The First Eight Weeks – The Life and Times of Bouncing, Biting, Baby Berners
By Mary-Ann Bowman, Ph.D.
Puppies in the fifth week have increased jaw strength, and when they bite it is getting uncomfortable. By the end of the week they will be capable of drawing blood. They have perfected scampering and added twirling to their behavioral repertoire, although they still sometimes tip over. This week is likely to bring the start of real barking, which is very, very cute. And puppies at this age are getting better and better at using the designated potty zone – it is a time of incredible development in lots of ways.
Puppies in their fifth week are very playful and regularly hurt each other. This is a painful part of a puppy's learning curve. The puppies will play and one will bite too hard. The victim will cry and thrash, trying to get away. The biter looks concerned, but has not yet put together that the biting is causing the concerning crying and thrashing. This is a very important process in a puppy's development; although painful, it is necessary and one important reason that puppies should not be removed from their littermates too early.
Puppies at this age can typically nurse standing up, balanced on their back legs. In a big litter, this allows all of the puppies to have access to the Dairy Bar. Some breeders are feeding solid foods by this age, but it is usually not necessary and in fact may be harmful. Early weaning in humans is related to a variety of issues, including food allergies and illnesses, and so there may be good reasons to delay the introduction of solid foods in puppies.