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Old 12-14-2010, 05:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mother attacks 3 week old puppies

What is this about? I go downstairs after hearing the mother growl and bark agressively, only to find a puppy with blood around it's mouth and one eye shut as if it were just mauled by it's own mother?!

If anyone can, please answer the following questions:

1. Is this normal?

2. Should I just substitute mother's milk for formula?

3. Should I separate the puppies from the mother?
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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No it is NOT normal.

However, if the bitch is rejecting the pups and they are in danger, which it sounds like they are, they need to be separated from her or they may all end up injurred or dead. At this age their teeth are coming in and that makes nursing uncomfortable for the dam, but most will tolerate it. She may not tolerate it, and is overreacting and that can lead to serious problems.

While 3 weeks is early to be weaning, it can be done at this age. Start them on puppy gruel several meals a day. Let them nurse a few times a day until fully weaned, but be with her when it happens and hold her down and muzzle her if necessary and then take her back out. If she is hurting her pups she can't be left alone with them.

How is the pup that was injurred????
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with Chris....this is NOT NORMAL.
I would definitely separate the puppies from the mother, and start caring for them yourself.
Also to add.....I have heard of females becoming aggressive with puppies if the mothers feeding dish is close by. Another breeder that we know (no names mentioned)...had a female that destroyed her litter, because she was food aggressive. Personally, THAT female would have been omitted from having any future litters....
Bitches that show aggression to their puppies....should not be used as breeding females..IMO.
I hope the puppy recovers, and your litter does well.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Is the mother your 8 month old? If so...she's still a baby herself...
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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While it may not be "normal" behavior, it is most certainly not unusual behavior. Immature, ill, and stressed bitches will kill and even eat their puppies. This is more common in very young bitches and first-time moms. Sometimes this behavior is seen immediately after giving birth, sometimes after the pups start moving around (and, yes, teething). Mom should not be left alone with the puppies without constant and close supervision. She should see a vet ASAP to make sure that she is not ill: no infection, mastitis, malnourishment, dehydration, wounds on her nipples, etc. The safety of the pups and the well being of the bitch are equally important. If she is physically healthy, producing and adequate amount of milk, etc then she may be emotionally unstable enough to handle raising a litter. Make sure she and the puppies are in a calm, quiet, non stressful room where she can be watched closely. If you see her getting stressed (panting, "freezing" her stare, turning her head away from the puppies, growling, pacing, or trying to get away from the puppies) remove her from the puppies and give her a "rest period". Do not reprimand her (this will increase her anxiety and tension), just let her relax away from the pups for a while, then see how she is when she is returned to them. Some bitches react negatively to the litter when they begin to feel "trapped" and can't seem to get away from them, but do better when given regular breaks away from them. If the puppies are in danger, of course, you may need to separate Mom and pups permanently and do the raising by hand from this point on. Hope both Mom and the little guys are okay!
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If the puppies are 3 weeks old, you can start weaning them. That would be my suggestion instead of stressing the mother further by muzzling her and forcing her to let the puppies wean. I agree with everyone else that this is not normal and that this bitch should not be bred again. People tend to blame poor mothering behavior on age or experience but the fact is that in dogs who are good mothers, it is very instinctual. For dogs who are not, they lack that instinct and if they are bad with the first litter, they will be bad with the second and the third. The only exception to this I have known if if mothers are in extremely stressful situations.

You can start them on this formula but they probably won't need to be bottle fed: Leerburg | Bottle Feeding Puppies
Over the course of the week, once they start really lapping the formula up well, you can start to add some ground meat to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EchoGSD View Post
While it may not be "normal" behavior, it is most certainly not unusual behavior. Immature, ill, and stressed bitches will kill and even eat their puppies. This is more common in very young bitches and first-time moms. S
Sorry this is wrong. Yes very stressed mothers sometimes can and will attack or even eat their puppies. But for a mother with good mothering instinct and a sound temperament, they should not be that stressed in their home, with puppies that have had for 3 weeks. All dogs are inexperienced with their first litter but it is unusual for them to want to attack their puppies.

Last edited by AgileGSD; 12-14-2010 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You might have to consider that there might be something wrong with the pups as well. Our cat had kittens many moons ago, and she tried to cull them because a couple of them had eye infections.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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"Sorry this is wrong. Yes very stressed mothers sometimes can and will attack or even eat their puppies. But for a mother with good mothering instinct and a sound temperament, they should not be that stressed in their home, with puppies that have had for 3 weeks. All dogs are inexperienced with their first litter but it is unusual for them to want to attack their puppies."

I've worked in veterinary hospitals for over 30 years and have seen many many cases of previously sound bitches attacking their pups: sometimes just one pup, sometimes an entire litter. Sometimes once, sometimes many times over many days (if not blocked). It is not at all unusual for the aggression toward the pups to develop after several weeks. It is wrong to assume that "motherly instinct" is either there or it is not: I know of several bitches who were aggressive with their first litter but not with subsequent litters. I also know some dogs who were fine with the first litters but became unsettled and aggressive with subsequent ones. I once owned a very aggressive GSD whose mother was also very aggressive and by all accounts should not have been bred at all...but she was an excellent mother to her pups. There are no "cookie cutter" answers to this issue. The bitch should be seen by a vet to ensure she is not ill or injured, and the pups should be protected (and this often means removing them from the mother permanently).
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I hope the puppy is ok now...how is he/she doing?
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EchoGSD View Post

I've worked in veterinary hospitals for over 30 years and have seen many many cases of previously sound bitches attacking their pups: sometimes just one pup, sometimes an entire litter. Sometimes once, sometimes many times over many days (if not blocked). It is not at all unusual for the aggression toward the pups to develop after several weeks. It is wrong to assume that "motherly instinct" is either there or it is not: I know of several bitches who were aggressive with their first litter but not with subsequent litters. I also know some dogs who were fine with the first litters but became unsettled and aggressive with subsequent ones. I once owned a very aggressive GSD whose mother was also very aggressive and by all accounts should not have been bred at all...but she was an excellent mother to her pups.
Aggression (dog or animal or human) and mothering instinct are not really related. Sure it happens that dogs are bad mothers. But it should not be viewed as normal behavior, not even in young and/or inexperienced bitches. It is not something that one should accept as "normal" in their breeding dogs. Very often poor mothers produce poor mothers produce poor mothers.
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