Monday, September 10, 2007

No Longer Neonates! Stages of Puppy Development

The pups are a full two weeks old now (all of them -- it gets tricky when they were born on different days)! And you know what that means?

They're not considered neonates (newborns) any more!

Yup, puppies have developmental stages just like humans do, but instead of using human-term descriptions like "infant" or "crawler" or "toddler" (which would be silly anyway), canine behaviorists have come up with their own classifications for pups.

So, for those inquiring minds out there who want to know, here are the classifications as described in Another Piece of the Puzzle: Puppy Development compiled by Pat Hasting and Erin Ann Rouse (editors):
  • Pre-Natal Period (before birth)
  • Neo-Natal Period (1-14 days)
  • Transitional Period (14-21 days)
  • Awareness or Identification Period (21-28 days)
  • Second Awareness/Identification Week (28-35 days)
  • Socialization Period (5-16 weeks)
  • Curiosity Period (5-7 weeks)
  • Behavioral Refinement Period (7-9 weeks)
  • Fear Imprint/Impact Period (8-11 weeks)
  • Environmental Awareness Period (9-12 weeks)
  • Seniority Classification Period (13-16 weeks)
  • Flight Instinct Period (4-8 months)
  • Second Fear Impact Period (6-14 months)
  • Maturity Period (1-4 years)
And yes, each period contains certain windows of opportunity during which certain tasks are easier for pups to learn and remember long-term, and certain critical times when the pups are more susceptible to acquiring long-term fears.

To help the pups become all they can be, we're trying to use these periods for their benefit. :o)

I won't bore you with the details of each stage (if you're interested, the book listed above covers them in detail), but I will let you know what the pups are in for this week.

Over the next seven days, if they haven't already, the pups will:
  • hone their motor skills (walking, sitting, standing, moving forward, moving backward, etc.)
  • begin to develop usable vision (right now they look like little Mr. Magoos!)
  • they'll begin to pee and poo on their own (already have)
  • their first teeny teeth will begin to emerge (poor Elsie! poor other pups!)
  • they'll start lapping liquids
  • their ears will unseal and they'll start to hear (we'll see startle responses to noise)
  • they'll learn to use their voices more specifically and deliberately (already are)
  • they'll start showing interest in their littermates (already are)
  • they'll wag their tails appropriately (have just started)
  • and Elsie will naturally be spending less and less time with them (already is)
So what will we do? In addition to the Early Neurological Stimulation we've already been doing since they were whelped (thanks to Sundancer Labs' Theresa's telling us about it before the pups were born), we'll...

  • increase our paying 1:1 attention to the pups (no problem there!)
  • add safe toys and visually-stimulating objects to the whelping box (no problem there either!)
  • we'll introduce new surfaces to their feet (one minute only, once per day). They've already been on linoleum, paper, and fleece in the whelping box; next we'll add carpet, rubber mat, wood laminate (our kitchen floor), brick (our family room floor), tile covered concrete (the kennel room floor), hardwood (the rest of the floors in our house), and doggy beds (soft, fabric covered pillows).
  • I'll continue working at my laptop at the kitchen table and answering the phone there (instead of my office) so the pups have activity around them.
  • we'll be careful about super loud, sudden sounds this week (like the coffer grinder or vacuum cleaner), but will continue normal noise-making activity like usual (doing dishes, running the dishwasher, running water, putting dishes away, listening to the radio quietly, listening to TV quietly, etc.)
  • And, we'll continue holding the pups and clipping their toenails and petting and cradling them.
So that's the plan for puppy development this week (documented with pictures and photos of course).

We'll keep you updated!

'Til next time,

P.S. Whoever said puppy raising was brainless must've been brainless himself. :o)


JuliaR said...

"Little Mr. Magoos"! Brilliant!

Theresa said...

The puppies look great - my hat's off to you!

kate Flynn said...

This blog is such a learning curve, i learn something everytime i log in, but the best part is that the teaching materials are just so darn cute!!

Cathy said...

Your pups are beautiful - I check you site every few days. We are also blessed w/ 9 puppies born on 8/30/07 - five days after yours. Your blog has been a godsend to me - I learn so much from you and Elsie. I wish you much fun and happiness w/ all your canine kids:)

Julia said...

Aw that sounds so fun getting to cradle and cuddle all those little guys!Im jealous
- Finnegans mom

Joan said...

LOL...Julia -- yes, Mr. Magoos -- they REALLY look like him when he's misplaced his glasses. Anybody else out there remember Mr. Magoo?

Thanks, Theresa. :o) My hat's off to you, too, for all your great counsel and support!

Learning curve, Kate? LOL...that's an understatement. This is our second litter, and though still a newbie, I thought I had some idea of what we were doing anyway. Well...wrongo...LOL... apparently every litter and every dam is different. Yup, we're on a learning curve and will be for a long time I suppose!

And Cathy, CONGRATS on your grandbabies!!!! I'm tickled for you to use anything here if it helps. Theresa from Sundancer Labs has been helping me all along, as has Denise from Puppy Love (where we got Baxter and Ridge). It's always such a gift when others who are a little further down the road come along side us to help us along. If I can help (I'm no expert, but I'm willing to share whatever we learn, and it will be FRESH learning since we're only five days ahead of you!), don't hesitate to e-mail me (Theresa would be proud!). Hang in there; it only gets more fun!

Oh, and Finnegan's mom, there's nothing like puppy grunts and puppy breath and puppy kisses and puppy squiggles. LOL there is also nothing like the volume of puppy pee and puppy poo and puppy clean-up we'll have for the next five weeks! :o) Thanks for the kind wishes, though; our REAL work has only just begun!

Blessings to you all,