All dogs go through developmental stages as they grow, both physically and mentally.
2 to 6 Week old puppies begin to learn basic behaviors. During play they growl and bite and learn how to use these behaviors to interact with their litter mates. Mom also teaches manners through her discipline.
7 to 12 Weeks. Moving from the litter to it’s new home, this is a very acceptable time frame to learn house breaking, jumping up, what ‘to’ and ‘not to’ chew on. Your puppy also goes thru a fear period during this stage. Take treats with you to the vet and be careful when your puppy interacts with other dogs. Introduce new people and places slowly to assure a feeling of security.
12 to 16 Weeks. This is the time frame when pups begin to test their owners. Biting and growling, chewing on the leash, are your pups way of trying to dominate you. Don’t encourage tug of war games or wrestle games. This is the time to begin obedience training which establishes you as pack leader and teaches owners how to respond to this testing behavior.
4 to 8 Months. This is another testing stage where puppies become more independent of their owners. They wander off and ignore your calls. Keep your dog on a leash in unconfined areas until they prove responsive to your commands.
6 Months to 2 Years. The adolescent stage. They become more protective of their ‘turf’ barking at passerbys on the street and guests at the door. Continually testing your control tells owners to continue their obedience training and socialization with other dogs.
Growing up is not an easy process for anyone! Your knowledge, understanding, training and patience will help your dog to develop into a happy, four legged family member.
Susan Thixton, Dog Trainer, 813-767-3909.