The 7 Stages of Puppy DevelopmentWritten by Charlie Lafave
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Stage 5: The Juvenile Stage 3 Months to 4 Months The Juvenile stage typically lasts from 3 to 4 months of age, and it’s during this time your puppy is most like a toddler. He’ll be a little more independent - he might start ignoring commands he’s only recently learned – just like a child does when they’re trying to exert their new-found independence. As in “I don’t have to listen to you!” Firm and gentle reinforcement of commands and training is what’s required here. He might start biting you – play biting or even a real attempt to challenge your authority. A sharp “No!” or “No bite!” command, followed by several minutes of ignoring him, should take care of this problem. Continue to play with him and handle him on a daily basis, but don’t play games like tug of war or wrestling with him. He may perceive tug of war as a game of dominance – especially if he wins. And wrestling is another game that can rapidly get out of hand. As your puppy’s strength grows, he’s going to want to play-fight to see who’s stronger – even if you win, message your puppy receives is that it’s ok to fight with you. And that’s not ok!
Stage 6: The Brat Stage 4-6 Months The Brat Stage starts at about 4 months and runs until about 6 months, and it’s during this time your puppy will demonstrate even more independence and willfulness. You may see a decline in his urge to please you – expect to see more “testing limits” type of behaviors. He’ll be going through a teething cycle during this time, and will also be looking for things to chew on to relieve pain and pressure. Frozen doggie bones can help sooth him during this period. He may try to assert his new “dominance” over other family members, especially children. Continue his training in obedience and basic commands, but make sure to never let him off his leash during this time unless you’re in a confined area. Many times pups at this age will ignore commands to return or come to their owners, which can be a dangerous, even fatal, breakdown in your dog’s response to you. If you turn him loose in a public place, and he bolts, chances of injury or even death can result – so don’t take chance. He’ll now begin to go through hormonal changes brought about by his growing sexual maturity, and you may see signs of rebelliousness. (Think adolescent teen-age boy!) If you haven’t already, you should have him neutered during this time. (Or spayed if you have a female.)
Stage 7: The Young Adult Stage 6-18 Months The Young Adulthood stage lasts from 6 months to about 18 months, and is usually a great time in your dog’s life - he’s young, he’s exuberant, he’s full of beans – and yet he’s learning all things he needs to become a full-fledged adult dog. Be realistic in your expectations of your dog at this time – just because he’s approaching his full growth and may look like an adult, he’s not as seasoned and experienced as you might expect. Gradually increase scope of activities for your dog, as well as training. You can start more advanced training during this period, such as herding or agility training, if that’s something both of you are interested in. Otherwise, extend his activities to include more people and other animals – allow him to interact with non-threatening or non-aggressive dogs. Congratulations! You’ve raised your puppy through 7 stages of childhood, er, I mean puppyhood, and now you have a grown-up, adult dog! Almost feels like you’ve raised a kid, doesn’t it? http://tinyurl.com/6u2cj
Author, "Dog Training Secrets!" To transform your stubborn, misbehaving dog into a loyal, well-behaving "best friend" who obeys your every command and is the envy of the neighborhood, visit: http://tinyurl.com/6u2cj
Should You Correct A Puppy With A Pinch Collar?Written by Adam G. Katz
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“But aren’t they too young for a pinch collar?” you’re probably thinking. The answer is: No. They ARE too young for formal obedience training. (I.E., Sit, Down, Come, Heel, Stay). [This should start when you see adult teeth come in… at aproximately 4 to 5 months of age.] But a puppy SHOULD be corrected for biting… if you’ve found that diverting his attention to a chew toy or another activity is not working. Why? Because mother dog would not allow puppy to bite her. If pup bites her too hard, she will turn and bite puppies neck. From puppies perspective, THIS HURTS. But it does not cause damage. And that’s why puppy chooses not to bite mama dog any more. Because it doesn’t feel good. This is same reason that it’s okay to correct a puppy for excessively hard biting with pinch collar. The pinch collar replicates mama dog. Trust me on this: I’ve seen 11 week-old Rottweiler puppies and 10 week-old Jack Russell Terrier puppies who had biten through (literally) their owners fingers with their needle-like teeth. The owners are almost in tears with idea that they may have to put their puppy to sleep. They’ve tried all nonsense garbage your read in dog magazines. Stuff like shrieking in a high-pitched voice. Or putting puppy in crate. Or turning your back on dog. But none of it works on a puppy who is intent on biting down as hard as he can on your soft, human flesh. Getting back on course… When you correct puppy, just use common sense. Simply because your car can accelerate up to 140 mph. does not mean that you should or need to drive that fast. The same goes for pinch collar. If you’re an adult and you can employ reason and common sense, then you should be able to tailor intensity of your correction to appropriately match your dog’s temperament. How do you do this? You test. If you correct puppy for biting, then next you should immediately offer him your hand again. If he immediately bites you again… then you now know that your correction wasn’t meaningful.
To read more of my dog training ramblings, read about my book (click below): http://tinyurl.com/4efaq Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!
Author, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!“ which you can read more about at: http://tinyurl.com/4efaq