Your Puppy's first six months

The first year of your puppy’s life is by far the most important time in their development, especially the first six months.  There are clear development stages, which if we understand we can help provide everything they need when they need it most.

First 7 weeks: Neonatal Period / 1st Socialisation Period
During the first 7 weeks of their lives, puppies develop the use of all of their senses, they become mobile, start growing their baby teeth, start moving towards eating solid foods and become completely weaned therefore independent from their mums. There are critical lessons that the puppies must learn from their mums and siblings, during this time, which is why they should not be be removed from their original homes before 7 weeks of age.

7–16 Weeks: 2nd Socialisation Period
The optimal time for puppies to be placed with their new human families is at 7 - 11 weeks of age, this is the age that Dogs4Us puppies are usually available to their new homes.

As soon as you bring your new puppy home, time is of the essence for you to provide high quality socialisation and educational play for your puppy, you need to teach him or her right from wrong, make them feel loved and they will in turn love you. You must be prepared to commit time and energy to your puppy to ensure that they have the best start to life with you.

It is also important that you introduce your puppy to as many new things as possible during this period to help ensure that they are confident. People (large and small), other dogs and pets and sights and sounds, the more that your puppy experiences in this period the more sure they will be in adult life. This is the key to creating a socially self-confident, well-behaved puppy that is strongly bonded to you.  It is also the key to preventing yappy, shy, and/or aggressive behaviours from developing later in life.

A critical thing during this period is to protect your puppy from scary experiences, as fears developed during this time can affect your dog in later life, so keep them in a bubble and if your puppy was to become afraid for any reason, dangerous or not, immediately step in and remove him/her from the situation. That is good puppy parenting!

The first 4 months of your puppy’s life: The Imprinting Period
Like children, puppies have a small window of time during brain development when they are most impressionable. This is called the imprinting, or the critical learning period.  For puppies, the imprinting period is during the first 16 weeks of life. Puppies learn more during this time than they can learn in a lifetime. Therefore, the quality and quantity of what they experience during this time will have a huge impact on their future personalities and determine the formation of many of their “good” or “bad” behavior tendencies. In fact, such vast change in development happens with each day that passes, the Imprinting Period is further sub-divided into multiple distinct puppy-stages.

4–6 Months: The Juvenile Period
During this time, your puppy will gain more energy, and become more vocal and restless from the discomfort of teething as the baby teeth begin to fall out and the adult teeth grow. This will typically occur between 4-6 months of age, but sometimes lasts longer.

Your puppy will also begin to get their adult coat and reach the majority of their size. During this time, he or she will also become sexually mature, so this is a great time to get your puppy spayed or neutered… before behavior related problems can occur!

As your puppy’s energy levels rise and he or she reaches full size exercise does become more important, he or she should have regular at least daily walks, with speed and distance relative to their size and breed.

Exercise
During this time should only be short distances and at their pace, their bodies are still growing and over exercise during this period can be harmful to your puppy’s development.

Vaccinations and Health Care
All Dogs 4 Us pedigree puppies come temporary vaccinated, wormed and micro-chipped for identification. Your puppy should not go outside or be exposed to any other dogs that have not been vaccinated before they receive their full vaccinations, contact your local vet as soon as you get your puppy and they will recommend a course of either one or two vaccines in addition to the temporary vaccine. In the case of two jabs they must be administered two weeks apart. Your puppy will be safe to go outside seven days after receiving their final jab.

Toilet training
A great way of training your new puppy is by way of paper training with puppy pads.  It is important that you reward your puppy when they use the training pads as this is how they will most quickly learn during this period. Once your puppy has received their second jab or in a safe non exposed space, you should try and get your puppy to go outside as soon as possible as the earlier you start the quicker they should pick it up, again reward when they go in the right place and they will soon learn!