Socialization Week 1 (3-4 weeks of age)

So what happens between three and four weeks you might wonder? This is the beginning of the true socialization period and where the real “work” (fun) begins!

It can vary with litters and even individual puppies, but we are starting to see them interacting more; wrestling, growling and playing a bit. In fact, some of their playtimes sound pretty ferocious as they growl and chew on each other. Not to worry though, it’s all normal puppy behavior for this age. If you see a video of them sounding little Piranha’s during a feeding frenzy, don’t panic. 😉 I think it’s actually pretty entertaining to watch myself.

They are still relying heavily on mom for meals, but we did introduce them to some soft, treats.

I use these squeezable baby food pouches to get them use to the idea of taking food from a human. I did this early in the week and later, introduced the clicker right after the food. We do two to three sessions (once a day for only a minute at this age) of click-treat, click-treat, click-treat. Once we have “powered up the clicker” (their brains will actually associate that click to “food is coming!”) then we can start using it to reward behaviors. (More on that in the upcoming weeks).

Someone likes it!

We also continue with a weekly weigh-in, a second dose of de-wormer and a nail trim.

Puppies each have individual cuddle time with a human away from mom and littermates. This prepares them for that separation later on and helps prevent separation anxiety. They learn that it’s a good feeling to be loved and cuddled even though they’re not with the family.

We did our first very simple barrier challenge. Giving puppies little challenges to conquer when they are little will help them deal easier with challenges they may meet when they’re older, and also help them to problem solve.

I just used a rolled up towel across their bed; something simple for them to climb over. Some walked right over, some tried to avoid it, some needed more encouragement or a little incentive (mom on the other side), but they all did it!

We listened to classical music. I’m not sure who their favorite composer was. 😉 And some different sounds from this app I have on my phone.

We continued introducing a new toy or object each day into their playpen. And I brought the puppies outside their puppy pen to try out some new surfaces on their little feet.

And they were I introduced to other friendly adult dogs (thanks to Hopie) 😉 Neither Lucy nor Rosie acted defensive or threatened at all with her so close to their puppies.

So that pretty much wrapped up the third week with Lucy’s babies.

Of course, Rosie’s were still kind of in the transitional stage, so lots of sleeping, eating, some crawling, etc. About what Lucy’s were doing at the same age. We did toenail trims, introduced a new toy each day and added the Ugodog litter box and started some startle/recovery exercises with them.