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The Development Stages of a Puppy
The Prenatal Period
The Neonatal Period
The Socialisation Period
The Juvenile Period
The Adulthood Period
The more POSITIVE experiences that the puppy encounters during this time, the more stable the puppy will be going into adulthood. It should be remembered that this is usually a very stressful time for a puppy as usually they are re-homed at around this age and if the move is traumatic it can have an affect on the adult dog.
The best circumstances in which to buy a puppy include:
There are arguments for and against the BEST age to separate a puppy from its mother.
Puppies bought from pet shops or puppy farms are likely to have problems as adults as are puppies who have suffered illness, they suffer from fear induced aggression or excessive barking; this is a result of forced isolation and painful experiences.
Puppies that leave their mother at a relatively late time such as 16 - 24 weeks can show an increased fear of other dogs and traffic. This may be due to a kennel - reared upbringing or a lack of stimuli.
Some psychologists believe that puppies should stay with the mother until 12 weeks of age as before this time puppies are very vulnerable but this is also after the crucial stages of socialisation.
Puppies removed at 6 weeks showed a loss of appetite, increased distress and a susceptibility to illness.
The optimum time for socialisation is between 6 - 8 weeks when the puppy's instinct to make friends with strangers overcomes its natural wariness and is why it is advocated the ideal time to remove the puppy from its mother and litter mates to a new home.
There are gaps in our current knowledge of the early development of behaviour problems. We do not know a great deal about what crosses the placenta to the unborn puppy and this may affect behaviour.
Research shows that puppies are particularly vulnerable to psychological damage resulting in behavioural problems. With children we can monitor progress through interview, dream interpretation and free association but with our puppies we can only guess at what might have occurred.
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