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Neonatal (Birth to 12 days)
Transition (13 to 20 days)
Awareness (21 to 28 days)
Canine Socialization (21 to 49 days)
Human Socialization (7 to 12 weeks)
Fear Impact (8 to 11 weeks)
Seniority Classification (13 to 16 weeks)
Early Critical periods
Flight Instinct (4 to 8 months)
Second Fear Impact (6 to 14 months)
Maturity (1 to 4 years)
Later Critical periods
Birth to 12 days Devoted to 2 functions: Obtaining nutrition by nursing, and staying warm
13 to 20 days; marked by a number of rapid physical changes in the puppyPuppy's eyes will open; retina is still undeveloped and is unable to see objects or movement until around 21 days of age.Will crawl backward as well as forward, after a few days will wobbly walk. First teeth erupt at around 20 days.
21 to 28 days Puppy is able to use his senses of sight and hearing; very abrupt changes to his sensory perceptions (so he needs a stable environment).Learning begins during this period.
21 to 49 days When the puppy learns to use the species-specific behaviors that make him a dog.Practice body postures, facial expressions and vocalizations, and learn their effects.Learns how it sounds to bark and be barked at, how it feels to bite and be bitten.Learns chase games (teaches him coordination and timing), greeting behavior (teaches him the body postures of greeting), fight games (teaches him the use of his body, body postures and expressions to elicit various responses)Learns to accept disciplineBegins relieving himself away from the sleeping areaSocialization with people and with other species is ideally done during this period.
Canine Socialization Period
7-12 weeks The puppy has the brain waves of an adult dog. This is the best time for going to a new home, and is the best time to introduce him to those things that will play a role in his future life.Learning at this age is permanent.Ideal time to begin obedience training
Human Socialization Period
8-11 weeks Try to avoid frightening the puppy during this time, since traumatic experiences can have a lasting effect during this critical period.
Fear Impact Period
13-16 weeks Also knows as "Age of Cutting" - Cutting teeth and cutting the apron stringsTesting to see who is going to be the pack leader; dog will attempt to clarify and resolve the question of leadershipIf training has not been undertaken prior to this period, it must be started at this age to avoid serious problems later.
Seniority Classification Period
4 to 8 months Puppy will test his wings. He will venture off on his own and may turn a deaf ear when called.How the dog is handled during this stage will mean the difference between a dog who doesn't come when called and one who responds readily.Also, teething happens during this period, milk teeth replaced with adult teeth (although the adult teeth won't set in the jaw until between 6 and 10 months).
Flight Instinct Period
6-14 months Also called the Fear of New Situations Period. Not as well defined as the first. Corresponds with growth spurts. Marked by a change in behavior of the dog; may suddenly be reluctant to approach something new, or be frightened of something or someone familiar.
Second Fear Impact Period
1-4 years Maturity refers to sexual maturity rather than full growth.This critical period is often marked by an increase in aggression and by a renewed testing for leadership (which should be handled firmly)