When a dog gives birth, she naturally knows how to care for and nurture the puppies by instinct. However, maternal behavioural problems can occur that would make the dog mother abandon the puppies, attack them or abandon them.

There are two forms of maternal behaviour problems in dogs. They include a Total lack of mothering instinct or excessive caring and mothering to the puppies.

Lack of maternal behaviour: This behaviour include

  • Little or no care for the puppies.
  • Abandoning of puppies
  • Preventing the puppies from sucking her.
  • Attacking the puppies.
  • Killing the puppies.

Excessive mothering behaviour: This behaviour is seen in female dogs that do not have puppies but try to take other dog’s puppies. This behaviour include

  • Attempting to nurse another dog’s puppies.
  • Guards another dog’s puppies and fights their mother.
  • Protects stuffed objects as if they are her puppies.

Causes of Maternal behaviour problems in dogs 

  • Fear or Stress
  • Sick mother.
  • Deformed/sick puppies.
  • Cesarean Section.
  • First Litter.
  • Too many puppies.
  • Hormonal disorder.

How to manage maternal behaviour problems.  

  • If your mother dog is neglecting the puppies due to sickness, you can hand-raise the puppies and get them treated.
  • If she is stressed or scared, put her and the puppies in a secluded area.
  • Separate sick/deformed puppies from the rest of the litter and raise them separately.