Is raising puppies in some ways similar to raising kids? Well, the big difference is that puppies grow and mature very quickly as compared to humans. Plus not all sizes and breeds of dog develop at the same rate too. For example, smaller breed dogs are known to mature faster than large breed dogs which has a longer span of puppyhood. Nonetheless, this article should be able to give you a rough gauge of the crucial milestones in the first 12 weeks of a puppy’s development.
All the puppy does during this stage is eat and sleep. Its eyes and ears are firmly shut and it has no teeth. However, this is the time where the puppy does most of its growing – while it sleeps.
At around two weeks old, the eyes of the puppy will open. By the third week, its ear can hear and its baby teeth will begin to emerge from the gums too.
When it turns 3 weeks old, it will be like a toddler trying to move around, play and interact with the other puppies. This is the period where skills will be picked up from both the mother and littermates. The puppy will tend to take on the behavior of its mummy in terms of responding to people and situations.
Ideally, it is between the sixth and eighth week that the puppy should receive its first vaccination and de-worm treatment.
At eight weeks old, the puppy will be very curious and wants to explore everything around him. This is the best time to start on some basic manners and training as they are quick to learn. If they are already separated from their mummy, they may cry whenever they feel insecure, alone and afraid, hungry, want to poo or request to be cleaned up. Hence, it is important to be patient and gentle with them as they are still very small and fragile. Don’t push the puppy to do something that he is clearly terrified of because that will lead to more problems in future. Just encourage them with a positive tone of voice until they realize that they are in safe hands or place.
Dogs can tell the difference between a voice of love and a voice of discipline. After proper training, it should usually suffice to stop a dog from mischief by a simple and firm command of ‘NO’. A pet owner should never use his or her hands to directly discipline his dog. We use our hands to pat our dogs, massage or hug them as an expression of love and affection. If you use the same pair of hands to hit them, then you will discover that the next time when your hands are swung toward your pet, there will be a mixed reaction – it will not know when to shun your hands or when to run toward you for love.
At 10 to 12 weeks of age, the second vaccination jab should be administered, followed by the third one in four weeks’ time. Subsequently, an annual vaccination is recommended based on the date of the third jab.
It is also vital to note that before the puppy completes its 3 basic vaccination jabs, he is vulnerable to infection and disease. Don’t allow the puppy to interact with other unvaccinated dogs or areas infested with ticks or fleas.