Dog Litter Separation
Did you know that separating a puppy from his litter at the age of 30 weeks below can increase the risk of developing aggressive behaviors?
If you're planning to adopt a puppy, you need to know that dog litter separation can be challenging, just as human separation.
On this page, we'll discuss
The proper timeline you should follow to ensure a smooth transition of your puppies to their new home
Potential negative consequences of too separating puppies from their litter too early
7 simple tips and tricks on how to handle puppies suffering from litter separation
So, What is the Right Age for Dog Litter Separation?
Most responsible breeders and experts advise you to wait until the puppy is eight weeks old before carrying out a dog litter separation. Your puppies are dependent on their mothers and need to be with their siblings for at least eight weeks and spend time with them. It's a common practice to separate a dog from the litter when they're 6 to 8 weeks old. But learning social skills takes time, and it can last for around 6 to 12 weeks.
So, others wait until the pup is 10 to 12 weeks before bringing home their pup.
But you may wonder why puppies must stay with their siblings and mother when they're below eight weeks old. So, let's dig into that!
Why Do Puppies Need to Stay With Their Littermates At This Age?
These adorable creatures need to grow up along with their littermates and mothers for at least eight weeks to:
Potential Consequences of Early Dog Litter Separation
Not following the proper timeline for dog litter separation can have negative effects not just on their physical health but also on their mental and social skills.
Your puppy may suffer from the poor physical condition and increased disease susceptibility.
Puppy separation anxiety from mother may also occur and that can hinder the transition. There's also a high risk of mother dog depression after puppies leave, especially when their kids are below 8 weeks.
You may also notice decreased weight gain induced by puppy separation anxiety from litter.
If he cannot learn about appropriate bite inhibition, he might hurt other dogs even when he's just goofing around. Furthermore, he may also hurt you unintentionally.
Separating him from his littermates too soon may decrease his learning ability too.
They can be difficult to train if they don't learn discipline from their mothers.
A study in Italy regarding dog's early separation from litter also revealed that most dogs who were separated from the litter too early showed the following behavioral problems more than the dogs separated at 60 days:
fearfulness on walks
aversion to strangers
reactivity to noise
and play biting
Do Puppies Miss Their Littermates?
You may probably wonder about the question “do puppies miss their siblings” since humans do. It's hard to answer this question since some experts don't believe puppies will miss their littermates. But they may miss their playmates, although they probably won't recognize them when they meet later in life. However, since puppies spend at least the first eight or nine weeks of their lives with their littermates, adjusting to their new environment can be challenging.
Your pup may feel stressed or anxious during the transition. Others may even cry or whine, and it's normal.
But by showering your pup with lots of love and tender care, transitioning will be smoother, and any sign that they miss their littermates will soon be gone.
What to Expect After Dog Litter Separation
Separating littermates is surely not easy! When your puppy gets separated from his mother and siblings, he may exhibit the following behavior.
He might cry when he's alone, or you're out of sight and follow you around wherever you go.
You can also expect a barking or crying session if you'd put him inside his crate.
He might also get frightened easily by loud noises such as vacuum cleaners, doorbells, or raised voices.
Your puppy may also want you to hold him constantly to feel safe and protected.
He may also be restless or have trouble falling asleep at night.
These behaviors are normal when they're brought to a new place with new people, sounds, smells, and sights. But by discovering how they may act, you can understand and handle them much easier and help them adjust and transition into their new home.
Tips on How to Handle Dog Litter Separation and Anxiety
Now how should you prepare your puppy for litter separation and how should you deal with the consequences of separating him from his siblings?
Here are before and after tips that can help you get through this process and comfort for little one:
1. Keep your home free from loud noise
Since your pup is sensitive to loud noise, you must ensure his new environment is calm and peaceful.
2. Bring something from the litter
Pups are scent-oriented. So if possible, bring a blanket or toy that smells like their family or a fresh blanket when you pick up your new puppy and ask if you can rub it on the dam.
Your dog will feel more at ease in their new home if they have this blanket, which has a pleasant aroma.
To add another scent source, you can ask the breeder for a toy your puppy's mother and siblings have used. Once your puppy is home, put the scented blanket inside or on top of the kennel.
3. Make them feel safe using a ticking clock
This old-fashioned way of putting a ticking clock near your pup's crate is effective because the sound simulates their mom's heartbeat.
4. Place his crate somewhere near you
Most puppies feel secure and protected when they're close to you, their new parent. So, many owners place their dog's crate inside their bedroom so they won't feel isolated or alone. Puppies also find comfort when they hear your voice or someone's petting them. But you must expect some whining and barking before they feel comfortable inside your room and settle down.
5. Create a routine
Dogs enjoy having a routine, and it'll help ease the transition. So, try to have a consistent feeding, walking, and potty break schedule. And, of course, don't forget to incorporate playtime into your routine.
6. Socialize with your pup
As we said earlier, you'll become the puppy's new parent once they leave their pack. So, he may become needy of attention and contact from you. Playtime can also help distract them while providing mental and physical stimulation. So try using stimulating dog toys that do not pose a choking hazard. Taking your little one to your family's or your friend's house and introducing him to other dogs can greatly help to develop his social skills.
7. Get a hot water bottle wrapped in a blanket
If the previous methods still don't work, we recommend this time-tested technique that helps settle down puppies. Try wrapping a hot water bottle with a blanket or soft towel. They put it inside their crate to feel the heat, just like when they're with their mother and littermates.
Final Takeaways About Dog Litter Separation
Dog litter separation is stressful for our furry little friends, but it's inevitable. Since you'll take over and replace their mother's role as a parent, it's your responsibility to make them feel as comfortable as possible and provide for all their needs. By making them feel loved, cared for, and protected, separation would be less traumatic, and the risk of anxiety caused by puppy separation from litter.