Puppy Development

The dog is a domestic animal and the puppy development follows some precise stages. The man cannot prevent all the stages of this development, but this does not mean that he can't understand some of the determined process and that he can't sometimes intervene. The evolution of the puppy is divided into four stages, which determine its future equilibrium: the neonatal period, the period of transition, the period of socialization and the juvenile period. During these stages the puppy takes conscience of itself, the rest of the living things and its environment. It learns the limits that life imposes in a society in contact with the man. This set of acquisitions is fundamental so that the dog can have a balanced and happy relationship with its owner.

The Stages of Development in the Puppy: The neonatal period happens during the first or second week after birth. The period of transition takes up the second and third weeks. The socialization period goes from the end of the third week to the tenth or twelfth week. At last, the juvenile period lasts from week twelve until puberty.

The Neonatal Period: The puppy's behavior and reactions during this period are guided by the necessity to breast feed and to keep its body temperature. The puppies are every time more autonomous. Sometime around the third week, the puppy comes out of the box and five weeks later an area is established where all the puppies perform their evacuations. Since this moment, the owner must take the mother's place in terms of hygiene. At six weeks the puppies sleep outside the nest and separate. The neonatal period is completely guided by the other.

The Transition Period: This happens from the second week of birth until the third week. At the end of this period the puppies urinate on their own. The dog is improving in terms of its coordination, and can now stand up on its four legs. The puppy explores its surroundings and gets to know the other components of the herd. It begins to play. This is a very short period, since it only lasts a week. During this stage the puppies are completely under the mother's control. Further on, the man's intervention will be fundamental for the socialization period.

The Socialization Period: This time lasts from the third week until the twelfth week and then from the twelfth week until the dog is 7 months old. After the dog is 21 days old it becomes in contact with the outer world and the animals that surround it. The dog begins to learn the rules of social behavior. This period is fundamental for the equilibrium between the owner and the adult dog. All its senses have developed perfectly: hearing, seeing and smelling. At the age of 7 weeks it is considered that the puppy's nervous system has reached its maturity. From this moment on, the puppy has the capacity to learn. But, what does the term socialization mean?

The socialization is the period in which the surroundings influence the puppy. Those which have not been in contact with other puppies, animals or humans will always be afraid and will never be secure. The dog will not be suitable for learning because it will be incapable of communicating and to respond to an order. The primary socialization, which happens through the contact with other individuals, makes the next stage possible, which we will denominate as secondary socialization. In this moment a real social relationship with the owner can be established. Therefore, we must not remove a puppy from the herd before it is seven weeks old. It has been demonstrated that dogs who have socialized correctly, and have often been manipulated by humans before the first seven weeks are much more resistant physically and psychologically than those who haven't. They also seem to have very few behavioral alterations. Nevertheless, the contact of the puppies with humans should not be exceeded because it is not good that the puppy is drowned by the presence of humans. more onDog's Primary Socialization: A Fundamental Concept

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