Pups turned 5-weeks old today! This represents entry into the next stage of the socialization period (behaviorly speaking).

They just left the first stage of the socialization period which occurs between 4-5 weeks of age. During this period they began to use their legs quite well, but would tire easily. You would see them paw at things, hear them growl, attempt to chase, and just begin to play pre-killing games — head-shaking, play-fighting, scruff-grabbing of toys and their littermates.

The second stage (between 5-7 weeks) is an extremely important time. They are totally dependent on their humans to provide stimulating environment. In addition to this, they need attention from people. The kind of experiences a puppy receives during this period will have a strong influence on how they react emotionally to humans as adult dogs.

At the beginning of this period the puppy has little sense of fear and will approach anything. By the end of these two weeks he will begin to be more cautious and learn to discriminate sights, sounds, and smells.

During this time it is important that each pup be picked up and have human interaction separate from his littermates. This will help him feel important as an individual and gain self-confidence and learn it is fun to pay attention to people. I have begun to take each pup away from his pack for 5 minutes or so at a time, bending down at the puppy’s level and allowing him/her to interact with my face. This eye contact and facial expression allow for a more intimate human interaction with the pup. When you come visit, they could use your help to get this private time with humans. You should begin to call the pup to you from three to five feet away (on your knees and patting the ground or floor). Walk closely in front of him and coax him to follow by patting your leg. Sit down at his level and gently play. Stroke him and softly tell him what a brilliant and beautiful pup he is. Try to get him to look at you.

Their space is filled with toys they can pick up and carry, tug with each other, climb on, crawl through. They have the world’s tiniest “tippy-board” and dogwalk to climb on and learn to cope with unsteady objects under foot. It is fascinating how they run, walk, sit, sleep, play on the tippy board totally unfazed to the fact it is rocking underneath them.