A mother dog becomes highly protective and attentive to her puppies after giving birth, often staying close to the litter and frequently grooming and feeding them. She may also bark more to protect her puppies and ensure no harm comes this way.
If your female dog has given birth and you wonder why she has suddenly started barking too much. You are at the right place. This article explains why a mother dog barks more after giving birth. It also explains how to soothe and relax the mother and her litter.
Reasons Dogs Bark More after Giving Birth
After giving birth, a mother dog’s instincts to protect her puppies intensify. She may bark at any perceived threats or unfamiliar individuals approaching her nesting area to keep them away from her vulnerable pups.
If there are unusual noises, movements, or changes in the environment around her den, a new mother may bark to express her unease. It’s her way of establishing boundaries around her puppies and ensuring their safety.
Postpartum, the mother dog can experience discomfort or pain. Issues like mastitis (breast tissue infection) or retained placental fragments can cause her distress, leading her to bark more than usual.
Stress and Anxiety
Adjusting to motherhood can be stressful. Changes in routine, increased responsibilities, and hormonal shifts can make a dog more anxious, causing increased vocalizations.
Sometimes, a mother dog barks to get the owner’s attention. She might be seeking assistance, like needing more food or water or help with a separated puppy.
After giving birth, a dog undergoes significant hormonal changes that can influence behavior. These shifts might lead to increased vocalization as she navigates her new role as a mother.
Signs of Maternal Aggression in Dogs
- Growling at Approach: When someone approaches her puppies, the mother might growl as a warning to back off.
- Snapping or Lunging: If she perceives a threat to her puppies, she may snap or lunge to deter the perceived threat.
- Rigid Body Posture: A mother dog might stiffen her body as a sign of tension and preparedness to defend her litter.
- Baring Teeth: Displaying her teeth is a clear warning sign that she is ready to protect her puppies.
- Guarding Behavior: She may place herself between her puppies and any perceived threat, acting as a barrier.
- Avoiding Interaction: To minimize potential threats, a mother dog might choose to hide away with her puppies and avoid interaction.
- Pinning Ears Back: This can be a sign of stress, anxiety, or agitation, indicating her discomfort with the situation around her litter.
- Whale Eyes (showing whites of eyes): This often indicates nervousness or discomfort, signaling that she feels threatened.
How to Control Dog Barking/Aggressiveness after Birth?
- Provide a Quiet Space: Create a secluded, quiet area for the mother and her puppies. This minimizes disturbances and reduces her need to be overly protective due to unfamiliar sounds or movements.
- Limit Visitors: Too many people around can stress the mother. Allow only essential family members near the mother and puppies for the first few weeks, and always under supervision.
- Desensitization: Gradually expose the mother to various stimuli at a distance and non-threatening manner. Reward her for calm behavior, helping her understand that not everything is a threat to her puppies.
- Obedience Training: Basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “quiet” can be helpful. If she already knows these commands, reinforcing them post-birth can help control her behavior.
- Use Calming Agents: Natural calming sprays, diffusers, or supplements can help soothe a stressed dog. Consult with a vet before using any product.
- Monitor Physical Health: Ensure she is free from post-birth complications like mastitis or infections. A comfortable mother is less likely to be aggressive.
- Stay Calm and Assertive: Dogs pick up on human emotions. Your dog is more likely to mirror that behavior if you’re calm and assertive. Avoid shouting or showing stress, as this can exacerbate her protective instincts.
- Consult a Behaviorist: If aggression persists, consult with a canine behaviorist or trainer who can provide tailored strategies for managing and modifying her behavior.
Why is Mother Dog biting her Puppies?
A mother dog might nip or “bite” her puppies to groom, move, or correct them. However, if she’s biting hard or causing harm, it could be due to stress, a health issue, or inadequate mothering instincts.
How does a Dog behave before giving Birth?
A dog about to give birth often becomes restless, may refuse food, digs or nests in her bedding, and may exhibit panting or shivering. She might also frequently check her rear end and seek a quiet and safe spot for delivery.
Do Dogs Experience Anxiety after Giving Birth?
Yes, dogs can experience anxiety after giving birth. This can manifest as increased vocalizations, protective behavior, or even avoiding or overly attending to their puppies. Hormonal changes and the responsibility of caring for the litter can contribute to this anxiety.
When to Call a Vet for a Mother Dog after Giving Birth?
Call a vet if the mother dog exhibits signs of distress like prolonged labor without producing a puppy, fever, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, neglecting her puppies, signs of pain or depression, or if she has not passed all placentas. It’s also crucial to consult a vet if she isn’t producing milk or shows signs of mastitis.