From day one your pug pup is learning and developing his understanding of the world around him. During this stage a pug puppy is experiencing everything for the first time. He's also learning what it means to be a dog -- lessons that will stick with him for the rest of his life.
The First Two Weeks
During the first two weeks of your pug puppy's life, he'll be pretty focused on doing two things: eating and sleeping. Newborn pups spend the day nestled with their mother and siblings, suckling and napping and occasionally readjusting to get comfortable. Their eyes are still closed, and they can't see or hear, but they can feel the warmth of their mother and litter mates around them. Keep in mind that it's normal for pug puppies to breathe rapidly when they're sleeping because of their snubbed noses. But, if a puppy is wheezing, you should contact your vet right away.
Age Two to Three Weeks
In the two to three week stage, your pug puppy will begin to emerge from his constant slumber. Once his eyes are open, he'll build his ability to respond to light, movement and sound. He may try to crawl around his whelping box, until he wears himself out and needs another nap. Since he's more aware of his surroundings, he'll begin to recognize his mom, brothers, sisters and you. Now that your baby pug has all his senses, you can begin handling him gently for short periods of time. Always respect the pup's mother when handling her babies -- if she seems uncomfortable, return the puppy to the nest.
Age Three to Four Weeks
Your little pug will really perk up when he hits three to four weeks old. By now his eyes, ears, and nose are fully functioning. He'll see you coming and know that good things are headed his way. At this point your puppy is an adorable little sponge, constantly absorbing information about his surroundings. Because pug pups are so susceptible at this stage, it's important to keep their experiences positive. This is also the time when he starts to learn what typical pug behavior is really all about.
Now that your pug pup's eyes are fully functional, check them for any sign of disease. Many eye diseases afflict pugs in particular because their eyes are so prominent. Check your pups for common pug eye diseases like Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (chronic dry eye) and Pigmentary Karatitus (spots on the cornea). If you suspect that any of the pups have an eye disease you should talk to your vet immediately.
Age Four to Six Weeks
And so the training begins. At four weeks old, your little pug is playing with his litter mates, who are all learning what to do and not to do as far as proper pup interaction goes. This is also a critical time in your puppy's life because it's when his mother begins to wean him. Pug puppies can start eating regular dog food at four weeks old, in combination with mother's milk, until they're fully weaned.
Even though he's learning to make it on his own, it's still crucial for your baby pug to stay with his family. Experts consider weeks three to sixteen to be the most important time for learning appropriate dog behavior. During this window your pup will learn how to play with other dogs appropriately, how to respect their pack leader (their mom), and where it is and is not OK to go potty.
At six weeks old, your baby pug isn't ready to leave his mama's side, but soon he will be. When he reaches seven to eight weeks of age, as long as he's well-adjusted and happy, he should be ready to leave the nest and begin his life with his forever family.
Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.