Few sights are more endearing than a tiny, wriggling puppy, whose appearance and behavior changes greatly during his first weeks of life. A puppy is born sightless, soundless and unable to walk. His early weeks are astounding as he begins to see, to hear, and eventually to stand proud.
Puppies are born into quiet and dark surroundings. Without sight to rely upon, a puppy uses smell and touch to find his mother, and will begin to crawl on his belly within the first 24 hours. By the end of his second week of life, a puppy's eyes are open, and his sight, poor at first, begins to sharpen. His nervous system continues to develop, and he will be capable of rising to sit upon his hind quarters by the end of his second week of life. As his strength and confidence grows, he will attempt to stand and walk once he reaches 3 weeks of age. A puppy's first steps are timid, and he will stumble as he learns to use his legs. These early steps will evolve into an adorable waddle, as he begins to romp with his littermates.
By his fourth week of life, he will likely have mastered the art of walking. A mobile puppy faces new danger, and puppy proofing your canine friend's surrounding is a must. He will chew socks, electrical cords, plastic bags and very nearly everything within reach, including your very best shoes. Introducing a puppy to safe chew toys will set early boundaries and relieve the discomfort of teething.
Once a puppy stands and walks, he is ready to explore his surroundings. Puppies need exercise and playtime with their littermates, and a proper boundary, which will separate him and his siblings from harm, is the best way to keep everyone safe. Leash training is also beneficial to a young puppy. A puppy obedience class is a great way to introduce your puppy to walking on a leash, as well as socialize him and teach him basic commands. Obedience classes are usually reserved for puppies of at least 8 weeks of age, and are mutually beneficial for both a puppy and his human companion.
All puppies require veterinary care. A puppy who cannot stand or walk should see a veterinarian immediately. There are many causes of canine lameness and difficulty with mobility, and only a licensed veterinarian can diagnose these. Proper care will ensure good health and well being, as a once helpless puppy grows into an adult dog.
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