Monday, January 6, 2014

Puppy Behavior Eight Week Maturation Point

Darla entered her first fear period today, her normally up, wagging tail in a position seldom, if ever seen on her before, neutral. My little girl must be about right weeks old for this stage of development. About three weeks ago I found her in a bucket along the side of the road.
Today she no longer bounds straight up to me, but approaches obliquely, making an arc in her travel to approach me from the side. Her wide eyed puppy innocence is gone. As she nibbled out the bowl, I walked by and she circled with a piece of kibble in her mouth, which is reminiscent of Chi-Ping’s behavior with me, when she first came. She also exhibits watchfulness of the surroundings that I’ve just seen her do in the last couple of days. Our group has remained stable, nothing outward has happened to influence her behavior.
Witnessing puppies enter this maturation phase before was probably more chaotic with people and dogs, me being busy, and most of all other puppies. What surprises me the most is the suddenness of the shift; yesterday she was the quintessential idiot puppy, today she’s caution girl.
Protect her from big scares during this time was my first thought. Today is Three Kings Day in Puerto Rico, which means parandas or parades and here it came right down our road, loud, pulsating, horns blaring, whistles blowing loud, loud. I went to the door in time to see Darla running to the back side of the house to get away. I called her to the door which meant she had to come back towards her fear. To my surprise she scurried into her safe house, where she calmed and stood at the door. Gone are her puppy forward ears, unless focused, she’s pretty much carried them to the side. This is a change for her.

Like you, I love watching dog behavior. I’d love to hear your stories and comments on this maturation point.  

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