Eight Weeks Old

KEY IDEAS:
Keep up everything you've been doing, except . . . 
Watch for a "fear period" and tread carefully if you see one.
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EIGHT WEEKS OLD


Pups often enter a “fear period” around eight weeks. Watch your pups very closely for extra sensitive behavior. Typically you’ll see a pup who was just fine playing in a certain area a few days ago suddenly acting nervous and hiding a bit, or you might see a pup who’s been mellow about the vacuum his entire little life suddenly terrified. When you see that, it’s your cue to tread carefully with that pup. The key is to be sensitive to each pup and not push. For some pups a fear period can be just a day, but for others it can be an entire week.

Other than watching for the fear period and adjusting accordingly, keep up what you’ve been doing:

 

  • New toy/sound/texture/visual stimulus every day.

  • Bring in new people (no shoes, wash hands, etc.)

  • Present formal challenges like food behind a barrier to develop problem-solving.

  • Slam a door, drop a bowl to build startle/recovery response.

  • Using clicker training to build tolerance to all kinds of touch.

  • Reward “manding” or sitting for attention (not jumping/pawing). 

  • Encourage calm structured play using toys to discourage bitey-play with humans.

  • Do “exchanges” with high value items to discourage resource guarding.

  • Encourage play with safe larger/older dogs in the home, always providing an escape -- under a low table for pups, and over a low fence for big dogs.

  • Use mini agility equipment to build confidence and willingness to explore.
     

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