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Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, was established in 1983. It’s the largest school of its kind in Canada with its training school in Oakville and breeding facility in Breslau.


Puppy Growth And Development

Caring puppy owners have a simple set of hopes for their new family member, happiness and health.

But there are other equally important expectations such as your pup being well-mannered, easy to manage, and capable of following commands. Getting them to that level requires an understanding of how they grow and develop on their journey from infancy to maturity.

It is fairly standard practice that your new fur baby will move into your life at the age of seven weeks or slightly more. Till then they have been nourished on mommy’s milk and have formed bonds with her and their siblings. Inevitably, it’s painful and confusing when this separation occurs. Despite millennia of domestication, this is still an unnatural event in a dog’s life. The most normal life sequence would be to grow up as a member of the pack and learn all the necessary social and survival skills from their seniors. Despite seeming to be the worst thing that could happen to them, this is the very moment that you and your pup begin a wonderful relationship that will last for many years. As with all sensibly made life-long commitments your emotional, practical, and mental preparation makes all the difference between enjoying success or not.

Mental preparation requires understanding that what you do in the early phase of your relationship can be life-defining for the puppy and you, her new family.

Emotional preparation comes from knowing you will be entirely replacing her doggy family with your comforting presence and guidance. The first few days will usually be quite fraught as you all adjust to your new life. Fortunately, puppies are highly adaptable and their endearing playful curiosity makes managing the first few crying nights entirely worthwhile.

The practical aspect requires proper nutrition, a warm snuggly space of her own, and the first steps toward sanitary toilet habits. A really good tip is to provide a blankie or soft toy smelling of her dog mommy and erstwhile siblings. This can be arranged easily and will earn you many hours of additional rest. A simple and effective setup is a box on its side equipped with the blankie and toys and a large spread of newspaper for doing her business. Pups will generally not soil their sleeping quarters so learning that there is an allowable clean spot available is already major progress in the training stakes.

The next phase in a pup’s life is when they start testing their physical and tolerance boundaries against those around them. They are naturally trying to find out what’s allowed and what isn’t, what behaviours are encouraged and discouraged. This is a tricky time, because you may be tempted to indulge conduct that is cute and lovable in a baby, but if it continues into adulthood, is a real disadvantage. An example is randomly chewing on forbidden items. It is far better to correct them gently and firmly when they are small than explode when your Guccis are shredded three years on. Just as human babies go through teething troubles, puppies experience discomfort and outright pain which is only relieved by gnawing on tough but yielding surfaces. To help them, soak a cloth in unsalted chicken stock and freeze it. This gives their gums the necessary resistance when they chew and soothes the inflammation that accompanies emerging teeth.

Another easily anticipated emotional stage is separation anxiety. This must be dealt with early because an adult dog that acts out when left alone is a risk to itself and to your happy relationship. A simple technique is first to condition their reactions by starting with minute-long absences. These times are gradually lengthened until they are happy on their own for increasingly extended periods. Done regularly, this is not a difficult process to manage successfully and can be started within the first week or two of arrival.

The so-called fear periods are common developmental experiences in young dogs. As they undergo accelerated hormonal and environmental changes pups may have up to four such episodes before adulthood. The first usually occurs between two and three months followed by others at roughly three to four monthly intervals. They cease once your dog reaches maturity. Unsettling as they may be these natural stages help a young dog to process its role changing from helpless dependent to capable, courageous, and confident companion animal. If the behavioural changes are extreme and last more than a week or two it may be advisable to find professional recommendations on the best way forward.

With all its challenges, having a new puppy in your home is a wonderful and enriching life experience. Everyone in the family will benefit from a well-socialised loving, and loyal pooch whose presence epitomises joy and boundless appreciation.

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