During the first four weeks of a puppy's life, integral development begins that will set the stage for the rest of his life. While still very young, the puppy takes his first step towards independence: weaning. It is during this period of time that your puppy starts to gain independence from his mother. The puppy no longer relies on his mother as his sole distributor of nutrition. This is where human intervention enters the equation to make sure the puppy grows and receives the best care possible. Your experienced breeder takes on a very important role full of responsibility at this stage.
Because puppies are in the care of their breeders until at least eight weeks old, we've put together a snapshot of developmental milestones your puppy experiences, starting at four weeks old.
At four weeks, your puppy undergoes a major increase in growth. A puppy's eyes open between two and four weeks old. Like human babies, puppies are born with bluish-gray eyes, but by this stage, their eyes settle into their adult eye color. Your puppy now has a full set of puppy teeth and can begin weaning. He starts to eat soft foods, and according to fidosavvy.com, some mother dogs will even regurgitate their food to give their puppies a soft form of nutrition. When not sleeping, your puppy spends most of his time eating and still needs food at least four times a day.
While your puppy's motor skills are still limited at four weeks old, he shows the beginnings of playful behavior through his various human and canine interactions. Every breeder has certain practices for further preparing your puppy for socialization as an adult. A common practice among breeders is a method called "tolerance training," which is a way of handling the puppy to make him more tolerant of future handling from new people. This training can be especially helpful to prime for your puppy for contact with young children who do not know their limits when it comes to handling living creatures. This training can include gently tugging on puppies' tails, lightly squeezing their paws, turning the puppies over and rubbing their bellies.
A Typical Day
A four-week-old puppy spends most of his time sleeping and eating, but the rest of the time is spent exploring! He can stand up, walk around, wag his tail and test out little puppy barks. He interacts with his littermates and learns about his place in the world as a pup.
Between two and four weeks of age the puppy begins to gain independence from his mother, heightened senses and greater knowledge about his surroundings. The socialization that takes place naturally between him and his littermates and his increased ability to observe his surroundings will give him a good foundation for a healthy and happy future.