Phases of development
The Puppy passes through several stages of development after birth.
Vegetative phase (1. and 2. week)
In this early stage eyes and ears are still closed, and the sense of smell is poorly developed.
Transition period (3. week)
Now the palpebral fissure and outer acoustic meatus open up, still the Puppy is not able to see. Vision is not developed before the 17th or 18th week. The same applies for the sense of hearing. Did the Puppy so far solely sleep and drink, he’ll now be able to notice his siblings and adjacencies.
Filial Imprinting (4 – 7. week)
Eyes, nose and ears are fully developed. In this period the Puppy ideally becomes acquainted with various impressions like humans, noises or visual impressions. He consciously notices his environment und gets to know his social partners. While playing with his little brothers and sisters he will learn to find his position in the hierarchy and to test himself and the others. This is the period where personality and temper are stamped. Is a Puppy in this period kept isolated and without social contacts, it is very likely that there will be major problems with the dog’s socialization.
Fraternal Imprinting (8 – 12. week)
The Puppy starts getting to know his environment and to take his place in the hierarchy. All he learns now, he will learn for life. In the pack it is the male dog to “educate” the Puppy, and this is exactly what our role is now. No matter how cute the Puppy is…it is essential to fondly but also consistently define the Puppy’s limits. We should make sure to take advantage of the Puppy’s curiosity, impressionableness and learning ability. Contact to other Puppies, humans, any animals, but also unknown noises or different flooring are vital.
This is the most important time for us and our Puppy.
All uncertainties and anxieties caused by wrong handling are barely irreversible and will affect the dog’s whole life.
The awareness of the dogs social development and that they have to learn things, facilitates dealing with the dog and its education.
Range and scale of the partnership between man and dog during the “Fraternal Imprinting” will irrevocably affect all characteristics of the dog.
The allegedly “abnormal character” of so many dogs is prevalently based upon deficient education during fraternal imprinting, where there is mostly too little playtime, instead too much drill. Some people act like wanna-be tamers and treat the dog like a “savage, ripping” wolf, this being two errors in reasoning at the same time.
First of all a tamer is no longer subduing the “wild beast”, but a sensitive animal lover, who knows that he can only expect the best performance, when the huge kitties enjoy what they do. And secondly there is no “savage, ripping” wolf, but a friendly, greatly peaceful wolf, harming nobody, besides being created by nature to prevent overpopulation of many species in their habitat.
Hierarchization (5 – 6. month)
This is the time of the Puppy’s dentition change. He is looking to find and strengthen his place in the pack. The new owner of the dog has to make sure that the dog’s position is at the bottom of the “family pack”. Therewith the Puppy knows its position, and he will follow who symbolizes the “top dog”, the one whose authority is recognized. The top dogs “human being” leadership abilities are of course being challenged. At this stage it is essential to show the Puppy its limits and teach him clear rules.
Puberty period (7 -12. month) duration depending on breed
The male dog will start to lift his leg; the bitch will experience her first heat. In this period we can see almost defiantness, everything they have learned seems to be gone. You should not at all resign at this point, but keep working with fondly but unyieldingly consistency.
Maturation period (12 – 18. month)
Now it shows if the dog received the instructions that will carry its development. The continuous pleasure to learn and joyful approach of humans and animals is proof for this evolution.
The dog is now mentally mature and barely susceptible of change. Positive as negative sensations and experiences will now define its actions.