From birth to one or two weeks, not very much is happening with a newborn puppy. They can’t see, hear, or even get up on their feet. The difference between one week and one month is huge though. They make significant developmental and physical growth during this time period.
Physical Growth During the First Month
Physically, a puppy grows a lot during its first month. The first week or two is spent just nursing and blindly crawling around to experience their environment. After about two weeks, their eyes open but they still cannot see very clearly. Their eyes will look hazy and blueish, but after a few more weeks, they will be able to see much more clearly. Their ears open just a few days after their eyes. After about eight weeks, their sight and hearing are fully functional.
Newborn pups can’t even stand. This is why they spend their days sleeping, eating, and scooting around on their bellies. This helps them build the strength they will need to stand and walk. It takes about two weeks for a puppy to be able to stand on its own. They’ll also start walking on their own after about one month.
When a puppy is first born, it won’t have any teeth. But by the end of their first month of life, they will develop what’s called “milk teeth.” These are what you might consider baby teeth for puppies. Once their teeth come in, their mother will begin weaning them. When they are weaning, the young puppies will need to start finding food for themselves.
The combination of their developing eyes, ears, legs, and teeth means a month-old puppy is going to be much more independent. They’ll soon be leaving their enclosure and adventuring out around the house. If you’ve been keeping puppies in a box with their mother, you can consider moving them to a box in an enclosure so they have the freedom to move around if they want.
Pups younger than one month are usually only drinking their mother’s milk. They can get all the nutrition they need to grow there. But once a pup gets to be around three to four weeks, they will start weaning. Their mother may naturally start the weaning process once their teeth emerge.
To help the pups, you can provide them with some canned puppy food. If you don’t have any canned puppy food, you can get some dry puppy food wet. This will soften the food up a bit so they can more easily chew it. Just remember that you should be feeding your puppy food that is specially formulated for puppies.
Bonding with Humans
At one month old, dogs are experiencing an important time in their puppy development. You won’t be training them at all because they are too young to understand commands. You should be handling them though. As much as mom will let you, you should handle the puppies. Here are ways to bond with puppies:
- Gently pet them.
- Allow them to explore.
- Get them used to a variety of smells.
- Expose them to different sounds.
This will prepare them for the world they are going to live in. You should try to get your puppy to meet as many people as possible of as many different ages as possible.
While you are working on socializing your puppies and showing them what they can expect from their environment, you can even begin some basic potty training and crate training. Again, puppies this age are too young to do any real training, but you can start laying the groundwork.
If it’s warm enough to go outdoors, try to get the whole family outside for a little while. If you can’t go outside, you can start training with a puppy pad. Have the puppy pad in a designated area so the pups can learn that they should be going potty there.
Remember that puppies at this age are just learning about their environment and will be curious. This means they can get into trouble too. Be sure to keep your eye on them so you can keep them safe.