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The 7 Stages of Puppy Development


also get DVD or Book The Monks from New Skete The Art of Raising a Puppy  , it is best training book I have ever read ! 

In order to understand why  puppy doesn't listen to you at times, you need to understand each stage of development a puppy goes through as it matures. 

Let's take a look at the different stages, but before we do, keep in mind that these stages are generalizations  each dog will progress at its own pace.

Stage 1: The Transitional Stage

2-3 Weeks

The Transitional stage generally lasts from age two to three weeks, and it's during this time that puppy's eyes will open, and he'll slowly start to respond to light and movement and sounds around him. He'll become a little more mobile during this period, trying to get his feet underneath him and crawling around in the box (or wherever home is.) He'll start to recognize mom and his littermates, and any objects you might place in the box.

Stage 2: The Almost Ready To Meet The World Stage

3-4 Weeks 

The Almost ready to meet the world stage lasts from 3 to about 4 weeks, and your puppy undergoes rapid sensory development during this time. Fully alert to his environment, he'll begin to recognize you and other family members. It's best to avoid loud noises or sudden changes during this period  negative events can have a serious impact on his personality and development right now. Puppies learn how to be a dog during this time, so it's essential that they stay with mom and littermates.

Stage 3: The Overlap Stage

4-7 Weeks 

From 3-4 weeks your puppy begins the most critical social development period of his life  he learns social interaction with his littermates, learns how to play and learns bite inhibition. 

He'll also learn discipline at this point  Mom will begin weaning the pups around this time, and will start teaching them basic manners, including accepting her as the leader of the pack. We begin to introduce food to the pups starting around the 4th week  transition gradually as Mom weans them. 

We Continue handling the pups daily, but don't separate them from either Mom or litter mates for more than about 10 minutes per day. Puppies that are removed from the nest too early frequently are nervous, more prone to barking and biting and have a more difficult time with socialization and training. Puppies need to be left with Mom and siblings until at least 7 weeks of age - and preferably a little longer - for optimum social development. 

Experts say that the best time in a puppy's life to learn social skills is between 3 and 16 weeks of age  that's the window of opportunity you have to make sure your puppy grows up to be a well-adjusted dog. It's extremely important to leave your puppy with Mom and his littermates during as much of this period as possible. Don't discipline for play fighting, housebreaking mistakes or mouthing  that's all normal behavior for a puppy at this stage. 

Stage 4: The "I'm Afraid of Everything" Stage

8 Weeks to 3 Months

The "I'm Afraid of Everything" Stage lasts from about 8 weeks to 3 months, and is characterized by rapid learning as well as a "fearful period" that usually pops up at around 8 to 10 weeks. Not all dogs experience this, but most do, and they'll appear terrified over things that they took in stride before. This is not a good time to engage in harsh discipline (not that you ever should anyway!), loud voices or traumatic events. 

At this time your puppy's bladder and bowels are starting to come under much better control, and he's capable of sleeping through the night. (At last, you can get some rest!) You can begin teaching simple commands like: come, sit, stay, down, etc. Leash training can begin. It's important not to isolate your puppy from human contact at this time, as he'll continue to learn behaviors and manners that will affect him in later years. 

Stage 5: The Juvenile Stage

3 Months to 4 Months 

The Juvenile stage typically lasts from 3 to 4 months of age, and it's during this time your puppy is most like a toddler. He'll be a little more independent - he might start ignoring the commands he's only recently learned  just like a child does when they're trying to exert their new-found independence. As in "I don't have to listen to you!" Firm and gentle reinforcement of commands and training is what's required here. 

He might start biting you  play biting or even a real attempt to challenge your authority. A sharp "No!" or "No bite!" command, followed by several minutes of ignoring him, should take care of this problem. IF THAT DOES NOT WORK I TAKE THE PUPS UPPER LIP AND TURN IT INSIDE OUT AND PINCH IT, ONLY PARENTS SHOULD DO THIS, NOT CHILDREN, IT WORKS WELL AND PUP WILL STOP BITING

Continue to play with him and handle him on a daily basis, but don't play games like tug of war or wrestling with him. He may perceive tug of war as a game of dominance  especially if he wins. And wrestling is another game that can rapidly get out of hand. As your puppy's strength grows, he's going to want to play-fight to see who's stronger  even if you win, the message your puppy receives is that it's ok to fight with you. And that's not ok!

Stage 6: The Brat Stage

4-6 Months

The Brat Stage starts at about 4 months and runs until about 6 months, and it's during this time your puppy will demonstrate even more independence and willfulness. You may see a decline in his urge to please you  expect to see more "testing the limits" type of behaviors. He'll be going through a teething cycle during this time, and will also be looking for things to chew on to relieve the pain and pressure. Frozen doggie bones can help sooth him during this period.

He may try to assert his new "dominance" over other family members, especially children. Continue his training in obedience and basic commands, but make sure to never let him off his leash during this time unless you're in a confined area. Many times pups at this age will ignore commands to return or come to their owners, which can be a dangerous, even fatal, breakdown in your dog's response to you. If you turn him loose in a public place, and he bolts, the chances of injury or even death can result  so don't take the chance. 

He'll now begin to go through the hormonal changes brought about by his growing sexual maturity, and you may see signs of rebelliousness. (Think adolescent teen-age boy!) If you haven't already, you should have him neutered during this time. (Or spayed if you have a female.)

Stage 7: The Young Adult Stage

6-18 Months

The Young Adulthood stage lasts from 6 months to about 18 months, and is usually a great time in your dog's life - he's young, he's exuberant, he's full of beans  and yet he's learning all the things he needs to become a full-fledged adult dog. 

Be realistic in your expectations of your dog at this time  just because he's approaching his full growth and may look like an adult, he's not as seasoned and experienced as you might expect. Gradually increase the scope of activities for your dog, as well as the training. You can start more advanced training during this period, such as herding or agility training, if that's something both of you are interested in. Otherwise, extend his activities to include more people and other animals  allow him to interact with non-threatening or non-aggressive dogs. 

Congratulations! You've raised your puppy through the 7 stages of childhood I mean puppyhood, and now you have a grown-up, adult dog! Almost feels like you've raised a kid, doesn't it? 

(c) 2004 by Charlie Lafave, author, "Dog Training Secrets!" 


12 Positive Paws Training Techniques to Follow for Your Puppy :

Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy.  Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise.  
Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared!

By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have: (If your puppy is over 12 weeks old start right away with this socialization 

Experienced 12 different surfaces:  Wood, wood chips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, 
puddles, deep pea gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc..........

Played with 12 different objects:  Fuzzy toys, big & small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper or 
cardboard items, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc.......

Experienced 12 different locations:  Front yard (daily), other peoples homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, 
basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, veterinarian hospital (just say hi & visit, lots of cookies, 
no vaccinations), grooming salon (just say hi), etc..........

Met and played with 12 new people:  (outside of family):  Include children, adults (mostly men), elderly adults, people in 
wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, etc..........

Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy's comfort level):  We don't want the puppy 
scared):  garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorcycles, skateboards, 
washing machine, shopping carts rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, vacuums, 
lawnmower, birthday party, etc..........

Exposed to 12 fast moving objects (prevent chasing) :  skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people 
running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, children playing soccer, squirrels, cats, horses running, cows 
running, etc.....

Experienced 12 different challenges:  climb, on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and 
down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella, balloons, walk on a wobbly table (plank of wood with a small rock underneath), jump over a broom, 
climb over a log, bathtub (and bath) etc...

Handled by owner (&family) 12 times a week:  hold under arm (like a football), hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner's legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold and take temperature (ask veterinarian), 
hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, etc......

Eaten from 12 different shaped containers:  wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard, box, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, frying pan, Kong toy, Treat ball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, etc......

Eaten in 12 different locations:  back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend's house, car, school yard, bathtub, under umbrella, etc....

Played with 12 different puppies (or safe adult dogs) as much as possible.

Left alone safely, away from family & other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.

Experience a leash and collar 12 different times 

            TIPS AND TRICKS  
 ***I am not a professional trainer but I have come across some great training techniques that really work and I wanted to pass them along you.  
 Training Tips: All training takes a lot of practice and must be done consistantly. You cannot expect to teach a dog a command and the dog "know" the command and always obey the command without constant practice and training. When first teaching the command, be sure to always give him a treat. During the first few days give him the treat everytime he does the command. Slowly decrease the amount of treats you give but never decrease the amount of praise. Some dogs naturally want to please their owners while other dogs are a bit more stubborn. However, you must expect your dog to always follow all of your commands... don't make the mistake of letting your dog get away with not obeying sometimes. Once you teach the command it is imperative to follow through for the rest of the dog's life by expecting him to obey all of the commands everytime you give them. As time goes on your dog will be very willing and good at obeying commands. 
Come: This is the first and most important command to teach your pet. It is important that your dog learn this command to keep him safe... imagine your pup running out the door the second it is opened and into the street. You will want to be able to call him back and know he will come immediatley. It takes a lot of practice before you will be able to trust that your dog will come every time without fail when you call him. The first rule of this command is to never use it when your dog is in trouble. If your dog has done something wrong, don't call him... walk to him and get him. Dogs are smart - if they know they are in trouble, they will run - faster than you can!

To teach come: put the pups leash on - preferrably a six foot leash. Get in front of your pup and say "Rover, Come!" If he does not come gently pull on the leash and say "Rover, Come". As soon as he comes praise him and give him a treat. Do this for 5-10 minutes three times a day increasing the amount of time as your pup gets older. Eventually you will be able to practice off the leash. Be sure to practice this command in public places where the pup is sure to be distracted. Always follow through with this command... your dog MUST come every time. 

Sit: Put the pup's leash on and have a treat in your hand for this one. Get the pup's attention by putting the treat in front of his nose. When he notices the treat, raise your hand up so the pup must look up for the treat. Continue until he is forced to sit - he will naturally sit as his head is extended up and back to look at the treat. While you are moving the treat up say, "Rover, Sit!". As soon as he is sitting praise him and give him his well earned treat! Do this command twice a day for 5-10 minutes. Also, think of this command as the dog's way of saying please. Make him sit for everything.... feedings, going out, getting in the car, being pet etc... . If you take your dog out in public don't let anyone pet him until he is sitting. Nobody likes a dog that is jumping all over them.

Down: Again, use the leash and a tasty treat to teach this command. It is easier if your dog can sit first. Take the treat and get your dog's attention by placing it in front of his nose. Next, slowly move the treat toward the floor while saying, "Rover, Down!". As soon as he is in the down position praise him and give him his treat. You should practice this command 2 or 3 times a day for 5-10 minutes. 

Quiet: A lot of dogs won't need to learn this command. However, some dogs are much more vocal and owners find it a must. If you are one of those owners with a very yappy dog you will want to teach your pup this trick early. Place the leash on the pup and set him up to bark. For example, if your pup always barks when someone knocks on the door have a friend come over and help you practice teaching quiet. With the leash on, have your friend knock on the door. As soon as your dog barks gently tug on his leash and tell him, "Rover, Quiet!".  Repeat this as much as it takes. As soon as he quits barking, give him a treat and  a lot of praise.  Practice this command a lot for a few days.. it may be necessary to purposly set your pup up to bark in the first few days. Take him out in public where there are a lot of dogs if he likes to bark at them and practice. Never allow your dog to bark - stop everything until he is quiet. 

Chewing: Puppies like to chew - that is a fact of life. However, you can keep your things looking nice and still allow the puppy to get his chewing needs. Whenever you find your pup chewing on something other than his toys, tell him, "No Chew" and immediatley give him one of his toys. As soon as he is chewing on the appropriate item praise him. Anytime you happen to catch him chewing on one of his toys, praise him. Be sure to have lots of toys and raw hides available for your pup. It is not uncommon for dogs to get past chewing and then at around 8 months old start up again. That is because they are getting a second set of teeth in and need to chew to relieve the pain. Simply do what you did earlier by redirecting him to his toys.
 Crate Training and House Training
Crate training is a wonderful way to teach your dog to do his business outside. Dogs are den animals and appreciate having a small quiet space all to themselves. An added bonus is that they do not like a messy den and will not want to go in their "den". The first day you bring your puppy home it should be focused on crate training. Play with the pup in the room where your pup will sleep in his crate. Have the crate ready and leave the door open. Put a small treat inside and a kong toy. Sit on the floor by the crate to play with the pup. As soon as he wanders into the crate, praise him and give him a treat. The pup will continue to explore his crate. Every time he goes in praise him. After he feels comfortable with the crate put him in it and close the door for about 30 seconds.Give him a treat and praise him as soon as he goes in. Open the door and let the pup out and calmly tell him good boy. Aftr a while, put the pup in the crate with the door closed for 1-2 minutes. Always praise him and give him a treat when he goes IN the crate.. don't make a big deal when he comes OUT of the crate... you want the dog to learn that going in the crate is good and exciting.. not coming out. If you do this as soon as you get home with the pup and only play by the crate the whole day and make it yours and the pup's focus of the day it will be a much quieter night. During they day when your pup is ready for a nap, put him in his crate, praise him and give him a treat. Make sure he has gone outside to do his business first and then leave the pup to take his nap in the crate. If he cries ignore him. Do not let the pup out of the crate when he is crying. As soon as he wakes up from his nap take him outside to potty.
Potty training: Set  your pup up on a schedule. Puppies will need to go potty immediately after waking up, after a play session and immediately to 20 minutes after eating. The crate is a valuable part of potty training. A typical daily schedule of a pup should be this:

Early morning: Wake up- go outside to potty - Praise and treat 
                      Eat- go outside to potty- Praise and treat
                      Play-SUPERVISED- for about 30 -45 minutes - go outside to potty and stay till the pup goes- Praise and treat
                      Nap- in the crate for 1 hour
                      Wake up- go outside to potty- Praise and treat
                      Play- SUPERVISED- for about 30-45 minutes - go outside to potty- Praise and treat
                      Nap in the crate for 1 hour
                      Wake up - go outside to potty Praise and treat
Repeat this schedule adding in meals where appropriate.It works well if you bring home your pup when you will have 2-3 days to focus on this schedule only!  Feed the pup for the last time no later than 6:00pm and take up the water (which should be left out during the day) around 8:00pm. If your puppy is very young (less than 9 weeks) you may want to wake him up in the middle of the night to go out and potty.
As the puppy gets older, the play time will be increased and the nap time decreased. It is very important that you supervise your puppy closely when he is not in the crate. The best way and quickest way to successfully house train your dog is to PREVENT any accidents. A puppy will give you signs when he needs to go outside. A lot of dogs will suddenly start sniffing and running in circles. Some dogs will just sniff around for a minute and go. If you are supervising your puppy you will see the signs and know to run outside. Don't worry that your pup is napping a lot.. like babies, young pups need to nap. Expect that during the first couple of days your pup won't be happy about the crate. This will quickly change and eventually your pup will want to go in his crate for some quiet time.  


The Dog Whisperer ; Cesar Millan's 

Check his Website for DVD & the Book 
Child Proofing your Dog 

Puppies for Dummies is excellent book also 


I do not recommend puppies for children under 6 if it is your only child. Puppies do not understand vs versa small children and will chew and bite on them. Please wait until your child is old enough to have a doggie

If you have older children at home and a small child teach the older children
how to train the puppy from jumping on small child.





















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