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When Do Puppies Start Walking? Early Development Explained (Vet-Verified)

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by Dogster Team


When Do Puppies Start Walking? Early Development Explained (Vet-Verified)


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Watching puppies grow up is delightful, as puppyhood is a time of challenges, curiosity, and fun. Not only are puppies adorable, but watching them learn how to stand, walk, and navigate the surrounding world is absolutely heartwarming. They have a lot of developmental milestones to hit before they become adults!

Speaking of walking—if you have a little one, you might’ve wondered, “How old are puppies when they start walking?” Most pups will begin attempting to walk at around four weeks old. They’ll do more before that, too (and plenty after!). If you’re curious about not only when puppies start walking but also what else you should expect from a puppy as they grow, here’s a look at the early development of canines.

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How Puppies Develop

Our tiny furry friends go through several stages of development, beginning from the moment they’re born, much like human babies do. Here are the stages of puppy development and what you can expect from each one.

Week One of Puppy Development

For the first week of their life, newborn puppies will depend on the mama dog for everything. At this point, puppies can’t see or hear yet; they can only smell and feel things, so they’re pretty helpless. Puppies these young can’t even go to the bathroom without mama dog’s help! During this period, puppies will spend roughly 22 hours asleep, with the other two hours dedicated to getting milk from mom. So, don’t expect a lot from pups at this age!

Image Credit: Nadya Chetah, Shutterstock

Week Two of Puppy Development

Week two of puppy development finds pups still mostly rely on the mother dog for everything. However, somewhere between day 10 and day 14, puppies should begin opening their eyes; their hearing will soon follow. Why don’t puppies automatically see and hear right after they’re born? Because they’re born with underdeveloped nervous systems and eyes. These things have to grow and develop further after they’re born, and even though they’re starting to open now, a puppy’s sight and hearing won’t be fully developed until they’re approximately 20 days old.

At this point, puppies are still mostly sleeping and eating. They should be getting milk from the mother dog six to eight times per day. You may also see them being a bit squirmy or wobbly, but they don’t yet have motor control.

Week Three of Puppy Development

The third week of puppy development is when things really start going! At this point, a puppy should have developed enough to stand up and sit down all on their own. They’ll still be awfully wobbly while they stand and sit, but they’ll be able to do it.

Puppies will also be able to recognize their littermates as other beings during week three, and they’ll finally start getting their baby teeth in. Plus, by week three, puppies should finally be able to go to the bathroom on their own without any stimulation from the mama dog.

Image Credit: Nadya Chetah, Shutterstock

Week Four of Puppy Development

Week four of puppy development is another important week where a lot happens. Puppies will begin to look more like tiny individuals at this point. They’ll also be able to walk around some (though they’ll still need lots of practice!) and play with their littermates. You might even hear them make sounds during playtime, such as little growls. At this stage of development, there should even be a bit of tail-wagging!

Those aren’t the only areas where puppies develop, though. Puppies who are four to five weeks old will also be able to try out solid food and begin weaning off mom.

What Comes Next?

Now you know when puppies start to walk! But what happens after week four of puppy development? There’s clearly a bit more to go, especially considering puppies aren’t usually put up for adoption until they’re between eight and twelve weeks of age.

Well, weeks four to eight of puppy development involve quite a bit, as well. During this month, puppies will continue to play with their siblings, learn to socialize and start fully exploring the world around them. This is when you should slowly start introducing pups to new things, whether they be sounds, people, or objects. And by the end of this period, puppies should be fully weaned from the mother dog!

After this growth period, puppies generally are adopted out and taken to their new homes, where they continue to develop until they reach full maturity.

Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Puppies generally start walking by four weeks of age. Before that, they can’t really move around much (though they may squirm or flail about) and rely almost entirely on the mother. After a puppy starts walking, though, watch out because they’ll be ready to explore their world to the fullest!

Featured Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

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