The socialisation period is an important stage of a puppies development. puppies require as much interaction and experience with humans including other dogs so they can improve when they are dogs in later life. The socialisation period can be broken down into three stages:
During the first stage of the socialisation period, a puppies senses will have improved, such as sight, smell and hearing. A puppy is beginning to interact a lot more, such as playing with other puppies, barking and wagging it’s tail. As a puppy grows later into this stage stage you may find puppies playing more advanced games and also learning to use it’s paw including using a toilet on it’s own without supervision (but don’t expect the puppy to go too far!).
The second stage of the socialisation period involves full use of a puppies eyes and ears more, facial expressions from the puppy are now becoming more apparent as a puppy improves there thought and learning. In this early stage, the puppies may still be needing it’s mother. This is also a crucial stage for toilet training a puppy so it can learn to improve as it gets older. It’s also best to get puppies involved with as many objects and sounds as possible so it can get used to it’s new surroundings if the puppy is being given to a new owner at the eight week point (the best time to have a new puppy).
At this stage a puppy is now beginning to live a little more independently from the litter but is still attached to it’s owners. A puppy may be hesitant at first when exploring new objects or sounds at this age (whence the reason to learn it at stage two). This is also a good time to start playing games with a puppy and begin learning puppies new surroundings if it has a new owner, including training the puppy to go to the toilet in a certain area and being given plenty of toys to stop a puppy from chewing what it should not be chewing.
In the juvenile period a puppy may still be looking up to an owner and perhaps dependent on him or her. Puppies at a juvenile stage will want to explore a little more but will always be attached to their owners, so should not go too far away from them. Biting or chewing is still a common problem in this developmental stage, so plenty of toys or chewing aids are needed to help the puppy from chewing a house up.
When a puppy reaches the adolescent period of the developmental stage they start to become more independent within themselves, however chewing is still an issue for puppies so it still needs to be regularly monitored. The adolescent period is a challenging period for a puppy and trainer to go through as the adolescent period will test your limits with regards to training your dog due to it being too active. Just to add further drama, puppies shall also be reaching a sexual maturity that increases hormones in males, and females starting entering season. The adolescent period is probably by far a most challenging time for owners, don’t give up!
The maturity period of the developmental stage is a point where a puppy is no longer a puppy, it is now classed as a dog. This dog is also beginning to look more mature in their physical looks but the interest in the surroundings around the dog are still fascinating the dog, so care must be taken to ensure a dog does not wander off. Your dog also needs to learn new encounters as it is taken out more, owners need to ensure a dog learns what is right and what is wrong.
At the social maturity period of the developmental stage a dog should now be mature socially and reached full maturity. Your dog dog has now grown up and if trained correctly, will be your best friend for the rest of a dogs life. Training your dog basics in the social maturity period can be tougher to do, but not impossible. Such examples are rescue dogs who have not been trained properly or have only been half developed. These sorts of dogs learn eventually, but it can be tougher in some cases as a dog has been set in their own ways. Make sure your dog will be happy for the rest of their years with you!
All healthy puppies and dogs will follow more or less identical developmental stages throughout their lives. Some of these stages are vital to help your dog or puppy develop in their later years. Whilst puppies and dogs pass through developmental stages in their life, it may not be necessarily at a precise time as some dogs or puppies may not reach a certain stage within their lives. Sometimes this can be a cause of a condition that can affect a dogs learning process that will also have an affect on their developmental stage. Coincidentally, dogs who come form small breeds will be able to develop faster than dogs who have come from large breeds. See the table below for a more detailed breakdown of the developmental stages.
In this stage, puppies are finding it’s way around, needing mothers to look after it during this period. Puppies will generally crawl around due to having poor vision although the eyes can open up within the newborn period. Puppies need their mother to help encourage it to use the toilet, and also to keep the puppy warm.
During the transitional period, teeth of a puppy can begin to appear, puppies can also begin to walk on it’s own for the first time. It could be recommended to put a puppy through some stress in this stage such as picking a puppy up or weighing them. Those types of activities constitutes mild stress and can help a puppy to cope with other stresses in their later years. The puppy may also begin to attempt to relieve itself, although uncontrolled.