The pack instinct and emotional security

The natural instinct of the canine is to try to assume dominance within the pack. As was stated earlier, he begins this during the fifth critical period and the dog will periodically “test” the owner’s ability to dominate.

The fact that a dog will periodically test the owner’s dominance does not mean that the dog does not love or respect that owner. However, if the owner is permissive and weak – thus allowing the dog to achieve dominance – his love and respect for the owner will quickly wane.

The dog owner then becomes inferior in the dog’s eyes and the owner is destined to be owned by the dog. The scales of love and discipline must be equally balanced. That is the magic formula for success in the rearing of any puppy.
Although your new puppy may be destined to become the family dog, one member of the family should be designated the puppy’s foster mother during the remaining critical periods in its life.
This is not to suggest that other members of the family should be restricted in their association with the puppy. On the contrary, all should share in the joy of caring for – and playing with – the new arrival.
But the bond between the puppy and its litter mother has been severed by removal from the litter. For optimum emotional development, the puppy should have the security of knowing which member of the human family has taken the litter mother’s place.
It is strongly urged that a child member of the family not be given the responsibility if optimum emotional growth is to be achieved. Many children are presented with puppies to “help the child to develop responsibility” But in all too many cases, it does just the opposite, often children will find excuses why they cannot take the time to feed, water, train and care for their new charges.
The RSPCA etc are filled to overflowing with dogs and puppies awaiting execution because child-owners failed to develop the hoped-for responsibility. A puppy knows very well when it is unwanted.

Being unwanted brings insecurities to a puppy, just as it does to a human. Insecurities breed emotional problems. Emotional problems during the puppy’s critical periods will remain as personality faults throughout the dog’s life. The personality faults can cause fear biters, piddlers, runaways and perhaps complete emotional withdrawal from human society.

To increase the puppy’s security, he should have his own bed in a place where he can be alone when he wants. You must expect the first four nights to lend themselves to some inconvenience – for you and the rest of the family.
Your new puppy will be lonely at night, having been accustomed to the presence of his litter mates. Although the puppy may have been playful during the first day in his new household, nightfall – when you and the rest of the family have gone to bed – will give the puppy time to remember (and miss) his litter brothers and sisters. By the fourth night, however, the pup will have adjusted to his new environment and to your family’s routine. It takes just four days for the average dog to learn to adjust to a new environment.