Developmental Stages of Puppy Behavior
Although feeding time is important, it’s also vital to include petting, talking and playing, in order to help your puppy build good “people-skills.” Well-socialized mothers are more likely to have well-socialized puppies. Puppies “feed” off of their mothers’ calm or fearful attitude toward people. Puppies are usually weaned at five or six weeks, but are still learning important skills as their mother gradually leaves them more and more. Ideally, puppies should stay with their littermates (or other role-model dogs) for 8 weeks. Puppies separated from their littermates too early often don’t develop appropriate “social skills,” such as learning how to send and receive signals, what an “inhibited bite” means, how far to go in play wrestling and so forth. Play is important to help puppies increase their physical coordination, social skills and learning limits. Interacting with their mother and littermates helps them learn “how to be a dog” and is also a way to explore ranking (“who’s in charge”). Skills not acquired during the first eight weeks may be lost forever.
While these stages are important and fairly consistent, a dog’s mind remains receptive to
new experiences and lessons well beyond puppy-hood. Most dogs are still puppies, in mind and body, through the first two years.
The following chart provides general guidelines for the stages of development.
0 - 2 weeks = Neonatal
Most influenced by their mother.
Touch and taste present at birth.
2 - 4 weeks = Transitional
Most influenced by their mother and littermates.
Eyes open, teeth erupt, hearing and smell developing.
Beginning to stand, walk a little, wag, bark.
By four or five weeks, sight is well developed.
3 - 12 weeks = Socialization
During this period, puppies need opportunities to meet other dogs and people.
By four to six weeks they’re most influenced by their littermates and are learning
about being a dog.
From four to 12 weeks they’re most influenced by their littermates and people.
They’re also learning to play, including social skills, inhibited bite, social
structure/ranking and physical coordination.
By three to five weeks they’re becoming aware of their surroundings, companions
(dogs and people) and relationships, including play.
By five to seven weeks they’re developing curiosity and exploring new experiences.
They need positive “people” experiences during this time.
By seven to nine weeks they’re refining they’re physical skills/coordination (including
housetraining) and full use of senses.
By eight to ten weeks they experience real fear -- when puppies can be alarmed by
normal objects and experiences and need positive training.
By nine to 12 weeks they’re refining reactions, social skills (appropriate interactions)
with littermates and are exploring the environment, spaces and objects. The puppies
are beginning to focus on people. This is a good time to begin training.
3 - 6 months = Ranking
Most influenced by “littermates” (playmates now include those of other species).
Beginning to see and use ranking (dominant and submissive) within the pack,
Teething (and associated chewing).
At four months they experience another fear stage.
6 - 18 months = Adolescence
Most influenced by human and dog “pack” members.
At seven to nine months they go through a second chewing phase -- part of
Heightened exploration of dominance, including challenging humans.
If not spayed or
We raise all of our puppies on Royal Canin Small Puppy. By the time the puppy leaves, they are eating at 6am and 3pm. Royal Canin is the only kibble you should feed until seven months old. It is available at PetSmart and PetCo etc Or you can order on line Chewy.com or Pet Smart. We have found this puppy food to be highly digestible and easily tolerated. Your puppy when he/she comes home will need to be fed approximately one third cup of puppy food two times a day. You may add a few chopped bits of cooked skinless chicken if puppy is fussy and not eating or a little canned puppy food. Adding a little warm water to soften also helps with digestion. DO NOT STRESS if puppy doesn't finish his meal. Lift food up, save and add to next meal. A puppy WILL NOT starve itself, but the new environment and other stresses may cause the puppy to go off their food for up to two weeks. You can also sit on the floor and hand feed your puppy, it becomes a great time for bonding and trust. Increase food by 1-2 tbl at any age, if puppy is too thin. When your puppy goes home he/she will be eating slightly moistened kibble. Watch that your puppy doesn't get too fat. Absolutely for no reason should you even consider changing this puppies brand of food for at least a period of seven months. Limit table scraps, excess treats to avoid the puppy turning away from his/her meal which provides all the nutrients the puppy needs for proper growth.
Don’t wait to see Vet for severe vomiting or bloody diarrhea, but a bit of loose/soft stools one day or two should be ok due to stress and we recommend using canned plain pumpkin (2 tsps) added to their food if it isn’t firming. When adding extra fiber to their food, it helps to absorb the excess water in the larger intestine causing a more firmer stool. Beyond a week, see the vet for loose stool.
Make sure the puppy is getting plenty of water and some exercise everyday. I pull up water about 6pm unless it is very hot outside and you are in the summer weather with extended daylight and the puppy may be out at night and need a drink of water. Dachshunds drink water like an elephant which in turn causes them to have to pee more frequently. Dachshunds have very small bladders.
Watch for small objects going in their mouth. Dachshunds love to explore and eat things. Watch for mulch, rocks, mushrooms, paper clips, small toys, stuffing from a toy, etc… Also, touch the inside of their mouth and teeth often so if you have to get in there to pull something out, they are used to it.
Also, keep their nails trimmed very short, do not go more than three weeks without trimming nails. If long hair, also trim the hairs around the paws, the paw should be neat like a rabbits foot, not shaggy. The puppy will settle down when having nails trimmed, and don’t be afraid to do it yourself, but just cut the tips and if you do it every two weeks, they will never need a deeper cut. Always bathe the puppy with mild shampoo after any exposure to salt water or heavy sand as mites and salt water can cause skin irritations, but generally you do not need to give baths too often. Long hairs need daily brushing of coat, tails and ears. Keep ears clean by purchasing some ear wipe pads and clean once a month. Teeth brushing starts once all adult teeth are in (by 9 months) Keep a sweater on when outside in very cold temperatures as dachshunds do not like extreme cold.
House Training Your Puppy
Housetraining a puppy requires time, vigilance, patience and commitment. By following the procedures outlined below, you can minimize house soiling incidents, but virtually every puppy will have an accident in the house (more likely several). This is part of raising a puppy and should be expected. The more consistent you are in following the basic housetraining procedures, the faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior. It may take several weeks to housetrain your puppy and with some of the smaller breeds it might take longer. A puppy can usually be considered reliably housetrained when it has not had any accidents for two to three months.
Establish a Routine
Your new puppy will do best if he is taken outside on a consistent and frequent schedule. He should have the opportunity to eliminate after waking up from a nap, after playing and after eating. Choose a location not too far from the door to be the bathroom spot. Always take your puppy, on a leash, directly to the bathroom spot. Taking him for a walk or playing with him directly after he has eliminated will help him to associate good things with elimination. If you clean up an accident in the house, take the soiled rags or paper towels and leave them in the bathroom spot. The smell will help your puppy recognize the area as the place he is supposed to eliminate. While your puppy is eliminating, use a word or phrase, like “go potty,” that you can eventually use before he eliminates to remind him of what he’s supposed to be doing. Praise your puppy lavishly every time he eliminates outdoors. You can even give him a treat. You must praise him or treat him immediately after he’s finished eliminating, not after he comes back inside the house. This step is vital; because rewarding your dog for eliminating outdoors is the only way he’ll know that this is an appropriate behavior. If possible, put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that he’ll eliminate at consistent times as well. This makes housetraining easier for both of you.
Supervise, Supervise, Supervise
Don’t give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house. He should be watched at all times when he is indoors. You can tether him to you with a leash or use baby gates to keep him in your view. Watch for signs that he needs to eliminate, like sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately take him outside, on a leash, to his bathroom spot. If he eliminates, praise him lavishly and reward him with a treat.
When you’re unable to watch your puppy closely, he should be confined to an area small enough that he won’t want to eliminate there. It should be just big enough for him to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around. This area could be a portion of a bathroom or laundry room, blocked off with boxes or baby gates. Or you may want to crate train your puppy and use the crate to confine him. If your puppy has spent several hours in confinement, make sure to take him directly to his bathroom spot before doing anything else. Oops! Expect your puppy to have an accident in the house – it’s a normal part of housetraining. When you catch him in the act of eliminating in the house, do something to interrupt him, like make a startling noise (be careful not to scare him). Immediately take him to his bathroom spot, praise him and give him a treat if he finishes eliminating there. Don’t punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, it’s too late to administer a correction. Do nothing but clean it up. Rubbing your puppy's nose in it, taking him to the spot and scolding him (or any other punishment or discipline) will only make him afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Animals don’t understand punishment after the fact, even if it’s only seconds later. Punishment will do more harm than good. Cleaning the soiled area is very important because puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces. It’s extremely important that you use the supervision and confinement procedures outlined above to minimize the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, he’ll get confused about where he’s supposed to eliminate, which will prolong the housetraining process.
A puppy under 6 months of age cannot be expected to control his bladder for more than a few hours at a time. If you have to be away from home for more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best time for you to get a puppy. If you’re already committed to having a puppy and have to be away from home for long periods of time, you’ll need to train your puppy to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be aware, however, that doing so can prolong the process of teaching him to eliminate outdoors. Teaching your puppy to eliminate on newspaper may create a life-long surface preference, meaning that he may, even in adulthood, eliminate on any newspaper he finds lying around the house. When your puppy must be left alone for long periods of time, confine him to an area with enough room for a sleeping space, a playing space and a separate place to eliminate. In the area designated as the elimination place, you can either use newspapers, a sod box or litter. To make a sod box, place sod in a container, like a child’s small, plastic swimming pool. You can also find dog litter products at pet supply stores. If you clean up an accident in the house, take the soiled rags or paper towels, and put them in the designated elimination place. The smell will help your puppy recognize the area as the place where he is supposed to eliminate.