Making the Most of Puppy Developmental Stages



We do the very best we can by carefully selecting breeding partners so that we get the best genetic mix possible in the puppies. But once a dog is bred, their genes are fixed. That can’t be changed. But genes can express themselves in a very wide variety of ways. The same gene or set of genes that can cause desired behaviors (such as playing catch or fetching) can also cause undesired behaviors (such as chasing cats or small children). Studies have also shown that the prenatal care a dam gets can affect the health and personalities of her pups. This is true for both prenatal health support and prenatal emotional support.

Developmental stages

Puppies have specific developmental stages, and these stages correspond to behavioral markers. A good breeder also needs to understand puppy development, be able to identify these stages, and be able to understand how to properly address these stages. What is highly beneficial in one stage, can be severely detrimental in another, and properly identifying and handling behavioral stages is absolutely critical to producing strong, emotionally sound puppies.

Neonatal stage (0 to 2 weeks)

Some animals, like horses, are born precoccial. This means that almost immediately after being born they can walk, hear, and see. Others, like dogs, are altricial. This means they are born helpless and can’t see, hear, or walk. Puppies don’t gain these faculties until 2-3 weeks after being born. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on in the brains of the little fluffy buttercups. In fact, there’s a lot going on. Instead of just leaving the puppies to develop without support during this period, we use Dr Carmen Battaglia’s neurological stimulation program to help boost and stimulate their nervous systems.