When you think of puppies, you probably think of adorable floppy ears, paws that are too large for cute little bodies, and boundless amounts of energy!
No matter how much you play with them and how much you try to wear them out, their enthusiasm never lets up. Perhaps this is because everything is a new experience and it’s all just too exciting to take calmly.
And while that mental image is very accurate, there are very distinct stages of development your puppy goes through. Let’s talk about your puppy’s first month.
When your precious puppy comes into this world, he can’t see, can’t hear, has no teeth, can’t go to the bathroom on his own, and can’t even control his own body temperature! How crazy is that!
Newborn pups have to rely on their brothers and sisters to stay warm, which is why you’ll often see cute pictures of them sleeping in piles. In fact, if a puppy doesn’t have this available to him for some reason, he can die from cold!
This is also the first time they sense the feeling of being petted, when their mom cleans them with her tongue.
1 DAY – 2 WEEKS OLD
Puppies aren’t so different from human babies in that they sleep about 90% of the time for their first two weeks of life. In the first week alone, a puppy’s weight doubles!
Growing twice your size in seven days is a lot of work. I don’t know about you, but if I over-exert myself just a little, I need a nap!
Puppies are unable to support their body weight with their legs at this age, so they kind of scoot and crawl around. This is very important to their development, kind of like how it’s vital for a baby chick to peck its way out of its egg shell. The scooting and crawling grows their muscles and hones their coordination.
While puppies can’t see or hear, they do have keen sense of smell and touch. This is how they maneuver around and find their mom so they can nurse.
2-4 WEEKS OLD
At around two weeks, a puppy’s eyes and ears begin to work. They begin to experience what the world looks like, and they begin to learn what their brothers and sisters sound like. They also start to form their own language, experimenting with different noises.
Between weeks two and three, your puppy will typically stand and start to walk, albeit unsteadily. The third week of life ushers in some independence, as your puppy is no longer so dependent on his mother for survival.
He beings to interact and play with his brothers and sisters. This socialization is the beginning of a very important phase that will impact your puppy’s ability and desire to form attachments to other animals and people.
You puppy also begins to grow baby teeth and eat solid food. The mother begins to produce less milk and your puppy’s energy requirement increases. As a result, the weaning process begins and solid food is needed to supplement his diet.
The first month is a crucial and very high-maintenance period for your pet, not unlike a human baby. And while he gets a lot accomplished in the first month, he still has a lot of growing and learning ahead of him to become an adult!
Source: The Spruce Pets