Puppies are completely dependent on their mothers for the first few weeks of their life. By the time a puppy reaches 4 weeks old, he begins walking. At this point, you will want to puppyproof your home and begin to think about leash training your dog.
At what age do puppies start walking properly?
Newborn puppies are completely dependent on their mother. Newborns cannot see or hear, regulate their body temperature, walk, or even eliminate by themselves. Newborn puppies spend most of their first few weeks of life sleeping and eating.
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Newborn puppies are able to crawl. Amazingly, they can instinctively find their mother's nipples and begin nursing immediately after they are born. Between 2 and 3 weeks old, a puppy's eyes open, but her vision will initially be blurry. The puppy's sense of hearing is the last sense to fully develop around 3 weeks old.
At approximately 2 weeks old, puppies start trying to stand. Around 4 weeks old, a puppy starts to walk. At this time, puppies can also eliminate by themselves without their mother's stimulation.
Puppyproofing your home
Around the time puppies can walk, they will begin trying to climb out of their nesting box. This is the point when you need to make sure your home is puppyproofed to ensure the puppies' safety.
Puppies are like babies in that they put everything in their mouth. To prevent your puppies from ingesting dangerous items, such as toxic plants, medications, and cleaning supplies, make sure all potential hazards are out of their reach. Keep cords out of the way whenever possible. Get down on your hands and knees and pick up all the small objects a puppy could potentially swallow, such as rubber bands, paper clips, jewelry, and socks.
You may also want to put down rugs on your hardwood and tile floors. Rugs will provide your puppies with traction, which may be helpful when they first begin to walk.
Walking on a leash
Contrary to popular belief, puppies do not instinctively know how to walk nicely on a leash. It's best to begin training your puppy to walk on a leash when he is young.
Use treats and praise to train your dog how to walk on a leash. Make sure you always make collar and leash wearing a positive experience for your puppy so he looks forward to wearing them.
Take practice walks inside your home before you venture outdoors. Young puppies can take short walks, while older puppies can accompany you for short jogs or longer walks. Consult your veterinarian regarding how much exercise your puppy should get as he grows. Supervise your puppy closely on walks to ensure he doesn't eat anything he shouldn't.
Mobility issues in puppies
If your puppy isn't walking by the time she is 4 weeks old, you should consult with your veterinarian. Likewise, if your dog suddenly shows mobility problems after she begins to walk, a trip to your vet is in order.
Mobility problems in dogs can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as physical trauma, birth defects, or neurological disorders. If your puppy is having trouble standing or walking, your veterinarian will examine your dog and perform diagnostic tests if necessary to determine what is causing your puppy's mobility issues.