Why Do Dogs Growl At Their Puppies

To signal to her puppies that it is time to stop nursing, mom will growl. Mom will begin weaning the puppies off solid foods when they are about 6 weeks old. After this point, if they still continue to reach for the teat, Mom might snarl at them to stop them. Although not all breastfeeding bitches will do this, many will. It’s usually advisable to let the puppies’ mother teach them when it’s time to move on if they are 6 weeks old or older. The puppies must have access to clean, fresh drinking water so they have a choice other than sucking at their mother’s teats, even if you shouldn’t interfere at this point.

Why is my dog acting violently against her young?

A bacterial illness known as mastitis can damage one or more milk-producing glands. Due to the pain, the female dog will not want to nurse her puppies, and she may even snap or bite at them if they attempt to do so on the teat that is afflicted. If the puppies nurse from a teat that has mastitis, they could also get sick.

In some cases, a retained placenta or a puppy that passed away in utero might cause the female to get a uterine infection. When your female dog has an illness, she may hurt her puppies unintentionally just because she doesn’t feel well.

When a puppy is sick and not going to live, natural instincts will take over. In certain cases, the mother dog will even hurt or kill the sick puppy to put an end to its suffering. She will push the sick youngster away from the healthy babies. It’s likely that the puppy or puppies are sick and won’t make it if you see your female pushing one or two of them away.

Some female dogs, who are either indolent or irresponsible, will unintentionally hurt their puppies. Sometimes large breed dogs would lie on puppies, suffocating or crushing them. You will need to keep a watchful eye on the puppies when your female is roaming around the whelping box if she lacks the inclination to nose her offspring into the center of the whelping box before resting down.

Some female dogs need a peaceful, isolated area to give birth to and raise their puppies. When there is too much commotion or activity around her puppies, your female may start hurting them in an effort to defend them from any perceived outside threat.

Some female dogs were just not suited to being mothers. If the puppies approach her too closely, these dogs will walk away from them, avoid them, and even snap at them. Dogs shouldn’t be bred during their first heat cycle since they are not yet mature enough to deal with the strain of raising a litter for six to eight weeks or even carrying a litter. Inexperienced mothers frequently fail to connect with and show interest in their puppies.

Occasionally, new mothers could not identify their puppies as their own. Female dogs that have undergone cesarean sections are particularly susceptible to losing sight of their puppies. They won’t have developed a link with the puppies and might even try to hurt them rather than care for them.

Why does my dog hiss at her young?

This might sound counterproductive and even go against what your dog trainer or other dog trainers you’ve seen on TV have to say. If your dog growls at your child, he is clearly signaling you that he is very uncomfortable with what the child is doing or being so close to. Be thankful that your dog decided to growl as a warning rather than bite. If you punish the growling, you might stop the dog from growling as a warning the next time, and the dog might bite without first growling. Punishment or reprimanding the dog will not make him feel better about the child; rather, it may make him feel more uncomfortable and increase his likelihood of biting in the future, particularly if you are not present to control the situation. Yamei Ross, a canine trainer, says “It’s analogous to deactivating your smoke detector’s batteries to punish a dog for growling. The threat is still present even though you don’t want to hear the noise.”

The dog and child should be kept apart until the child learns to treat the dog with compassion and respect if they are unable to follow instructions or have developed a pattern of being rough with the dog.

  • the level of supervision
  • To ensure that your dog is not ill or in discomfort, take him to the veterinarian.
  • Consult a dog behavior expert for guidance. This person will employ positive reinforcement to assist in teaching the dog to adjust his attitude and to love the child’s company.

Because the dog hasn’t bitten yet, you shouldn’t presume that he won’t. Dogs may grow less tolerant as they age. The dog’s tolerance for hard treatment can decline as kids age. What a tragedy if your child’s final recollection of a devoted, long-time family member is of them biting them. For more information on the causes of dog bites and growls, visit our Why Dogs Bite page.

Always remember to thank your children when they tell you whether the dog growls. Avoid criticizing them or making them feel guilty about something they did (even if they did do something you have told them not do). The next time, they won’t come to you with this knowledge after getting in trouble for making the dog snarl and then informing you about it. The child may also need some behavior correction.

You may have read or heard that it’s crucial to be the alpha in your household and that you must establish your dominance over the dog in order to regulate his behavior. Your dog may be accused of dominance, and you may be instructed to frighten or coerce him into taking his rightful place at the bottom of the pack. The dog may become more agitated and prone to bite if you take a tougher stance.

What should I do if my dog hisses at my brand-new puppy?

A new puppy is thrilling, at least for the family’s humans. However, there are situations when the family dog doesn’t consider the puppy to be a welcoming addition. Many individuals think their present dog will make a fine dog “mother” or “daddy” and that the addition of a puppy will make the family peaceful. When that doesn’t occur, they are disappointed. Expectations are frequently unreal, but what human family members typically observe instead of those expectations is entirely natural.

Families and their current pets can make the process of bringing home a new puppy as simple as possible by being prepared in advance.

What to expect

Over the past 12 years, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to welcome 15 puppies into our home. In our capacity as puppy raisers for a service dog organization, my husband and I welcome one new pup on average every year. He is about 8 weeks old when the new puppy shows up. For the very first time, he is separated from his littermates, mama, and his comfortable surroundings.

Every fresh puppy addition has taught us more about how adult dogs and puppies integrate, and we currently have three dogs (permanent family members). As we work on puppy number 15, here is what I’ve discovered so far:

  • No dog in my household has ever greeted a new puppy with open arms (paws)
  • The dogs growl, snap, and scurry away from the puppy.
  • NO dog has ever harmed a puppy.

These findings are quite typical. Year after year, my dogs have extended the same welcome to every new puppy. In my experience, most dogs don’t roll out the “welcome wagon” when a new puppy joins the family, though the occasional dog will enjoy doing so.

Communication skills

Puppies are still developing their communication skills with one another. Puppies typically have only ever read their own littermates and mother. They lack knowledge of the “rules of the road” when it comes to engaging with new and diverse canines because their communication skills are still growing.

Even their play habits differ from those of adult dogs. There are significant distinctions between how pups and adult dogs interact when they play. Dogs adhere to a set of guidelines. One must greet one another in a particular manner. There is a certain method for inviting play. Play can be halted in some way. Adult dogs adhere to a whole network of manners that makes their social interactions predictable and delightful. Dogs have a common language, and mature dogs are proficient speakers of it.

Puppies don’t adhere to the guidelines that older dogs use to have effective, reliable doggie communication. Puppies are not even aware that there are regulations! The only ground rule for play between littermates is respect for one another. I’ve seen a puppy leap joyously and carelessly on his sleeping littermate’s head. That littermate plays joyfully with the head-jumper after waking up. With that kind of feedback, it is understandable that pups don’t recognize the existence of laws in the world.

When a puppy arrives at a new home and there isn’t another puppy nearby to play with, he instinctively chooses the adult dog because it is the next closest thing. The puppy jumps himself upon the adult dog’s head while it is asleep, just like he did with his littermates. The dozing dog exclaims, “What a horrible wakeup!” And the fresh puppy is completely unprepared for and startled by the adult dog’s snarl. Sometimes, if the growl and snarl aren’t enough to stop the puppy from relaunching himself onto the sleeping dog, a complete set of teeth and the most guttural growl you’ve ever heard will.

Hear this

Our adult canines claim that puppies are extremely unsocialized and have a lot to learn. We appreciate the valuable lessons our adult dogs have taught the puppies we’ve housed. Where the lines are painted is the puppy’s first instruction. Our dogs teach the puppy a multitude of DONTs, including the following:

  • NOT on my head, please.
  • I’m playing with a toy; don’t steal it.
  • When I’m eating, DON’T put your face in my dish.
  • NEVER step on me.
  • DO NOT bite my tail or ears.
  • DO NOT squish me.
  • DO NOT bark at me.
  • AVOID getting any closer.

Everything is good as long as the adult dogs behave appropriately (they shouldn’t interact with the pup, for example), and the puppy starts to pick up on the new house’s regulations. It takes around three weeks for the adults and the puppy to start playing, though it may take two of our three dogs up to five weeks before they decide to play with the puppy.


Monitoring is crucial. I observe all of their interactions because the puppy lacks the same set of social abilities as the adult dog. I want to be there to help the puppy learn how to behave in social situations appropriately and to maintain order for the adult canines. I also want my elder dogs to be aware that I’m there to act as a go-between for them; they can rely on me to prevent the puppy from being a bother. The more I watch over the pup, the less chance the dogs have to snap, bark, or snarl at it.

The adult dogs in the family are frequently expected to put up with everything the puppy can muster.

The adult dogs in the family are frequently expected to put up with everything the puppy can muster. That would be like asking restaurant customers to allow a stranger’s youngster jumping over and beneath their tables! These assumptions make the puppy vulnerable to misfortune. The puppy won’t pick up the critical social skills he’ll require to survive in the world of dogs. Additionally, it is unfair to the dogs who reside in your home. The adult dogs may initially tolerate it, but eventually the puppy’s behavior reaches a breaking point. When that happens, the dog might react more forcefully than he would have if the pup had been told to stop much earlier in the process.

Crates, gates, and pens

For some peaceful time, I like to place the adult dogs or the puppy in the crate, behind a gate, or in an exercise pen (x-pen). A pleasant life together can be achieved by imposing regular, timed, and consistent periods of puppy and adult dog separation. Puppies typically have a strong work ethic. They don’t give up easily, and an older dog may put up with their antics for a lot longer than the dog would like. Both the puppy and the dog are getting the needed breaks from one another by scheduling times for separation.

Escape route

Both the dog and the puppy need to have a “safe abode” and an escape route. Early on in our years of raising service dogs, I trained my dogs how to leave a bothersome puppy alone. If my dogs were starting to get agitated with the puppy, I would yell “kennel.” They would rush to their crate, which I would then fill with a frozen filled Kong and shut. By giving the dogs a special treat, the bothersome situation may be resolved. When they had had enough of the puppy, they very quickly started self-crating. I almost always follow up that decision to self-crate with the delivery of a frozen stuffed Kong.