0 to 7 Weeks: This is a period when the environment opens up for a golden retriever puppy. His eyes and ears are excited to experience the sights and sounds of the world around him. This is a strong socialization period as a bond grows between his litter mates and mother. These bonds lead to a healthy, well-adjusted temperament. By day ten, however, the puppy should experience the touch of human hands and feel comfortable when being handled. This is a critical period for a puppy’s physical and emotional growth. The mother passes on 65 to 75 percent other temperament to her puppies. If she is calm, she will have a calming influence on a hyper puppy. The mother also passes natural antibiotics to the puppy through her milk during these weeks.
8 to 12 Weeks: Like a sponge, puppies at this stage absorb everything around them. They are curious and anxious to learn and play. At this age, puppy kindergarten can begin. It’s important to begin training but more important to create confidence. The training should be fun, not overly strict or aggressive. Negative experiences at this age can create impressions and behavior that can last the pup’s lifetime. Because this is such an impressionable stage, have a positive attitude when working and playing with your puppy. Build a foundation for him to develop positive patterns in his behavior.
3 1/2 to 4 Months: golden retriever puppies at this age are losing their baby teeth - you can feel good that those razor-sharp puppy teeth will soon be gone if your hands are still holding up. With any physical growth, there is a surge in hormones which affect the pup’s behavior. If your puppy is hyper to begin with, he will become 30 percent more hyper during this period. If he is shy, he may become 30 percent more shy. Through this period, you want to stay with a consistent training schedule.
4 to 5 Months: At this age, an owner becomes mystified with his puppy’s behavior. For example, your puppy may be housebroken one day, but urinate all over the floor the next. This is a common problem for many dog owners. Puppies are not being defiant at this stage, so never punish them. The problem is they are getting a surge of hormones which confuses them. The best thing to do is take a few steps back, and reinforce the housebreaking pattern you will learn in chapter four after this happens.
5 to 6 1/2 Months: Puppies go through a noticeable growth spurt during the fifth month. Spaying or neutering during this stage doesn’t help - they will still go through a transitional phase.
6 1/2 to 7 1/2 Months:Your Golden Retriever will settle down for a while, allowing you to breathe a sigh of relief. But don’t relax just yet!
8 to 9 Months: This is the final hormonal surge within your puppy, when items around your house, such as remote controls, begin to disappear. This is a very challenging stage for owners because a puppy’s temperamental behavior will increase - a pup will be approximately 50 percent more aggressive, more shy, or more hyper. It is during this time that male dogs will begin to lift their legs when urinating. Attention, not punishment, is what your pup needs during this time. All the training you have done will seem to have gone for naught. Owners get panicky and frustrated because they think their pup should know better.
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