The first months of a puppy’s life are a blur, since they can’t see, hear, or walk yet. They also have limited exploration time, and their world revolves around their mom, littermates, and the box they sleep in at night. But these are the most important months of a puppy’s life, so don’t rush in and make mistakes. Instead, make the best of these crucial days by providing the most loving and fun-filled environment possible.
Puppies should be exposed to a variety of stimuli from a young age. Unfamiliar stimuli cause fear and anxiety in dogs, which can be overcome by habituation, or the process of getting used to a particular stimulus. Habituation occurs when a dog stops responding to a stimulus when there is no consequence. However, it is important to avoid reinforcing any response that might be considered undesirable.
In the first seven weeks of a puppy’s life, it begins to develop social skills. If this development is not facilitated by socialization, it will be difficult for the puppy to form close bonds with humans. It is important to socialize your puppy with children and other animals, and to be aware of their needs and desires. In fact, research shows that puppies that are isolated from human contact at this early age will develop an intense bond with one person. These dogs may also have a hard time blending in with a household of adults and children.
The first step in a dog’s physical examination is a general assessment of posture, breathing, and general appearance. The first part of the exam should focus on general appearance, and the dog’s heart rate and temperature should be normal. Next, the veterinarian will check the dog’s skin and hair coat to detect any abnormalities. A general physical exam can detect a wide range of problems and early detection of these problems is crucial for the health of your dog.
The physical exam can reveal many illnesses and degenerative conditions. The American Veterinary Medical Association lists dental disease as one of the most common diseases in pets. By the time your puppy reaches age two, 80 percent of dogs and cats have some sign of dental disease. A physical examination can identify plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and infection in your pup’s mouth. You should also look for fractured teeth, as these can indicate the need for more extensive workup and treatment.
Puppies undergo several developmental stages during the first seven months of their lives, including growth spurts, the onset of sexual maturity, and fear related behaviors. Fear-related behaviors are more likely to be permanent than normal. For this reason, early socialization is crucial to prevent negative behavioral patterns. For example, taking a puppy to the dog park may trigger a fear response if it encounters an aggressive dog. Similarly, children on a playground may also evoke fear.
The first socialization phase begins at three to five weeks. By three to five weeks of age, puppies begin to notice their surroundings and the people around them. By six to nine weeks of age, puppies develop a social structure and are starting to engage with people, animals, and other pets. By this age, puppies are also developing sexual behavior and learning to recognize a pack hierarchy. During this stage, puppies are most influenced by their littermates.
Parenting a puppy
If you want to bring a puppy home, you will need to dedicate the first few months to caring for your new furry friend. You will need to devote your time to feeding, walking, and relieving your puppy, so be sure to plan your days and hours beforehand. It will also help to mentally prepare for the new responsibilities and find a trustworthy caretaker. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Introduce your puppy to its new home by leash. Make sure to start with one area, like the backyard, and let your puppy explore that space. You can start by walking them to that space, and reward them when they reach their destination. Make sure to do this step at a slow and gradual pace, since your puppy still needs time to get used to its new surroundings. Once you’ve established your puppy’s new home, you can gradually introduce your other animals and children.