The First Eight Weeks – The Life and Times of Bouncing, Biting, Baby Berners
By Mary-Ann Bowman, Ph.D.
The puppies seem to have most of the skills they need and work on perfecting them during the seventh week. They continue to grow and change each day, but the changes are less dramatic than in the early weeks. They remain adorable and cuddly, which is a good thing because then we are more forgiving when one has launched and bitten the end of our nose, as they are prone to do.
Fig. 11: Socializing with Small Boy
Their bite inhibition with siblings is much improved this week, and they spend less and less time sleeping and more and more time playing (see Fig. 11: Socializing with Small Boy). It is completely normal and appropriate for puppies still to be nursing at this age, although they are also likely eating some solid foods as well.
Some wonder how puppies can nurse once they have teeth, and this is a good question – those are seriously sharp teeth! It is not possible to suck and bite at the same time – did you know this? Try it – it is impossible! And so that is why it is not painful to nurse a puppy or human baby who has teeth – unless the puppy stops nursing and chomps, in which case the mom typically lets the puppy know that was not okay by removing herself from the scene of the crime, so to speak (See Fig. 12: Tolerance of Dam).
Fig. 12: Tolerance of Dam
Fig. 13: Socializing with Cat
Fig. 14: Socializing with a Teenager
Personalities really start to come through during this week. Some puppies are just busy and active, and others love to find a lap and curl up for a nap. This is such an important time for socialization, and if done well, puppies will seek out their visitors (See Fig. 13: Socializing with Cat). Now, it is true that they will most likely bite their visitors, but that is, after all, in the Puppy Job Description, which reads as follows.
"Puppies must be cute and fluffy, capable of melting the stoniest heart. The puppy must scamper playfully, sleep soundly, and be very happy and excited about everything. Must love people, their mother, other dogs and cats. Must be capable of peeing every 30 minutes, preferably away from the area. Must love pinecones, sticks, grass, flowers, bugs, toys of all kinds, water bottles, the wind, and everything else on the planet. Those wishing to be puppies must have sharp teeth and good biting skills, and be willing to exercise those skills at all times and on all objects and people (see Fig. 14: Socializing with a teenager). Must have a repertoire of cute sounds, including barking, growling and whining. Must be able to sustain whining for at least 30 minutes, preferably between 2 and 3 a.m. Must be capable of eating every 12 minutes and exhibiting all signs of starvation ten minutes after eating. Must jump on people playfully, lick innocently and bite wickedly. Must grow by leaps and bounds" (Fig. 15: Socializing with a young girl).
Fig. 15: Socializing with Young Girl