Mother Dog and Puppies Living Together: What To Expect


Recently got puppies and wondering what their experience of living with a mother dog would be like? Well, puppies can surely have an great time with living with their momma but as the pups become older it becomes a bit tougher.

To begin with, canine mothers are a source of love and affection for newborn puppies. They meet all needs of their puppies from nourishment to elimination of waste during the first 10 days in their puppies’ life. In the third or fourth week, the baby puppy starts to lose dependency on the mother dog’s milk as she observes a decline in lactation.

There are several other exciting and etching facts you must know if you are considering the compatibility of mother dogs and puppies, so follow along with me till the end as I delve deeper into it.

Understanding Maternal Instincts In Dogs – (Key To Know)

When it comes to dogs, maternal instincts are a strong drive in female dogs to protect and care for their little ones.

This drive typically kicks in the right after a female dog gives birth and last for several weeks or months.

As a new mother, the dog might start building a safe place for her puppies, to keep them clean and nurse them.

Don’t be worried if your dog becomes extra protective of her puppies, it’s completely natural at this stage.

During the first 10 days of the pup’s life, the mother dog is responsible to meet all needs of her baby from nourishment to elimination of waste.

On the other hand, during the third and fourth-week pup starts transitioning to solid foods, decreasing their dependency on their mother’s milk.

However, it’s essential to remember that every dog is unique and their maternal instinct can vary depending on experiences like genetics, the dog’s overall personality, and previous experience with being a mom.

Alongside nurturing, protecting, cleaning, and nesting the young ones, the canine’s mother also educates them when they start getting old.

The mother gives them the first lesson in their language at the time weaning occurs.

Although pacifying, snarling, and growling behaviors are inborn, pups still need to learn their functions.

As the puppy grows, the role of the mother dog changes from one of direction, support, and protection to the one who encourages self-dependency.

Should You Separate A Mother Dog From Her Litter?

Mother and puppies

Separating a mother’s dog from her litter should be avoided. However, if the mother dog is unable to provide proper protection and care to young litters due to disease or any reason, then separation can be seen as a viable option.

In this case, separation should be done with caution as it can have negative impacts on the mother and her puppies.

Whether or not to separate a canine mother from her litter relies on the conditions of the litter and the age of the puppies.

The ideal time to separate litters from mother dogs is when the young ones have completely transitioned from mother’s milk to solid foods.

This transition begins anywhere from 3-5 weeks old says AKC chief veterinary officer, Dr. Jerry Klein until 7 weeks old when litters eat entirely on their own.

Development of social skills and understanding of the world is also essential in litters before they are to be separated from their mother dog. This learning period covers observation as a major part and is about 16 weeks.

Unfortunately, early separation of the mother dog from the litter can result in the following problems in the puppies:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Weaker biological immunity
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Increased risk of disease
  • Poor socialization
  • Decreased appetite.

How Do Mothers React To Their Puppies?

Mother dogs form a strong bond with their young ones from the moment they are born. They exhibit affection, care, protectiveness, and sniffing and licking behaviors toward their puppies.


Mother dogs exhibit affection for their puppies by keeping them warm and comfortable as well as by nurturing them.

Canine mothers search for places where their litter could live safely. This act is known as nesting. When puppies are newborns, the mother dog takes complete responsibility to fulfill their needs.

Mother dog also sniffs and licks her litter to keep them clean and shower all her love on them.


Canine mothers are also pretty sensitive in terms of their young puppy’s protection. Even before the birth of the pups, she starts her hunt for a safe place for them.

The mother dog might give a harsh reaction to any intruder activity near her puppies. Therefore it is safe to limit interaction with newborn puppies from day one.

As the puppies grow, the mother encourages them to be independent and to be protective of their own.

Sniffing and Licking

Sniffing and licking are one of the first behaviors a mother dog is likely to exhibit toward her puppies.

It typically serves to transfer her scent onto the puppies promoting stronger bonding and recognition. This behavior also stimulates the puppies’ circulatory and respiratory systems.


Scientists believe that dogs have a wide range of emotions and jealousy is triggered in them by social interactions.

Usually when the mother dog notices the owner’s attention is diverted from her toward the puppies and becomes jealous.

As a result of jealousy, the canine mother might begin to ignore the pups or try to exclude them from the maternal nest.

Jealousy is particularly common between mother and daughter dogs. Investigators have concluded that dogs have the hormone oxytocin, which plays a key role in evoking emotions of love and jealousy in dogs as well as humans.

Will Mother And Daughter Dog Get Along?

Mother and daughter raised together from a young age are more likely to form a close bond and enjoy a great relationship with some conflicts as well.

However, sometimes things may escalate between two dogs to a point where you might have to separate them.

Generally, an aging mother dog becomes less tolerant towards her playful young daughter, who requires attention.

Therefore, you must always supervise their time together and train them with the use of positive reinforcements such as praises, and treats to build strong bonds between two dogs. Make sure you show equal love and attention to both dogs and choose separate locations for their mealtime to avoid food aggression.

Will Mother And Son Dog Get Along?

Yes, mother and son dogs can get along with each other but this hugely depends upon the personality of the individual dog, age and the presence of health issues.

Mother and son dog being raised if grown together might help them build bonds. However, strengthening bonds is also possible with training and reinforcements.

In most cases, there may be competition for resources such as attention and food. Therefore, it is essential to supervise their interaction to prevent conflicts.

Also, younger momma dogs tend to lack maternal instincts and may end up neglecting their puppies. This behavior can also be a manifestation of illnesses.

You may also seek professional dog trainers if facing any issues. Always remember that every dog is unique, therefore interactions may vary.

Adopting Mother Dog And Puppy

Rather than buying a pooch from pet stores and breeders, consider adopting as it cost less and help save those loving canines. First, find a rescue organization or shelter close to you and apply for adoption. You’ll likely get interviewed and given a room to discuss what you are looking for in a dog.

It is important to spend some time with any dog you are about to bring home so they don’t turn out to be a wildcard.

Once they are home, give them a cozy environment, along with fresh water, nutritious food, and plenty of playtime.

Mother dog might take some time to settle, so be patient with her and shower affection on her.

The puppy would require your energy, time, and patience as it grows. Don’t forget to provide them with regular vet checkups.

Except for naturally disciplining the puppy, the mother dog shouldn’t be involved in the mothering for more than 8 weeks.

Nonetheless, bringing home a mother dog and her puppy can be a heartwarming experience that will bring a lot of laughter and love into your life.

Can A Male Puppy Get His Mom Pregnant?

Male puppies can impregnate their moms or any female dog provided they have reached sexual maturity. It is important to consider that mother-son breeding (inbreeding) is considered unethical, therefore is discouraged in breeding organizations.

Additionally, inbreeding can result in an offspring with genetic health problems due to the expression of deleterious recessive alleles. This is 100-fold riskier compared to outbreeding.

Additionally, such breeding can also lead to behavioral and temperament issues in the offspring.

Inbreeding can also result reduced longevity and increased susceptibility to genetic diseases such as:

  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Patella luxation
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Cancer

Genetic disorders can lead to birth defects and other serious complications like stillbirths and miscarriages.

When an owner buys pups that had been inbred, they are more likely to find themselves at the veterinarian with expensive medical bills incurred.

Therefore, it’s always crucial to practice responsible breeding and avoid close relative breeding. Generally, it’s recommended to breed dogs from different bloodlines to ensure healthy offspring.

Wrap Up

Momma dogs are a source of love and affection for newborn puppies. They nurtures, feeds, cleans, and protects the young ones.

During the first 10 days of the pup’s life, the mother dog is responsible to meet all needs of her baby.

However, during the third or fourth week, the pups start transitioning to solid foods, decreasing their dependency on milk.

As the pups grow, the canine mother teaches them to socialize and encourages self-dependency in her pups. But be aware, she might also be jealous of the attention her pups get and in response she might start to ignore them.

Canine mothers can also get pregnant by their sons, however, this type of breeding is also considered unethical and offsprings have a high chance to be affected by diseases.

Nevertheless, adopting a canine mother and her pups can be a great experience and can fill your life with joy.

Read related posts about

What do you think?