When Do Puppies Start Walking?
Puppies aren't born with the ability to walk. Like human babies, newborn puppies are quite fragile. But just when do puppies start walking? While human babies don't start walking until they're nine to 18 months old, puppies start walking much sooner, around three to four weeks old. It won't be long after that before they're playing, chasing, and just acting adorable all the time.
Puppies Start to Walk at a Very Young Age
Newborn puppies are pretty helpless but oh-so-cute. At first, their eyes are closed, and they mostly sleep and crawl around a little. They become more curious about the world once their eyes open (around two weeks). This curiosity propels them to stand and walk.
By the time puppies are three weeks old (or around 21 days of age), they start to stand and look around. They may even try to climb out of their pen.1 By the time they're four weeks old (about 28 days of age), they're walking. Of course, this can vary. Some may start standing at two weeks and progress a little quicker.2 In general, you can expect your puppies to be walking and even running by the time they're about four weeks old.
If you're adopting a puppy, you won't likely see many of these stages in your puppy's development unless your dog had the pups. Puppies usually don't go to their new homes until they are at least two months old. By then, they're already fairly confident on their feet.
When Can You Start Training Your Puppy?
You can start socializing your puppies very young, even if actual training doesn't begin until a bit later. If your dog had puppies, you can handle them just a little to help with their socialization even before they're walking.3 When they're three- to eight-weeks old, you can handle them more to get them used to your smell and start playing with them once they're closer to two months. Be careful not to scare them.
Leash training can start inside the home as young as eight to 12 weeks. First, focus on letting your puppy wear a collar with a leash for a few minutes while giving her treats.4 Then train her to come to you while wearing a leash, using treats accompanied by a cue sound, such as a clicking noise, for motivation. Once you've perfected this, try walking your puppy on a leash in the house before moving outside.
For her safety, don't start walking your puppy outside, where she can interact with strange dogs until she's about 16 weeks old, a couple of weeks after she's fully vaccinated.5 Before that, you can take her to training classes with other puppies her age that are at the same vaccination stage. These classes will help her get valuable socialization time. Or you can socialize her with adult dogs you know well, but only if they're up-to-date on their full vaccinations. If you drive her to a puppy training class, make sure she's riding in a secure travel carrier that attaches to a seatbelt.
Puppies may start out helpless, but before long, they're opening their eyes, walking, and very curious about the world around them. Soon after this, your puppy will be ready to begin his leash training. A world of fun adventures, road trips, and playtime awaits you both.
- Jamieson, Amy. "Puppy Stages: A Week-by-Week Guide to Caring for a Newborn Puppy." Care.com, 20 March 2019, https://www.care.com/c/stories/6259/puppy-care-stages-newborn-to-48-weeks/.
- Ward, Ernest. "Breeding for Dog Owners - Caring from Birth to Weaning." VCAHospitals.com, https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/breeding-for-dog-owners-caring-from-birth-to-weaning.
- Jamieson, Amy, https://www.care.com/c/stories/6259/puppy-care-stages-newborn-to-48-weeks/.
- Donovan, Liz. "How to Teach a Puppy to Walk on a Leash." ACK, 30 August 2019, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/teach-puppy-walk-leash/.
- Wooten, Sarah. "When Can a Puppy Go Outside?" PetMD, 18 January 2019, https://www.petmd.com/news/view/when-can-puppy-go-outside-37926.