Physically, this is the full weaning period. At the beginning, the puppy is being nourished half by nursing and half by feeding. At 2 months the process is completed, and he can leave his mother. Between 6 and 8 weeks is a good time for ear-cropping, if necessary by the vet. He is growing rapidly in size and strength but still he cannot control his natural functions, although he instinctively urinates in the same spot, away from the nest.
His nervous system, however is fully mature. His reactions are quicker and he needs more exercise. He starts to follow people around, seeking company and attention. Now is the time to give him a small rubber ball to chase, and to start playing simple games with him.
Psychologically, his personality begins to unfold and individual traits of character appear. An attentive owner can help by giving each puppy the type of handling best suited to his temperament, which is apt to remain the same. This is considered the critical “socialization” period, during which human contacts are vital in order to avoid man-shyness later on. But canine contacts are important too, for without them the puppy may become so human-oriented that he will be unsociable with other dogs.
What he needs most at this time is constant supervision, human companionship, lots of play, love, and lots of sleep. At this stage he also needs a name, a few toys, an official “bathroom”, leash training, and lots of patience!