A puppy is simply a juvenile dog, describing the period of time between the birth of a dog and reaching approximately one year of age. For a dog, this is the greatest period of development not only physically, but mentally and socially as well.
Puppies are born after a period of approximately 61 days of gestation, and they begin to nurse nearly immediately. Puppies continue to nurse for the first seven weeks of age.
Puppies are born deaf and blind, but they have a completely functional sense of smell from birth. Their senses all develop rapidly during the first two weeks of life.
Much of a puppy’s initial body and personality development occurs in the first three to six weeks. Personalities become more apparent at about four weeks old.
Puppies are dependent on their mother for the first eight weeks, not only for nourishment but also interaction and other aspects of development.
Socialization is of vital importance in the first 12 weeks of the puppy’s development, including socialization with other puppies, adults and children.