Just as with humans, the environment in which a puppy is raised, influences her behaviour in adult life. The early socialisation period, is very short lasting for only few months. During this time, puppies learn how to behave with other dogs and humans.
Four to eight weeks is a tender age for pups and special care should be taken to make them confident. Following tips should be kept in mind to make your four-week-old puppy a well-behaved adult dog:
- Start early?:?Lessons should start as soon as puppies are old enough to try to wander away from the mother dog.
- Pack hierarchy?:?Puppies should eat and play with other puppies, so that they understand the pack hierarchy and body language. By ensuring that a puppy experiences this early socialisation.
- Family mealtime?:?Feed puppies together rather than separately. This will ensure that they are not possessive over their food as adults.
- Socialisation?:?At four weeks of age, the senses are developed. Puppies should receive mental stimulation and learn how to behave with other dogs through regular play activity.
- Grooming?:?A long-haired puppy needs daily grooming. This helps to keep the puppy’s coat clean and satisfies her needs for mothering.
- Daily handling?:?Pick up the puppy several times a day to make her get used to handling by humans.
- Nutrition?:?Provide frequent, nutritious meals for growth and maintenance of her body.
Leaving home?:?A puppy grows rapidly. By the time, she is eight-week-old, she gets used to being handled and stands quite alert when held. Her coat changes to her adult colour pattern. Regular grooming will keep her coat healthy and shining. This is the time when a puppy is ready to leave her mother and move to her new home. She is now confident to be able to cope with her exciting new world.
(S Sanjay Kumar is Product Manager at PETCARE, Bangalore.)