Just like a growing child of any other species, canines have several different stages of development that they pass through on their way to becoming fully mature adults.
Points of these periods are critical to the development of your dog’s personality; events that take place during this time will decide what behaviors, good or bad, your pet will most likely exhibit.
Learning about these stages will help you to instill proper behavioral patterns in your pet and avoid imprinting any fears that might cause unwanted behavior in the future.
Right around eight weeks of age, the fear imprint period lines up with the natural separation from the mother. During this stage, your puppy learns most of what it will take into adulthood.
Your puppy will learn more during this time frame than it will throughout the rest of its life, but this will be the point when you want to start training your puppy.
Avoid exerting too much pressure and try to keep things motivational and fun. Your puppy will respond better to this, and you will avoid potentially traumatizing it.
The Second Fear Period is the time when a puppy can most readily develop fears of things through traumatic experiences.
For example, in this fear stage, if your puppy has an unfortunate run-in with a vacuum cleaner, they could carry the fear of a vacuum cleaner for the rest of their lives.
The second fear stage occurs right around four to six months, which is when your dog is reaching adolescence.
A puppy at this age is just starting to spread its wings and is likely going to want to test you and their boundaries.
When your puppy challenges you and commands, you will find yourself needing to discipline your pup.
Do not overreact or yell at your pup during this stage and never, ever swing or hit your dog.
Dogs can develop fears of people or entire human sexes (males or females) if they suffer verbal or physical abuse at this time.
To avoid this, stay calm yet firm at all times around your puppy. Dogs and pups are good at reading your body language, sense your moods, and will act accordingly.
You may be worried about traumatizing your pup, a calm, but a cool demeanor will go a long way getting you, and your puppy thought it unscathed.
Dogs survived in this world long before humans domesticated them. They are incredibly resilient and will make it through okay as long as you work them through the normal puppy fear stages.