According to the experimental approach a dog goes through different stages in life… meaning that due to the environment the dog goes through certain socialising and learning processes that affect behaviour rather than genetic influences.

These stages are called imprinting, where the dog needs to learn certain behaviours at an early stage of development as it may play a huge role as an adult dog. This takes place in the first 3 weeks. This is not to say the behaviours can not be learned at a later stage but it is more difficult and may not completely develop in adulthood. This is closely related to bonding with the mother as well as learning specific behaviours of being a dog. They also later on learn about sexual imprinting apart from maternal imprinting.

After the imprinting stage the socialisation period starts…this is the time that the mother teaches socialising and coping skills that we cannot teach young pups as easily. This will be simple things like not biting to hard, appropriate fight-playing etc. This period is from 3 - 16 weeks. That is why it’s important to leave a pup with his mum for up to the 8th week. This is also the time that the new owner will need to introduce the pup to different sounds, surfaces, smells, playing, other dogs or different sizes and colour etc. During this stage positive experiences are very important as these pups are often better socially equipped then other dogs as an adult dog.

Then there is the Habituation process where the young pup learns to adapt to his new environment. The pup’s reaction to certain sounds, objects, or strangers will startle your pup. If this has no negative connection to it your dog will learn to adapt to the situation with out feeling startled which is a safety meganism. Dogs being domestic animals need to adapt to far more unfamiliar situations that are not present in nature. This is an active process where a stimulus continuously influences your dog.


There are 5 criteria that determine Hierarchy in a dog pack.

Age, which is the oldest, Time spent in the pack, Physical size, Personality and Gender.

So the problem with having two pups from the same litter comes in not when they are pups but when they enter adult hood. This differs from being a yearling up to two years. Depending on the breed of dog.

Most of the time you need at least one difference which sometimes only is personality… So say you have two female pups from the same litter, chances are they are the same size, same age, time spend in the pack is the same and the gender is the same so the only difference is personality. This is not always enough. So there is a good chance that these two dogs may fight as adult dogs trying to determine who fits where. Most of the time it would be good to have personality with at least one other difference, age and or gender would be good. But even with pups from the same litter gender might not make a big enough impact. In this situation spaying the female that has the less “dominant” personality could help this specific situation.

So this is when clients would phone and say; I don’t understand why my dogs after almost two years are starting to fight…It’s because they are not pups anymore and they need to know where they fit. This could also happen with the father being the older dog and the male pup being younger. But as they age the pup being an adult dog and the farther now being older and not stronger any more could get into fights with the younger male.

So adding dogs to your pack is not always as easy as it may seem at first. It’s best to research the breed and make sure before adding to your dog pack. It still may be different then what you had in mind but at least you will have some idea of what to expect.

Also remember about our two courses that are available next year. Also note that the first aid course changed from November to 13 January. Space is limited so hurry up if you don’t want to be disappointed. Click on the link below to learn more about this.

Events and seminars Wags and woofs, Louise and her 4 paws