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Can a dogs development be stunted when puppies? Im talking about mental development.

I did a course on child development and they go through stages on mental and physical development and this can get messed up if they go through something when very young. So i was wondering if this could be the same/similar for puppies?

As many of you know we went through hell with Basil and his skin from the day we got him until he was 11 months when he was diagnosed. During that time his concerntration was poor due to constant itching and it was difficult to teach him anything. Obviously after what happened to my previous dog so soon before getting him wouldve had effects on me as well which would have passed onto him. We met a golden labrador a week ago and as the owner and i were chatting across the lane, Basil and this puppy seemed to be behaving in exactly the same way. We decided to try and introduce and started across the lane and both dogs were like mirrors of each other. Told OH and we both joked that Basil was stunted as a 9 moths old but its got me thinking. Could his past illness and it effects have affected him mental development?
 

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I suspect that it's entirely possible a dog's mental development is affected by the experiences during it's early days, however no two dogs seem to develop at exactly the same rate. You can get ideas from what stage your dog should be at at a particular age, but I doubt whether two siblings from the same litter would be at precisely the same stage at the same time.

Nature or nurture? Interesting question!
 

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Can a dogs development be stunted when puppies? Im talking about mental development.

I did a course on child development and they go through stages on mental and physical development and this can get messed up if they go through something when very young. So i was wondering if this could be the same/similar for puppies?

As many of you know we went through hell with Basil and his skin from the day we got him until he was 11 months when he was diagnosed. During that time his concerntration was poor due to constant itching and it was difficult to teach him anything. Obviously after what happened to my previous dog so soon before getting him wouldve had effects on me as well which would have passed onto him. We met a golden labrador a week ago and as the owner and i were chatting across the lane, Basil and this puppy seemed to be behaving in exactly the same way. We decided to try and introduce and started across the lane and both dogs were like mirrors of each other. Told OH and we both joked that Basil was stunted as a 9 moths old but its got me thinking. Could his past illness and it effects have affected him mental development?
Puppies like babies and kids also go through critical stages developement, and what happens to them during these critical stages can play a big part, although its ongoing developement the first 16 weeks especially are crucial even right from birth as regards to handling etc.

Canine Socialisation is important between 3 to 7 weeks, where puppies learn from Mum and litter mates.

Attraction is 5/7 weeks where pups notice other things and begin to form attractions to people. Things like threatening sounds, punishment, physical force, rough handling can effect social attraction. Introducing new people is important too.

Human Socialisation is 7/12 weeks Puppies have the brain waves of adults and the capicity to process experiences.

Fear Impact is 8/11 weeks Nature gives them a pre-programmed fearfullness to counter the drive to get themselves into dangerous situations as they are still pretty defenceless, bad experiences can cause fears to become fixed.

Flight Instinct is 4/8mths it varies but usually co-incides with teething and developing jaws. They usually push at boundaries and start to do things like not coming back when off lead even if they were OK before.

Fear of the Unknown 6/14 months when they can start to react again to sights sounds and situations again harsh treatment and havily reprimanding them and scary experiences can make the fear worse.
Age this can happen varies with individuals and breeds.

These more explained on here about why socialisation at certain times is important or it covers the first 16 weeks
» The Science The Puppy Plan
 

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Not wanting to offend Scooter (or Labs in general) but I think it took him a good few years to realise he even had a brain, let alone put it to good use! TBH I think it's down to us all learning more about him and canine behaviour in general that's kickstarted his thinking cap, but he did seem "dimmer" than the others in his litter. Think that's why mum picked him :eek:

Dogs do all grow up at different rates and you raise an interesting point - a distracted child in school probably won't learn as quickly as one with better focus so maybe it has influenced Basil? Maybe not his mental development, but his rate of learning.
Have seen 2 hydrocephalic (water on the brain) puppies from 2 different litters. 1 sadly died but the other was very slow to develop. Saw similar with a tiny Border Collie runt that was less than half the size of his littermates. He grew up to be a normal dog but didn't seem "with it" until much later than the others.
 

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About 30 years ago I had a GSD puppy, Jenny, that was mentally retarded. We got her from a rescue in Manchester when she was about 16 weeks. It was like groundhog day bless her. Every single thing you did with her she would forget 5 minutes later. As she grew it became more and more difficult because she was permanently a pup however big she grew. We did everything we could and she was referred to specialist vets. In the end we were told that the kindest and safest thing was to have her pts as she was a danger to herself and others. I still have her puppy lead and will be using it on Mylo
 

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Not wanting to offend Scooter (or Labs in general) but I think it took him a good few years to realise he even had a brain, let alone put it to good use! TBH I think it's down to us all learning more about him and canine behaviour in general that's kickstarted his thinking cap, but he did seem "dimmer" than the others in his litter. Think that's why mum picked him :eek:
I agree. I think dogs are too different to people to really compare. But labs as a breed, well Milo is like your Scooter. Everyone who meets him thinks there is just *nothing in there* particularly when they meet Rupert also (golden retriever) who is several steps ahead of Milo at all times.

I think it would be much more physical than mental with a k9. I am sure it happens severely with some dogs, but I honestly imagine it would be a rarity and not something you see with 98% of dogs.
 

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Danny's nearly three years old and he mostly behaves exactly the same as Bradley who is 20 weeks old.
He has sensible moments, but generally he's a moron. :biggrin:
 
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