Socialization & Development

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At Great Lakes Gun Dogs we begin preparing for pups arrival into the world weeks ahead of time.   It starts by getting our Dam acclimated to her whelping box.   When her nesting instinct kicks in prior to delivery she will find the comfort and security of the box to deliver her pups.
When is a pup ready for training?  Training starts the minute their eyes open.   During this time we encourage our pups to self train and use litter mates as assistants.  There is also no substitution for children romping around (carefully) in the whelping box.  We encourage visitors and cuddling during this time too!
Post Whelping                                                                                                   
Pups will be weighed twice daily and monitored carefully to ensure each of them are consistently gaining weight and thriving.  The pups can taste but have very limited sensors in their nose at this stage that can be mostly used to find mom and a warm place to sleep.
 Day 3     
Trip to the vet for tail docking and post-whelping check-up for mom.
Day 4         
Individual Bio Sensor exercises start and continue daily through day 16.
Day 12  
Eyes and ears begin to open but these senses are still very limited.   Crawling and rolling can be seen now also. Every movement is building muscles for walking.
Day 14 – Week 2
Mom and pups receive first round of deworming. Tiny barks are starting to erupt from the whelping box now although much of their time is still spent sleeping. Front leg reflexes are developing and they beginning to sit up.
Day 21 – Week 3
Busy Week!
Pups sense of smell is more developed.  Weaning from the mother begins very gradually this week with the introduction of puppy mash (milk replacer with pureed puppy kibble).  They will now receive one solid feeding each day.

House training starts as early as 3 weeks by teaching pups that “potty” happens in a different place than playing and sleeping. 
Teeth may start to break and chew toys are added to the play area.
Pups will get their first scent of a bird wing this week.
Lead training begins in week 3 as well.  A 2-ft. nylon cord is attached to pups collars and is left to trail around.  It is only a matter of time until other pups see the cords snaking around and slaps,  paws  and pulls at them.  Pups are learning to give to the lead and gentling to the sensation of having a check cord drawn over their bodies.  This way they do not associate anything negative about a lead with people.
Time with mom to teach discipline and interaction with the litter for proper social skills are important at this stage.
Time for second round of deworming.
Day 28 – Week 4
Continue to introduce pups to different scenery and stimuli.  During this time mom is teaching pups lessons in behavior and manners.  Socializing with mom and the litter is important right now.  This is also a great time to get pups interaction with other dogs and animal species. This is a huge week for imprinting.
A large plastic crate is introduced to pups for sleeping so crate training doesn’t start as a scary experience but crate is instead a cozy, secure place.

Pups are eating two solid feedings per day
Mom and pups get a third round of dewormer.
Day 35 – Week 5
This is an important transitional time from mom to more individual attention away from the litter.  Mom is spending more time away from the whelping box and pups are becoming more independent. Starting good experiences with children and adults at this time will play a large role in how they will continue to interact. Play is very important during this week. Pups need to start to have  physical and mental challenges as well as things to climb, chew on, carry, and tug with other littermates.  They are another week more coordinated and have much better depth perception.  Problem solving and dealing with frustrating situations is all part of starting to develop coping skills, good temperaments and is key to becoming successful adults.
Pups now receive three solid feedings per day.
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Day 42-49 Weeks 6 & 7
Pups will take a trip to the vet for an overall health exam, vaccinations, deworming (if needed) and micro- chipping.
Pups are fully weaned by now.
Individual time away from the litter is important to encourage independence and confidence.  Socializing pups to new experiences everyday is crucial. Beginning of the “Curiosity period.” Pups have very little sense of fear now.
Day 56 – Week 8
New owners arrive! Time for our Open house!
This is the ideal time in a pup’s development to separate from its mother and for the dog-human relationship to begin.  Human play, care, contact and exposure to the outside world, has the most effect on pups from now until the 16th week. It is important to remember that pup is back in a “fear of the new” stage and new experiences should remain positive.
(All airline policies requires any pups traveling by plane either in-cabin or cargo to be at least 8 weeks old.  Please inquire through your airline for all travel details before flying.)