It follows four different litters from the moment they are born, deaf and blind, up until they are eight weeks old
BRITAIN is a nation of dog lovers but few of us ever get to experience the magic of a puppy’s first days.
But that is all about to change with fascinating new ITV show Puppy Secrets: The First Six Months.
The first of two episodes, which starts tomorrow at 8pm, follows four different litters from the moment they are born, deaf and blind, up until they are eight weeks old.
As vets recommend not separating pups from their mothers until eight or nine weeks, the show captures the fascinating milestones often only seen by breeders, such as first opening their eyes and learning to play.
Cutest of the pups featured are three chihuahuas, who are each born weighing just 100g — the equivalent of an apple.
Joining them are six labrador and golden retriever crosses destined to become special assistance dogs for disabled adults and children, eight border collies, whose dad is England’s current champion sheep dog, and five rescue pups born to a stray mother.
The second episode charts the pups’ journeys to their new homes and how they acclimatise to the bustling outside world.
Below, we highlight the development of a puppy during its first six months.
Puppies are born blind and deaf and with a limited sense of smell.
But they can taste and feel, which guides them to their mother’s milk.
This is packed with energy and antibodies to protect against disease.
At this point, the pups begin to hear and their eyes will probably begin to open.
And they are still guzzling milk at a ferocious rate.
As vet Mark Evans, from the ITV show, says: “They will double their body weight in ten days and that would take four to five months in a human baby. Biologically that is utterly brilliant.”
By the end of two weeks, pups will also start trying to walk — or wobble. And they begin to be able to regulate their own body heat instead of relying on their mum’s.
In even better news for their mothers, they start to be able to do their toilet business on their own without mum having to lick their bits to encourage them to go.
A special moment in doggy development — when the pup will wag its tail for the very first time.
They stands and walk with more confidence and begin to try to imitate mum in the way they eat and drink.
Eyesight and hearing are now well developed and the teeth are coming through.
Dogs have two sets of teeth, just as humans do.
Their first set, which are coming through now, are “deciduous teeth” and often referred to as milk teeth.
While dogs cannot see as well as humans, they can detect sounds four times quieter than we can.
And their sense of smell is a whopping 10,000 times better than ours.
At around the four week mark, a puppy will begin to take on the most important lessons regarding social development.
They will learn to not bite all the time as well as how to interact with their siblings.
pooches’ furst few days
Dog lovers will delight in new ITV doc which follows adorable litters from the moment they are born
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Weeks four – six
LET the fun times begin, Puppies begin to interact with each other more and learn to play.
They also discover just how strong their jaws are and enjoy testing them on anything — and anyone. This is the time to introduce chew toys to their lives.
The weaning phase begins at five weeks. In the wild, a dog’s first solid food would be regurgitated by their mother to help them swallow. These days they are gradually introduced to special puppy “mush”.
Meanwhile, the little ones’ brains are developing at lightning speed.
By now they will be figuring out that they should keep their sleeping area and toilet area separate from each other.
Weeks six to eight
All the puppy’s senses are fully developed by seven to nine weeks and they love exploring their world.
Eight weeks old is generally the time they can leave their mum and move in with new families.
Weeks eight to ten
Here, puppies learn advanced social skills and make their most important bond — with humans. They also properly explore their surroundings and venture outside.
By now fully weaned, the puppies will leave their mums and go to their new homes at eight weeks old, which is when they are at their most adaptable.
Before that, the pups are given their first bath to get them used to water.
On the TV show, the chihuahuas are even given gentle blow dries to make sure they don’t get too cold.
Not all puppies go through a “fearful period” — when they are afraid of nearly everything — but some do at around this age. They can sleep through the night and develop better control of their bowels and bladder.
Three to six months
At around three months old, the milk teeth begin to fall out, replaced progressively by permanent teeth.
Puppies show more wilfulness and independence and are more likely to test boundaries.