K9: This is a development calendar that is the result of many puppy growth & development cycles under observation. Morgan has agreed to make it pinned at the top of the puppy forum for the benefit of the forums members.
The purpose of this calendar is to be used as a tool or guide for those raising pups to use to identify temperament changes in their pups during development. The reason for such a calendar is that by knowing certain temperament traits are common in all breeds at certain times, this can allow the owner/handler/trainer to allow for certain changes in the pups temperament at certain times..
One important feature that can be of great value are knowing when the "periods of fear" will be present. These are development periods in pups lives that see the pups' thresholds to negative, often nervous behaviours, lowered. Meaning it takes less stimuli to trigger fear in these periods than would be considered normal for that pup. Meaning, you will see fear in your pup at almost everything... Knowing these periods exist & observing the pup going into these periods has helped me develop training programs & strategies to train & socialise a pup correctly based on what period of temperament growth the pup is in & avoid the pitfalls...
It is also very helpful in diagnosing how, when & why behaviour problems begin, for example, a pup that has been challenged in Fear Period one may turn into a very active alert barker, this is because the pup has learned to bark, under a normal amount of stimuli, when the period of fear had reduced the dogs genetic thresholds to fear through a learned experience…
It is thought that these periods exist to add some apprehension to what would be a wild dogs hunting pattern, so that they don't feel they are invincible & injured or killed in early hunting episodes.
I have posted my version of this Calendar here, free for members to use to help raise their pups correctly.
It should be read as a guide only, your pup may fall perfectly into these age groups or slightly out of them, it may have severe fear periods or rank periods or quite mild ones, but from my experience, all pups go through each & every one of them at some time to some degree..
The only condition I ask for is that if this is distributed, its done by linking to this page & my contact details are included or my website K9 Force Professional Dog Training & Behaviour Consultancy. This ensures I can be contacted for any difficulties...
Dogs growth cycles in terms of temperament
• New born puppy (birth to 2 weeks)
Puppies in this period can only communicate by feel, temperature & scent. Things such as bowel & bladder control are not yet within puppies control nor can they control their body temperature. If I was going to purchase a puppy from a breeder, I would be dropping off one of my sweaty t shirts to be left in the whelping box for the pups first 8 weeks of life… Believe it or not, this is when toilet training starts...
• Transition from new born to early puppy hood (2 - 3 weeks.)
Eyes and ears are open but sight and hearing are limited. Movements are more confident, crawling can begin as soon as 2 weeks. Tail wagging & head movements are beginning to be driven by sound. Good breeders will spend a lot of time with the litter at this time, talking to the pups & touching them…
• Awareness Period (3 - 4 weeks.)
The puppy is learning that he is a dog and has a great need for a stable environment. It's a great time to cuddle & talk to the pup. Hearing can now be tested as it will be developed & sight as developed also. I like to remove the pups for short periods & spend time with them without the rest of the litter.
• Pack skills development period (3 - 8 weeks)
This is a crucial time for the puppy to spend with mother & litter mates, interaction skills are learned at this time & various canine behaviours are learned too, such as calming, greeting signals etc. He is now aware of the differences between canine and human societies.
• Human Socialisation Period (6-12 Weeks)
The puppy has a developed brain that can think like an adult dog. This is the best time to interact with the puppy, bring it inside for the night in front of the TV etc. Crate training is possible & should be attempted as early as possible..
He now has the ability to learn respect, simple training steps such as come, sit, stay. We teach the elimination command at 6 week mark so the dog will toilet on command. He can now learn by association.
The permanent man-dog bonding begins, we do not use any corrective measures when training puppies at this stage, other than removal of an available reward. My Triangle of Temptation program is perfect for a pup of this age.. See it here...
I also outline the rules as soon as the pup gets home, such as where the pup will sleep, eat & toilet & I also set boundaries to some behaviours like play..
• Period of fear 12-16 Weeks
The puppy will spook very easily in this period, & frightening experiences can have a lasting effect on the puppy.
In this period, we don't allow children to carry or pick up puppies, nor play with them without close supervision. People are told to socialise the hell out of their pups, I don't subscribe to that idea at all.
We try not to allow the pup in contact with dogs we don't know that are gentle with pups. A puppy subjected to an attack by another dog in this period will most likely suffer from fear aggression its whole life.
Things learned by negative association in this period can be permanent.
• Rank & shaping (14-18 Weeks)
Puppies teethe at this point, this makes them chew & people are good chew toys. They begin to realise the power of their jaw & should be taught bite inhibition (for pets) at this age.
They can also start to show signs of dominance, good pack leadership should be exercised now, a large breed dog let go at this point can be quite a handful, yes at 18 weeks.. They can learn the skills they need to dominate you & exercise these skills when they get big & strong enough, it may be funny to watch a 16 week old pup growling at you, not so funny at 16 months & 40 plus kgs..
Keep up with positive training at this point; learning a new behaviour at this stage is easier than breaking a bad habit later. I really train often in this period, putting formality to the work the puppy can do, asking for more focus etc.
• Selective deafness? (5-9 Months)
It's no surprise to see puppies pretend not to hear your known commands at this age. It's at this age we introduce more formal training including consequences for disobedience.
Dogs often chew & destroy things that have your scent on them at this point too, many pups are dumped before 9 months... why? Because they now have strength, they getting bigger, faster & less reactive to a simple "no"… By now they have either been taught to walk on a loose leash or pull on the leash..
• Second Fear Period (8 - 16 Months)
As puppies become what is called gangly, long legs due to growth spurts, they seem to become a little weaker in nerve than previously noted.
It's strange sounds, new sights that often spook a dog more easily than just a week ago... It's at this time we need to be good leaders, when your dog baulks at a stairway, keep walking at full pace to show your pup all is ok. Coddling him when he shows fear will re enforce that fear & you will have to work to get over it later.
More training now is crucial to his behavioural development.
• Maturity (1-4 Years)
We have so many people with German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Boxers etc that come to us at 2 years old wondering when the puppy will leave this dog? I have seen some dogs that are big pups at 4 years old.
If the dog is a pain then it's because you haven't completed the training as suggested earlier, but better late than never. If you allow your large dog to reach maturity without any training, you're in for a hard time, possibly a dangerous one if your dog becomes dominant.
You need to buy a mirror, take a look in it & change the person you see to an Alpha Leader..
Dogs approaching maturity need firm handling & discipline which = positive & negative R
I am happy to answer any questions about anything in this post....
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