Dogs are altricial species (the young are born before they are
fully developped). They need care from our side to survive. Offspring is
helpless and dependant on its parents. Precoccial species, in contrast, such
as horses geeses ect. are ready to eat, stand and walk on their own within
Crutial parts of puppies bodies are not even functional when they are
born. Eyes and ears are unformed that light and sound could cause serious
damage to them. This is why they are closed.
It will take months before they have the abilities that horse or geese
have from the beginning. That has a huge social significance as they start
walking from the birth, it is easy for
them to meet something dangerouse so they have to imprint on their mother
very quickly. They have to learn to fear
anything that is not her and distrust everything
they do not know. It is next to impossible to change that imprinting.
Altricial species however are under the care of their mother for the first
months so they do not develop fear untill later.
Fear would be a useless response as they can not fight or run away.
Therefore they have longer and more flexible
period in which they form social attachement and they become somewhat
flexible thru their lifes. However
even at altricial species there is so called critical socialization period
when animal reaches his full ability to run
away from the danger. After that period they mistrust everything that
is new to them and this is very normal.
Taking the above under consideration it is important to start working with
them from the very
Filis puppies are wonderful to work with. They vocalise a lot when they call
mother. It is a squeaky sound
called an et-epidemilic sound that causes others to care for them. Mother
can recognize that sound. But what is interesting
– puppy can use the sound from the first minute he is born. Mother however
is able to recognize that sound only after
majority puppies are born…
Fili is a good mommy – she stais with them all the time, licks their bellies
(they can not defecate by themselves yet so she
has to help them out by licking). She keeps her den clean. What they need
now is safety – warmth, food, quite a lot of rest and sleep.
Puppies have something that I call navigation system – rooting reflex that
helps them find their mother. It is heat seeking navigation system.
Puppies have special heat sensors along their noastrils and when they want
to find their mother they move their head
in circles untill they find a heat source. When they find it they pull along
in that direction.
It is funny – but sometimes they find me instead.
We feed Fili in the puppy pan so she does not have to come out too often.
Did you know that bitches milk produces colostrum? Probably yes. It is
colostrum that will make the puppies resistant
from the diseases in the first weeks. So whatever Fili is resistant for,
puppies will also be resistant.
Puppies however are able to benefit from colostrum only for the first 18
hours of life. Their intestines are “opened” and colostrum molecules are
able to go thru the intestines unbroken.
This way they go into the organism
and they are able to boost the immune system. After that period it
is impossible anymore. So it is very important
that small puppies receive the milk of a bitch within first 12-18 hours.
It looks really funny to watch them sleep because they twitch a lot. Parts
the bodies pop like a poopcorn.
It is normal and very good for development. This way they already exercise
their muscles. It is called activated sleep
in which the brain gets electrical stumulation and causes the bodey to
It is very important that now they start getting stress in appropriate doses
so they grow to be stable and well adjusted
adults. But the key word here is APPROPRITE. So when they struggle to get
the boobie and they scream, we do not
pick them up, we do not help them. It is important that they do the job by
themselves. And sometimes I want to pick the
puppy up – it is my natural motherly instinct of course…but each time I
have to remember – they already learn now
it looks innocent but they learn good things …. Stressing neonates
very slightly produces very beneficial effects for them for the rest of
What we do in that time – from day 3-16 is the Early Neurological
stmulation. Carmen Battalgia sais “during neonatal period if you stimulate
neurological system of a
puppy, you can change this puppy for the rest of his life”
There are 5 exercises that you can do in that period but you should remember
that each of them should not last more
than 5 seconds. Othervise you will overstimulate the puppy.
The exercises are:
1. Tactile stimulation (you tickle puppies feet
and it wakes up the neurological system)
2. Putting puppy with its head up (now we are letting blood drain from his
brain and thenneurological system would recognize it and tell the heart
to pup the blood up to the brain maintaining equalibrio)
3. Putting puppy with its head down (too much blood is running into the
brain, now we make the neurological system work in a different way because
we present different
4. Putting puppy on its back (most of them will resist being held on their
backs and the neurological system again is being challenged)
5. Putting puppy on a cold towel (puppy will clearly tell you he does not
like it, but you are making the neurological system respond
to a temperature change on a puppies bodies)
Such exercises have the following benefits:
Improved cardio vascular performance (heart rate)
Stronger heart beats
Stronger adrenal glands
More tolerance to stress
Greater resistance to disease
We always have to remember: MORE IS NOT BETTER!!!
It is us – puppies! We would like to tell you what was happening during this
This week Edyta was continuing Early Neurological Stimulation.
We liked it, we did not object it too much. But Edyta is smart and she
always does it after feeding so she knows
we will be relaxed;) She continued that exercise with us till 16 day and she
stopped. Now she will have different exercise
but …. about this we will tell you next week.
Some of us have opened the eyes, but we still do not see. Gradually the
membrane that is on our eyes will fade
and we will see more and more every day…
Edyta lets us sniff to different smells. Some of them we like, some of them
we do not like.
She sais we are very relaxed, but so is our mommy. She sleeps outside the
den now but comes very often to feed us and
to lick us.
The third week of puppies life is called transitional period. It is
appropriate name because in a short week of life, puppy
transforms from a helpless creature to a real puppy who can see, hear
toddle and play. We assign a time frame up to how old the puppy is but these
are really the averages that vary a lot. Scientist have tried to use
behavioural markers to indicate the beginning and end of
these developmental periods. This it is going to vary from a puppy to a
puppy. Not all the puppies develop in the same time.
You should observe the puppy to understand in which developmental stage it
In Filis litter all puppies have opened their eyes while one of them waited
for 4 more days.
Transition period begins when eyes open and ends when they start hearing the
When puppies hear and see they can start developing social bonds and enter
into the next development period which is a socialisation. Puppies start to
each other and play.
They also start to defecate by themselves around 16-17 days. It is
approximately the time when they start walking.
Then they walk away as they have a strong instinct to keep the puppy pan
Slowly the teeth start coming out so
the bitch does not want to stay with them all the time anymore. She gets
irritated of puppies chewing on her.
Thankfully puppies start being interested with their moms food then. They do
not understand how to eat yet.
They do not know that it is front of their bodies that eats so they get into
the bowl with their full bodies.
They are really excited about their food but they do not know exactly what
do with it yet.
As neonates puppies have only one type of sound which was meant to
solicitate care. As they enter
transitional period they start to deliver variety of messages
with vocalisations, barking then develops. Also non verbal communication as
wagging can also begin at this time.
By the end of that period puppies evolved from fragile extentions of their
mother to individuals with an emerging sence of self and capabilities
start the socialization process.
Puppies get on their own feet now and they show big interest in the outside
They start chasing and pouncing more. The interaction with their toys
evolves and they go from mounting to carrying and shaking them. Scientific
studies have shown that physical exercise is a key component of the
Exercise is one of those things that causes the brain to grow larger and
form more neuro connections.
Building a strong body does indeed mean building a strong mind. We take
them out to play in the living room and streatch their legs whenever we
They need to be in a larger area than just a puppy pan. It
reduces tention in the litter. 4 week old puppies have no real fear –
they will approach and interact with anything you give them. So now it is
the time to introduce them to novel and challenging
thngs on a daily basis. The reason we do this is that adult dogs
instinctively view new things with suspiction and possibly even agression.
However we can change this outcome for the puppies by intervening now so
they learn to embrace new and challenging situations as good things.
Changing objects in a daily routine is important. Introducing other common
members of the houshold as well.
A big pan full of toys is not enough for the puppies to benefit fully from
the enrichment effect. Scientific studies have shown that the most critical elements of enriched environment are learning and problem solving. Animals who are given learning and problem solving activities, in addition to toys and social interaction, grow up to be more stabble, less easily stressed, less easily
frightened with better learning and memory that animals that are given the
same toys and social interction, but no learning and problem solving actvities. So it
is important to start presenting puppies with challenges. They have to
climb out to get to something, solve the problem of how to get to the food by
themselves. The rule is – NO HELPING THE PUPPIES! THEY HAVE TO SOLVE IT BY THEMSELVES.
There is always a puppy who does not want to do the work – he screams, we can not help him out
he has to solve the problem. However we can encourage the puppy. If we help the puppy now –
screaming, barking and whining gets results!!
If the puppy overcomes his fears and does this task, he will be greatly empowered, more confident and calmer in the future.
Puppies do not have a lot of useful vision at this stage so we have to set up challenges appropriately.
Visual and spacial challenges have to be set up very close to the puppy so he can find them. Barrier challenges are excellent. Low level problem solving activities for puppies at this age:
– place the puppy behind the plate and let him figure the rest out.
When they master the barrier challenge, you should increase it. That arises arousal level of the puppy. This is a great way to present mildly frustrating scenarios to the puppy and
give him the tools to cope with those situations by using his problem solving skills. There is a theory that frustration triggers most agressive behaviours. Neurological studies have shown that agression and
frustration arises from the same centers of the brain. However teaching puppies to cope with frustration now will reduce the chances that they will become agressive in the future.
Up till now we have been able to restore fear recovery response without worrying about true fear. As the puppy aproaches 5 weeks however the game changes. Puppies develop true fear response and they can go thru
mild fear imprinting period, so more caution is wanted.
Fear period is a particular sensitivity period in which one single frightening experience can affect puppy for the rest of his life. We have to make sure our puppies get all the enriching experiences
and as much exposure as possible, but always make sure our puppies do not have really bad
So when the puppies begin 5 weeks they might start being afraid of something
they have never been afraid of.
Sometimes you can not be sure it really started because it can go very quickly. What you have to realize is: even if you have worked with the puppy a lot and conditioned it so well that they bounce really quickly, the underlying process is still there – the puppy is in the sensitive period around this time.
So the thing is – you should proceede socialization with more caution that you were before.
Puppies should be still plaing with other members of the household, but now as the puppies are more sensitive to fear, in order to feel safe they need to feel they are in control of the situation. We should allow low places where puppies can escape from overenthusiastic adults. When puppy realizes he can hide and come out whenever he wants, his confidence will build quickly.
It is important to continue showing startling things on the daily basis to continue teaching the puppies to recover from fear.
However at this stage you do not want to induce a high fear, a tiny startle is perfect. If the puppy is not
recovering almost immediately, you need to take it back and present less
scary things. Keep presenting scary things to him, but just not quite that scary. You want to see almost
Also we have to give a fearful puppy training that will help him cope with
his fears. To do that we can use social interactions – playing, petting, praising to reinforce dog tovercoming a scary object.
Pictures week 4 and 5
At 6 weeks old the part of a puppy brain that does the reasoning is still
relatively unformed. Even tough the thought process is immature the underlying stricture of its brain has almost adult compacity to take the new information and form the emotional reactions to it. So in terms of being able to soke up new experiences 6 weeks old puppies enter their peak socialization period –
they have the highest approah and lowest fear now. They still have very low
fear and high curiosity this is why the stage is reffered to as curiosity
Now it is the time to introduce puppies to as many people as possible.
Quality vs quantity is better – good experiences are the most important as if something happens to them they may be scared for the rest of the life. (e.g.if somebody steps on a puppy). We show them agility – but in fact we do not train them agility – what we teach them to is to be good companions. We let them walk on unstable or wabbly surfaces accept things that cover their heads ect. Equipment has to be a little scary
so the puppies learn that mastering new skill in a challenging situation is very rewarding. We expose puppies to different people – strange people frighten them as adults (glasses, hats, strange dress code –
police officer, priest ect..)
. The purpose of the training is confidence building.
Puppy has to decide to use the equipment in order to feel confident. We should never force a puppy to do anything. We should not put him on the equipment – he has to choose by himself. If we force him that will only cause fear and panic instead of confidence and control. Sessions should be short. 6 minutes of a training is enough for a young puppy.