Have you ever wondered how your puppy grows and learns how to survive the rigors of puppyhood? If you have kept puppies, you will know that all them go through several, what the veterinary profession call, critical periods of development. And this takes place usually in the their first year.
When a puppy is born it begins to grow and develop rapidly. Its emotional development also grows by leaps and bounds at this critical stage in its life. However the successful development of your puppy begins with the breeder and how he treated the puppy, while still with its mother.
Finally at around six-eight weeks old, when it leaves its mother, it is then your turn to influence your puppies development by the way you treat him during those early days spent with you. Good socialization is the key to success at this time. Taking the trouble to make sure your puppy meets people and other dogs can have a positive impact on him and you as his owner.
All of us, from time to time, are so busy getting on with our own lives that we do not see what needs to be done and what is in front of us. It is only when your puppy is away from you, for maybe two or three days, that you notice a huge difference in his behavior. In order to understand the many stages of your puppy's development we must take a closer look at these critical periods.
A dogs pregnancy usually last 60/65 days, but it can go either way. And when the puppy is born it relies on the nourishment of the mothers' milk for the first three weeks of its life. At this stage unless there are heat lamps to keep it warm it must rely on its mother for warmth.
The newborn puppy can only control his body temperature using the warmth from his mother and litter-mates. He is virtually blind and deaf, and has little capacity for smell and taste. However, he is aware of the smell of his mother. He cannot urinate or defecate without stimulation, which is usually done by the mother who will keep everything clean by either eating, licking or swallowing the waste herself.
Now the puppy has learnt to crawl forward in a circular pattern and while searching for his mother it makes funny noises, thankfully she understands what these unique sounds mean and quickly responds by letting him know she is close by.
During this time, the puppy is still quite dependent on his birth mother, for protection and nourishment. A puppies only concerns at this point are the care, food, and warmth that he receives from his mother. He does not move very far away from her, but instead stays close along with his brothers and sisters.
Now, because of the continuous nourishment he is receiving a tremendous amount of physical change takes place. At around thirteen days, his eyes will usually begin to open and his pupils are capable of reacting to the brightness of light. This can vary and be dependent on the type of breed.
As far as sight is concerned the puppy will not be able to see objects or detect motion until he is about twenty-one days old. Life is becoming more meaningful as the puppy attempt to explore and he has begun crawling.
Life is now moving fast as his abilities begin to improve. The next step is to progress to a wobbly walk combined with plenty of frustration. He will fall often, as he learns to walk and then at around eighteen days, his hearing begins to kick in and he starts reacting to noises.
Now the puppy is really motoring and at around twenty days, his first teeth will appear. Unfortunately his mother is in for some serious pain as those sharp teeth nip her teats. Its time for weaning and introducing solid food as the mother's milk supply begins to dry up.
Around this stage the puppies will have control of their tails and like a raised flag will begin to wag. This is surely a dog to be proud of.