep still for single second as there are too many scents to explore, balls to chase after and things to micturate upon. It is essential to understand that puppyhood is not something that just lasts for a couple of weeks. Dogs do not become adults till they become two years old. Despite the fact that there are a lot of stages, most pet owners consider their dogs to be either puppies or adults. Let us take a deeper look at the different stages of puppy development:
- Neonatal period – Puppies have the ability to taste and touch at birth, but that is all they have. Their mother is going to be the biggest influence on them during this period apart from their littermates, from whom they are going to learn coordination, social skills and their rank in the pecking order. Most of the time during this stage, they just eat – newborn dogs need to have mother’s milk once every two hours.
- Transitional period – This is the time during which their eyes open up and they start walking. Their sense of hearing and smell develops, they start wagging their tail and their first teeth come out. Some of the pups might even start barking. Once they reach the end of this period, they will be able to use the bathroom on their own and their eyesight is self-sufficient.
- Socialization period – This is the timeframe and stage where it is crucial to introduce your pup to other dogs and people. By the time they are five weeks old, they become aware of their surroundings and they start to enjoy their playtime. The more good experiences they have around this time, the more it will affect the way they continue to interact with others for the rest of their lives. However, you need to make sure that they spend enough time with their mother and littermates so that they learn inhibited biting and other important socialization cues. By the time they are seven weeks old, you can start house training them. If they get afraid during this time, it is natural and you can deal with it with positive and encouraging training. But once they hit week nine, it is a golden time. This is when they begin to actively work on their social skills and pay attention to their littermates and the other people around.
- Ranking period – This is the dog’s equivalent of elementary school. Just like children, dogs are most influenced by their other playmates at this point of their development. It is around this time that he will begin to understand and use ranking in terms of dominance of submission.