the five crytical stages of puppy development..

There is so much to know about taking care of a puppy, there is also much to understand about training a puppy.
How do you begin? You begin by first learning about what makes a puppy a puppy – what he needs, what he responds to and what he can do.

  This then is your introductory course – in basic puppy.


Scientific studies have shown that, there are five critical periods in a puppy’s life, that is five phases of mental development during which adverse conditions can cripple a dog emotionally without hope for recovery.
Conversely, positive conditions during these five phases of emotional growth can produce dogs of the highest calibre – mentally and socially. So important are these findings, that guide dog foundations instituted these ‘positive conditions’ for puppies being raised to become leaders of the blind.

Dogs trained to lead the blind receive the most rigorous and exacting training of any dogs and therefore must be perfectly adjusted.

Dr Paul J Scott, Director of Animal Behaviour at Roscoe B Jackson Memorial Laboratory at Bar Harbour , Maine, directed a project to determine just when these critical periods took place.

The consequences of a person’s failure to acknowledge and respond to these critical periods were demonstrated in one particular test. A puppy 21 days old, was removed from the litter and completely isolated.

Although the puppy was fed and watered, the caretaker was careful not to play with or speak to it. The only toys experimental puppy had were his water bucket and dish.

By 16 weeks of age the puppy had no contact with other dogs ( except during the first 21 days of its life) and no human contact except the caretaker.

At four months of age the experimental puppy was once again placed with his litter mates. He did not recognise them, either as litter mates or as dogs!

His isolation during the critical periods of his life – his complete removal from the companionship of dogs and humans – had marked his character to the extent that he could not adjust to animal or human society.