1 - 12 days days
The puppy responds to warmth, touch & smell
He cannot regulate any body functions such as temperature or elimination. He learns to fight for survival.
13 – 20 days
The puppy’s ears & eyes are open, but sight & hearing are limited. The puppy begins to wag his tail & begins to control his own body functions.
21 - 28 days
The puppy’s sight & hearing are now functioning clearly. He is beginning to exhibit canine behaviour characteristics & has a great need for a safe stable environment.
21 - 49 days
Canine Socialisation Period
The puppy learns various behaviours which make him a dog. He learns this from his mother & littermates. Learns a bit of control & starts to be aware of things around him.
7 - 12 weeks
Human Socialisation Period
The puppy now has the brain waves of an adult dog, although his concentration skills are limited. Not only can the puppy learn but he will learn, whether his owners teach him or not. This is the age of really quick learning. With most breeds the end of the seventh week is the best time for going to a new home. All play & learning should only be for a few minutes at a time.
8 –11 weeks
First Impact Fear Period
Fear of new situations occurs during this period, and all frightening or traumatic experiences should be avoided at all costs, for they can have permanent effects. All learning should be play or food related and should be kept fun.
7 –16 weeks
Continued Canine Socialization Period
This stage is extremely important as the foundation is now laid for his future social interactions with both other dogs/animals and people. Socialization with his own kind, age, humans and other species of animals are developed during this period.
Preliminary Boundary Stage/Second Fear Impact Period.
The Terrible Twos
The puppy goes through another fearful phase – often a nervousness of what the puppy perceives to be new things. The young dog will start testing the limits with his owner. This should be downplayed as much as possible. Any challenge should be worked through, making little fuss about any negative behaviour. Reward all positive behaviour and ignore or distract any negative behaviour. Consolidating commands already learned is very useful here.
5 –7 months
First Serious Learning Period.
The puppy starts developing his “will to please”. This should be taken full advantage of. Take care not to put the puppy under too much stress or pressure, or give him too much status in the pack. Play learning and informal fun learning/training in a positive safe environment, using only positive reinforcement.
7 –8 months
First Major Fear Impact Stage of Development Period
Nature says “Be Careful”. The owner feels like they have taken ten steps back. Suddenly the puppy reacts negatively to things that the day/week before were no problem. Suddenly the dustbin is a monster! The puppy can be afraid of his own shadow. All pressures must be removed, lighten up & play with the pup. Learning at this stage is permanent. A bad experience at this stage of development could have PERMANENT lasting effects. Go back and stabilize what you have got.
First Real Obedience Learning Stage
This is a wonderful stage where the puppy will eagerly participate and is trying his hardest to please. Start revising all the early learning and begin to formalise his education. He needs to have crystal clear comprehension of all lessons to date before going on to the next developmental stage. He is learning the skills of how to be a companion animal here.
Prime Learning Stage
Considered the stage where the dog soaks up learning like a sponge (information, commands, life skills etc.) If the early bonding & relationship is appropriate the dog will have the natural desire to please you and be constantly looking for your affirmation. Reward all positive behaviour and ignore all negative behaviour. This stage of development needs lots of encouragement & reward based learning from their owners
You must be sure that the dog has a full comprehension of all commands & learning before the dog can progress to the next learning stage. A good foundation is needed to avoid any confusion later on.
Secondary Boundary Stage/Difficult Teenage Period
Dogs are testing the hierarchy to see where they fit in. This is a normal stage of development and you must not “buy into” the power struggle. Bad behaviour must be ignored – even negative attention will provide enough motivation for the dog to continue unwanted behaviour. Try not to overreact to behaviours or conflicts at this stage. Confrontation only makes it worse.
Drive/ Mature or Mellow Stage.
This stage is when all your hard work pays off! It coincides with the dog’s emotional maturity. Consistency is vital in order to keep the good foundation. It is now that the owner & dog can start perfecting their teamwork.