Bond and Trust – The Human–Dog relation basis
The tie between you and your dog isn’t there right from the beginning, but has to be developed with lot of love, devotion and consistency. The Puppy, having stayed with his mother till now, needs to receive this love, protection, contact and rules from you from now on, and of course his basic needs, like feeding, playing, sleeping and cuddling need to be satisfied.
The Puppy still needs to learn a lot, and gain experience every single day. Doing so he will of course face situations that might be scary or disturbing and this is exactly the point where the Puppy needs to trust in you. Together the two of you will face those troubles, find irritating objects and situations, and the trust that is built in those moments will strengthen the bonds between you and your dog a little more every day.
A good relation will further on be the cornerstone of your education, as the dog will only be following your wish if he feels motivated by you and has developed those bonds.
Now how can these ties be developed?
Behaving like a leader means that you must demonstrate – to the dog’s satisfaction! – that your behavior is that of a higher status animal. Each dog will have different criteria for what constitutes adequate leadership skills on your part. And his expectations may change considerably as he grows & matures, requiring that you also make shifts in your approach.
Directing, Controlling & Inhibiting Behavior
From the dog’s perspective, only someone they respect has the right to control, direct or inhibit another dog’s behavior. Turned around the other way, this means that if you can’t control, direct or inhibit your dog’s behavior (especially at critical or highly exciting times), your dog is making it quite clear that he does not consider you higher status – in other words, he doesn’t respect you, a clear sign that your leadership is inadequate for that dog (though it may be quite adequate for another dog with a different personality.)
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.