Dog Pens Are Great for Puppies

Using a dog pen to keep sibling puppies together will help your dog during his developmental stages.
Could you imagine a twelve year old girl driving to her nine to five job at INFOTECH, serial dating, and meeting up for yoga Mondays? I hope not. Children need a certain amount of direction physically, emotionally, and mentally before they can handle the responsibilities of adult life. The same goes for your pup. It is important that puppies spend time with their siblings and parents during the early stages of development, so they can grow to be a happy, healthy dog. A good way to keep puppies safely together is to provide them with a dog pen.

Dogs Start Playing at an Early Age
Puppy's go through ten stages of development before reaching adulthood. During each stage (in particular the "canine socialization" period) it is important for a dog to socialize and play, preferably with the brothers and sisters from his own litter. This play or play fighting can start at about 3 weeks of age, and sexual play between dogs of different genders may start as early as 4 weeks. During these early periods, a dog pen can be very beneficial for owners that want their pups in a secure location, while still recognizing the importance that pups have the space to spend time together. Of course, as the dog gets older, dog pens can always be extended because they are designed to come apart easily and attach to extra panels.

A Dog's 10 Developmental Stages

  1. Neonatal Period (Birth- 12 days) Puppies cannot see, hear, or regulate their own body temperatures.
  2. Transitional Period (13-20 days) Eyes and ears open and become aware of their basic senses
  3. Awareness Period (21-23 days) They reach full awareness and learning begins
  4. Canine Socialization (21-49 days) Increased play with other puppies starts. Puppies learn dog specific characteristics like barking, chasing, biting, and body postures. Taking a puppy away from the litter at this time can be very detrimental to his socialization skills. Also, potty training can begin!
  5. Human Socialization (7-12 weeks) This is when puppies gain their full mental capabilities and is the perfect time to train them.
  6. Fear Imprint Period (8-11 weeks) Any traumatic happenings during this period could impact a puppy for the rest of his life. Keep training light and fun!
  7. Seniority Classification (10-16 weeks) This period is when there is a lot of biting, and if the litter is still together, there is intense competition. They need structure!
  8. Flight Instinct Period (4-8 months) There adult teeth are growing in and they may become independent. Often, they forget basic commands and sometimes even potty training.
  9. Second Fear Period (6-14 months) Puppies may become afraid of other dogs or unusual things. Sometimes, this fear can manifest into aggressive outbursts.
  10. Maturity (1-4 years) The beginning of full maturity.

Puppies are always looking for someone or something to play with.
What Do Dogs Learn by Staying Together?
During times of socialization and play, a puppy learns the dynamics of being a dog: barking, biting, and chasing. They also learn the language of dominance and submission; the canine version of what we view as respect. Many times, parents and adult dogs monitor these games and will pretend to fall into submission to help build a pup's confidence up. These submissive positions include rolling on their back and play-bowing to the younger pup. During the course of play, the puppies learn what it's like to be the top-dog and what it's like to be at the bottom of the totem pole. All of this helps with a dog's ability to communicate with other dogs.

If a dog is isolated in his early years, his growth can be stunted. Some dogs could develop into bullies when they are around other dogs, or they could even become depressed because of the isolation they have endured. The best way to keep puppies together without having to worry about them running loose and damaging property is through the use of a dog pen.

How to Know If Your Dog is Playing

This puppy is assuming the play-bow position to indicate that he wants to have some fun.
During the developmental stages of a puppy's life, your dog will engage in rough play with his siblings and older dogs. But don't worry; this is natural. It is a way for the dogs to interact and for the puppies to learn what is and isn't acceptable. Dogs give certain exaggerated and ritualistic gestures, also known as meta-signals, amongst themselves to engage each other in "play." One ritual is the play-bow. The Play-bow is where a dog pretends to be aggressive by barking and lifting his butt up while keeping his front end down. Other engagement techniques include barking, leaping forward to nose poke, face pawing, and face licking.

What If A Dog Gets Too Aggressive?
Sometimes, overly aggressive play can develop between dogs. This often happens when one of the dogs assumes the "bully" role or if the dogs get too wound up. During these times, the overly aggressive dog may start to bite at his playmates head and neck, instead of the typical leg area. You may be able to identify this hostile type of play when the dog's growls become lower in pitch or if one of the dogs starts to cry too much. Another way to identify this is if the dogs are on their hind legs and aggressively launching themselves at the other dogs. In these cases, you may want to separate the dogs and place the trouble pups in a different pen.

If you have any further questions about dog pens and how they can benefit your dog, feel free to e-mail or call us anytime. We love all animals and take pride in providing you with any information you may need.

By: Tim Snyder
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