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Why the First Weeks of Your Puppy’s Life Are the Most Important

Profile picture of the author - Anna Lengacherby Anna Lengacher


Believe it or not, healthy and mature puppies don’t just happen.

Yes, you read that right.

No matter how adorable your little furball is at birth, there’s no guarantee of her staying cute and charming into adulthood.

Rather, in order to reach mature adulthood, puppies need good puppy care.  Think love, consistency, and regular training. And no, we’re not talking about starting at their first birthday.

The most important time to begin training and nurturing your little pal starts long before they reach their birthday milestone

 

Beginning at birth, puppies are extremely impressionable.

How they are treated and the attention they receive while just a small pup directly correlates with how they will mature later in life.

It’s during the very first weeks of life that puppies are developing essential skills, behaviors, and even personality traits that will carry into adulthood. 

And for better or worse, many of the lessons learned during your puppy’s first weeks outside the womb cannot be taught by you or any other person.

Instead, for an allotted time, a little pup needs its mom and littermates for best development. 

 

That’s why today you are about to discover what exactly a pupper experiences during its first days “on the outside.” Pursuing good puppy care, you’ll learn what to do, along with what not to do to encourage healthy pup development.

 

Sensory Stage

First up is the sensory stage. Already at birth, puppies enjoy a sense of touch and taste.

Also at birth, it’s the mom who serves as the primary caregiver for her little munchkins.

Carefully she grooms each pup with her tongue while encouraging her puppies to open their small eyes.

This physical contact creates the very first experience for a puppy to experience comfort, warmth, and security of touch.

During this sensory stage, it is paramount for a little pup to remain with her mother and littermates.

Regardless of how impatient you are feeling about bringing your new pupper home, provided the mother is strong, healthy, and able to care for her pups, never separate a puppy from its mother during the sensory stage. 

Puppy litterTransitional Period

The transitional period occurs when a pup is between two and four weeks old.

It’s at this point when your puppy’s eyes start to open, teeth begin growing, and a sense of sound and smell is developed.

Not to mention, it’s also now when puppies begin standing and taking small steps for the first time.

Wagging their tail becomes a favorite. And yes, you’ll likely hear the first attempts at barking too.

 

Socialization Period

By the fourth or fifth week, a puppy’s eyesight (and all other senses!) is fully developed!

Aware of their surroundings, puppies now enjoy moving around and are quick to explore.

Interacting with siblings becomes a favorite and competing for resources and mom’s attention is nearly constant.

As such, it’s during this period when pups learn about rank and discipline. (They learn quickly to respect mom’s commands when they misbehave or stray too far!)

 

Puppies this age spend a lot of time wrestling – rolling around with one another while using their mouths to bark, chew, and bite.

What looks like playtime to us is actually another critical step in pupper care.

Through frequent playtimes, puppies are in fact learning things like valuable social signals, what an inhibited bite means (acceptable mouthing pressure), and how far to go when tousling around.

 

Weaning

During five to seven weeks, your fur pal needs positive experiences with people.

This is a good time for introductions.

If you are buying a puppy locally, ask your pup’s breeder if you can stop by for a few “hellos” during these weeks. You needn’t stay long, just drop by and let your new pup familiarize herself with your touch and smell, etc.

If your pupper is not local, ask the breeder what he/she is doing to socialize your puppy. 

Is your pup exposed to children? How much human interaction is she receiving? 

Of course, there’s always the option of doing a zoom call too where you can say a quick hello and observe how your pup is interacting with her mom, littermates, and even breeder.

 

Your puppy may appear exceptionally cute and even apt during this season, however, it’s not time to bring her home just yet.

Why? Because she’s still being weaned.

And yes, it’s super important for puppies to stay with their mothers until they are completely finished weaning.

Fortunately, puppies are usually ready to eat solid food full-time by around seven weeks. However, if your fur-ball needs more time, don’t rush to separate him from his mom.

Let the weaning process happen naturally.

 

Talk to your pup’s breeder about how your puppy is developing and together decide when the best time is for your little pal to come home.

Sure, eight weeks is the most common threshold for bringing a new puppy home. 

Yet every dog breed is different and every puppy unique. 

Don’t neglect good puppy care for your new pal. Instead, give your little fur-ball time and space to be her own little puppy self.

 

Taking Your Puppy Home

By around seven to eight weeks old, your puppy can function without his littermates.

Some breeders, however, may insist that a puppy remains with his mom until he’s twelve weeks old.

If you encounter this, understand your breeder is providing excellent puppy care.

Those additional four weeks can be used to deeply solidify social skills while starting good, positive puppy training.


Puppy with new owner gazing

As you give your pupper time and space to learn valuable life lessons, you are simultaneously improving his ability to grow into a well-socialized dog.

Ultimately? Your puppy relationship will benefit deeply.

And of course, when it is finally time to bring your new puppy home, work in these simple puppy training basics.

VIPpuppies.com knows both the importance of your puppy’s first weeks as well as how critical good puppy care really is. That’s why we work with sellers to place puppies at just the right time. When buying a puppy through VIP Puppies, you can trust your puppy to have the skills he needs to become part of your family.

So come on over, meet the newbies, and find your new puppy today! 

 

Profile picture of the author - Anna LengacherAs the Editor in Chief, Anna Lengacher helps dog lovers learn the ropes of finding, raising, and caring for their dogs so they can enjoy many happy memories together.

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