Hard to believe my trio of psychiatric service dog puppies in development and early training – Franny’s triplets — are six weeks old today. I’ve spent hours daily, not just caring for them, but taking the time to watch them unfold into unique and sturdy bundles of joy. I hearken back to my own adventures of a well spent but chaotic young adulthood in which I instinctively knew, despite original resistance from loved ones, that the acquisition of a canine partner would help keep me as stable as possible. In hindsight I probably anticipated a tumultuous period of life in my 20’s. I acquired Teisha, quite serendipitously, shortly before my 21st birthday. I was returning from overseas adventures to finish the second half of my college years — more serious and committed to the process — but not sure I was grounded enough to endure the pressures. The entrance into my life of a calm, patient, loving and as it turned out, as adventure seeking a canine partner I could have hoped for, helped me mature, stay focused, develop healthy relationships, keep myself safe and learn how to live in the moment.
While it wasn’t a formality, Teisha was by all intents and purposes, my psychiatric service dog. In addition to the grounding she gave me consistently over her nearly 14 years, she delivered and raised stellar puppies — 17 in 3 litters — created relationships with many people in my life, helping them, and was even able to help see me into my earliest years of parenting.
And here I am today, 38 years later, watching a trio of amazing puppies underfoot much of my days –their unique personalities unfolding as they grow stronger, more coordinated, more dog like every day. They are each attractive to the eye, soft to the touch and desire spending time with people. Whenever I feel stressed or tired or I’ve been working too long on something, all I have to do is lie down on the floor and let them crawl all over me, making me laugh, releasing endorphins, reminding me why I’m putting myself through long days for weeks at a time to help guide them to be the best they can be. Visitors to date have always wanted a return visit, and I am ready to start making plans to match them to future partners. And now we are about to enter the final period before I pour on heavy socialization (including a puppy yoga class to be held at my nearby yoga studio on Dec. 15) and begin to plot out their training plans.
(excerpted from The Stages of Puppyhood)
The most critical period–age six to eight weeks–is when puppies most easily learn to accept others as a part of their family. The environmental stimulation impacts your puppy’s rate of mental development during this time. The puppy brain waves look that of an adult dog by about the 50th day, but he’s not yet programmed–that’s your job and the job of his mom and siblings. Weaning typically is complete by week eight.
If you or someone you love is seriously interested for a stupendously awesome make and model of dog, and their descriptions speak to you, please let me know and we’ll set up a time to discuss all the details and surely lots of questions you might have. You can email and put which puppy interests you in the subject heading.