At birth, puppies are blind, deaf and toothless, unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own. Puppies depend on their mother and litter mates for warmth, huddling in cozy piles (cuddle puddle) to conserve body temperature.
A Puppy separated from this warm, furry nest can quickly die from hypothermia (low body temperature). Cold, lonely puppies cry a mournful loud cry to alert Mom to their predicament.
Puppies first experience the sensation of being pet when washed by their mother's stroking tongue. The mamma licks her babies all over to keep them and the whelping box clean, and also to stimulate them to defecate and urinate. Who wants a kiss?!
For the first two weeks of life, puppies sleep nearly 90% of the time, spending their awake time nursing. All their energy is funneled into growing and birth weight doubles in the first week.
Newborns are not able to support their weight, and so crawl about in paddling motions on their front legs.
The limited motion provides the exercise that develops muscles and coordination and soon the puppies are crawling over and around each other and their mother.
From birth, puppies are able to use their sense of smell and touch, which helps them root about the whelping box to find their mother's scent-marked breasts. The first milk the mother produces is called colostrum. It is rich in antibodies that provide passive immunity and help protect the babies from disease during these early weeks of life.