It’s hard to imagine anyone who doesn’t find a newborn puppy extremely cute! The sight of a newborn puppy litter is something that not a lot of people see in real life. Television shows and social media, can show you a glimpse of the early life of a puppy but they often gloss over certain elements and aspects that are quite important stages in a dogs development leaving most owners wondering when puppies do puppies start to walk.
For this reason, many facts about newborn puppies surprise many dog owners. That is because puppies are usually ready to go to their new adoptive parents when they are approximately 12 weeks old.
It’s no surprise there will be some mysteries surrounding your dog so you will be interested in a puppy’s growth week by week. A question like when do puppies start walking is likely to pop up here and there. Your puppy’s life before the age of 12 weeks may be a mystery to you. You may think you know a lot about your dog but you don’t know all the facts nor do you understand all the hoops that your pup had to jump through to get to the age they are when you meet them for the first time. And to do so in a healthy state. Information such as when does a puppy start walking or when will it open its eyes for a first-time may elude you if you begin your relationship from a later age. The purpose of this article is to teach you the life stages of a puppy right from birth to when you meet them at 12 weeks old and beyond!
Your puppy has to do a lot of things before even leave the whelping box never mind start walking for the first time. In fact, the young dog has a lot to learn before your puppy starts walking!
Did you know that the only thing your puppy can do when it is first born is to begin to explore the world through the sense of touch and smell?
That extraordinary sense of hearing that dogs are notorious for won’t be developed. In fact all puppies are born deaf and blind when they first enter the world. These senses will come later.
Your puppy’s very first week
Puppies will learn to walk when they are ready. They have a long way to go before they even stand up on their four paws first. Walking around naturally is a process and they haven’t even started yet! The first week of your newborn puppy’s life is usually taken up by the puppy learning how to start eating and sleeping. Did you know that young puppies at this age sleep for up to 22 hours per day? Newborn puppies don’t start walking just yet. They begin to develop in other ways.
Also during this time, the mother dog has to encourage their little ones to empty waste by stimulating the motion manually by licking. They commence their future habits starting from now.
Your dog still has a long way to go until they learn how to walk for the first time. Puppies are born and begin out of proportion with a larger head that is unable to be supported by their tiny body. It is at least almost a week before they can even start to crawl. These helpless pups often find their way around through their sense of smell and touch alone. This is how they kick off their little adventures!
There are advantages to puppies being born in such a fragile and floppy state. It is advantageous for the mother dog to give birth to small pups in a litter it allows for more space in the womb and for a shorter gestational period. Human mothers will be able to relate to this!
The second week of your puppy’s life
Wondering when do puppies walk on their own? By two weeks your puppy may be moving around but this looks a little more than a basic crawl at this stage. They are working their muscles and practising their fine motor skills. The sense of balance is also being greatly challenged. They will attempt to stand and maybe sit down and move around more independently before starting to walk.
The third week
It is around 21 days when a puppy will realise that there are other puppies in the litter around it. They seem apparently unaware that their brothers and sisters are nearby before this time. They will not open aware of their presence with their only focus being on their mother’s milk
Also by 21 days, puppies will start to think about urinating and defecating by themselves without their mother’s assistance in the whelping box. At this stage, puppies are still floppy and weak-legged and cannot walk as such, but they are trying their best.
When do puppies start eating?
At Four Weeks your puppy will start to eat solid foods such as gruel. How much gruel puppies eat will depend on how many weeks old they are and the size and breed of the dog. The digestive system develops quickly in dogs and they will start to be weaned from their mother’s milk at this time.
At five weeks old
It will be at least 5 weeks before they can see and hear clearly once outside the whelping box. They will start seeing the world for the first time and have their eyes open. They will start to hear around this time too, although sounds will be new and sometimes confusing to their ears! Walking and opening their eyes should be natural to the puppies at this age. The area should usually and ideally be clear of obstacles and other objects which may harm the puppy at this point. They are still floppy and are likely to fall over and tumble more often than not. Many people want to know when do puppies start walking, but it isn’t a clear-cut process. Your puppy will be developing rapidly and will take small steps towards each milestone.
They are able to use their legs to walk at this age, but not reliably so. They will get used to standing on their paws and they will work on strengthening their legs first. This is an important developmental stage for a young dog.
It will be at least 8 weeks before a puppy is weaned and able to empty waste from their bladders and bowels by themselves. They are not yet ready for adoption until approximately 12 weeks old. This is around the time when puppies start to walk.
So when do puppies start to walk?
A puppy starts walking properly when they are 8 to 12 weeks old. At least this is what we would recognise as proper walking without too many tumbles. The puppy should be able to walk on all four legs for a reasonable period moving forwards and sideways turning around although they not will not be able to handle stairs until they are large enough. Some breeds of dog such as the dachshund will not be able to handle stairs at all as their legs are too short and will never grow long enough.
So, what about beginning leash training? When do puppies start walking on a leash?
If you want to get started early getting your dog used to the leash then you can start walking them at around 8 to 10 weeks old. That is provided you have access to the puppy before this time. Most dog owners won’t even get to choose their puppy until they’re 10 weeks old or older in some cases. But be prepared for them not to be able to grasp the concept straight away. At this stage at least, this time should only be used for getting your puppy used to the feeling and the idea of beginning to wear a leash when walking out with you. Establish good habits from an early age. Never allow a puppy to pull on a lead. Make sure you begin walking as you mean to go on.
Never take a dog out before it is fully vaccinated as they are quite likely to come across other dogs whilst out on a walk in the neighbourhood. It is important to understand that you shouldn’t over-walk your puppy. The exercise requirements will vary by breed and greatly by age. If you think you have walked your puppy too far, then check out this guide on an over-exercised puppy before you set off on a stroll.
They can play and socialise with other dogs in their own way, but be mindful and make sure that the other dog is being gentle too and make sure that it does not get out of hand Your puppy is still learning and training at this stage and it is important to give them positive experiences of the world. Walking a dog on a leash for the first time can be a process that requires cooperation on both sides.
You can start to take your puppy out at 12 weeks old as long as it has the necessary check up and go ahead from your dog’s vet.
What about teething?
As mentioned above puppies will start to grow new teeth at around 3 weeks. This is when a dog or puppy starts teething for the first time.
They may chew on things or drool more than usual and may seek things out they shouldn’t to chew on to ease their discomfort in their gums. This is nothing to worry about and is a normal part of a puppy getting ready to leave the whelping box.
It is around this time that puppies will start to eat solid foods from around 3 and a half to 4 and a half weeks old.
Chew toys of an appropriate age for a puppy’s small mouth will be fine to use here to and may save your furniture.
This won’t be an issue for most dog owners however as puppies won’t be ready to be adopted until they are usually around twelve weeks old.
To sum up this overview of a puppy’s young life
Hopefully this article will have cleared up your question on how old a puppy is when they start doing important things in their life. A puppy will learn to walk when is ready to do so never rush leash training or any puppy lifestage if your puppy seems behind in any of important milestones and always speak to your vet for advice if you have any concerns.