Each puppy is different for how long it takes them to adjust to life without their mother, but usually, it will take from 2 -3 days to a week or two.
It depends on the puppy’s personality and experience as to how adaptable they are, but you can expect most puppies to cry the first couple of nights.
After separation, they miss her because:
- Mum has been their primary source of food and comfort.
- They miss the security of the family unit.
- Up until now, they have relied on mum to meet their every need.
- They are alone in a strange home with new smells, and they are lonely.
A puppy who is outgoing and confident will probably adapt well within a day or two. There is so much to see, new things to do, and new people to spoil them.
A shy puppy will be frightened at being alone and unprotected and it may take them a week or two to adjust to life without moms protection.
Patience and lots of love and tender care will soon have your puppy exploding from their bed in the morning to enjoy the new day.
Breaking Up the Puppy’s Family Unit.
In a perfect world, there would be a perfect time to separate the puppy from its family life. But to be honest, the separation always comes as a shock for the puppy.
One day they are falling over their littermates and having meals on-demand from mum. The next thing that is all gone, replaced by a new home with new smells, and at night time they miss the warmth, company and protection of the family unit.
Puppies are normally not separated from the mother dog until they are at least 8 weeks of age because up until then, they are completely dependent on her.
They will miss mum (and their siblings) once they are separated, and the first few nights they will cry out for her, which is only natural.
How long they miss their mum is up to you; if you can make them feel protected, warm, and part of your family, the loneliness will go quickly. If you are happy to sleep with them on the bed, that will help. But not everyone wants to go that far.
The next best thing is keeping them in your bedroom beside your bed as it will bring comfort to your puppy as they will be able to smell that you are near, and if they get upset, you can reach out and reassure them with your touch.
As they learn to adjust to their new home, the puppy will suffer some anguish with the loss of their maternal mother, but it will lessen after a couple of days or so as they adapt to new challenges and gain confidence.
Just letting them know that they are not alone will reassure a young puppy. If you can try to replicate the feeling in their bed of snugness and comfort, it will help the lonely, scared puppy.
The Early Days At Home With You.
Life will take a bit of getting used to being a puppy with a human family. If you have another dog or cat, the puppy will try to make friends with them, which can help them to adjust.
A boisterous puppy will force them to accept their friendship, while a more timid puppy will take their time getting to know and accept them.
If you are aware of what puppy’s like and don’t like, it can help ease them into your life.
- They don’t like sudden loud noises – it frightens them and will make them cry.
- Changes also scare them, so try to help them through things like meeting your family, walking around the house, and meeting your other pets.
- Handle a timid puppy carefully, and make sure you offer them lots of lap cuddles.
- A crate can help a young puppy. It can become their own private space when they need it, and they will feel safe once they get used to it. But do leave the door open in the beginning so that they don’t feel trapped.
- At night, let your little puppy slow down and get snuggly. Don’t hype them up and then expect them to settle. Slow and cozy is the way to prepare them for the long night ahead.
- And make sure you take them out to the toilet before they bed down, otherwise, they may cry because they are busting. Their little bladders can’t hold on for long, so a toilet stop can help them over that hurdle.
- After the toilet, a quick cuddle then back to bed is the best way to get them used to sleeping through the night.
If you try to anticipate what your puppy’s first night will be like, and get prepared for it, you may settle your lonely little mutt the first night.
Introducing Them To Their New Home
A puppy is designed by nature to be cute: they need guidance and protection when they are young, so the cuteness is there to ensure your heart is captured and the puppy gets what it needs.
It is very tempting to get excited and spoil your little puppy with loads of attention, a pile of new toys, and tons to eat.
But don’t spoil them too much, or they will cry every time you walk out of the room.
Moderation is the key for a puppy. Encourage them to look around, get their bearings.
Allow them space to find out what this new place is like.
- Keep calm and ensure the rest of the family does too. Encourage young children not to yell or talk loudly because this will scare the puppy until they adjust.
- Accept the puppy into your space, but don’t overdo your excitement. A pup will pick up on your excitement and become hard to manage. An overexcited pup is almost as hard to handle as a timid little puppy.
- As the bond strengthens, they will gain confidence. But to grow into a well-rounded dog with good social skills, a young puppy needs leadership and guidance. And that is now your job, you are the head dog, you are their new leader.
- If they do something you rather they didn’t, just gently remove them and put them somewhere else. After you do that a few times (it will need repeating as puppies have terrible memories), they will eventually get the message.
- Guard them when they eat if you have other pets, as a young puppy can easily be pushed aside by an older dog or a bossy cat. The reason they are crying could be hunger-related.
- Remember that young puppies sleep a lot when they are just a few months old. So let that sleeping puppy lie. Another reason they may cry is probably not because they miss their mum, but they are dog tired and need some sleep!
The First Days With a Puppy Separated From Its Mother
A puppy learns a lot about where they fit in within the pack, and they start to understand and navigate the world around them from their interactions with their mother and littermates.
You can almost guarantee some typical separation behaviors from your puppy. They will need time and your company to adjust to this new life.
- They will probably howl, bark or cry when you put them in a room or crate of their own as they won’t like being alone.
- They may cry the moment you are out of sight, and they will follow you everywhere, even into the toilet, just to avoid being alone.
- Night-time is the loneliest as it is quiet and dark and everything is strange. There are no distractions, and they feel abandoned. They may have trouble settling to sleep because they are frightened.
- They may want to be constantly picked up and cuddled.
All this is normal considering that they are missing their mother. Normally when they would cry, she would appear, and they knew they were safe. Now when they cry, she doesn’t respond. It must be very scary and confusing for a young puppy.
How you respond during this period will affect how effectively your puppy will adjust and blend into your household. In a well-prepared family, your puppy should adjust within a day or two. Puppies are very adaptable – they have to be as life can change in the wild in an instant.
All it takes on your part is patience, consistency, and understanding. The pain of losing their mum will fade, and they will soon settle into their new life, but they need you to help them adjust to life without their biological mum.
The Transition Period
Most puppies are adopted out to new homes at around 8 -10 weeks of age. A puppy that is separated from its mother before 8 weeks of age often tends to be more nervous and less sociable.
The extra week or two that you wait before you get your new puppy is well worth the wait.
Most breeders understand and plan for gradual weaning or adoptions of the puppies as it is kindest to the mother. If they all went on the same day, she would get upset and grieve for them.
It is important to realize that this pathetic, crying little puppy now relies solely on you. Now that you have adopted them, you become their mom, and are responsible for raising this cute little pup to become a responsible trusted dog.
- A puppy has many weapons to try to get their way; those adorable eyes, those pleading looks, the cute licks, and snuggles … I mean… who can resist.
- But resist you must. You should be kind but firm. Never use brute force on a puppy – that is not acceptable. You get better results by using kind language, and rewarding good behavior while glossing over other behavior.
- Dogs are born to please. But like a naughty child, it is tempting to try to get things on their terms. But they love food and loving attention! And these are your secret weapons, so use them wisely.
- A puppy will feel more secure when you are there to correct them. They may not like getting a spray of water or a growl from you when they step out of line, but deep down, they know that they can rely on you to point them in the right direction.
- The more they accept you, the less they will worry about their biological mom and siblings. And for a young puppy, that is the greatest lesson that they must learn.
- They need to learn to become independent, to demonstrate socially accepted behaviors, and to trust their new home and family.
It is a lot for a young one to learn, and understandably, they will make a few mistakes.
But repeat the lessons as puppies need to be told many times before they catch onto what you want.
Patience and consistency are required to teach this young pup the skills you want them to learn.
Becoming a Team Member.
Young puppies just want to have fun!
There is so much to see, so much to explore! And it is more fun in a crowd.
And they tend not to have a fear of anything … which is why they need careful guidance to keep out of trouble.
- This fearless attitude stems from early life.
- A newborn puppy is young and helpless, so in the early days, they get away with most things. Mother does everything for them regardless of the hour or her own needs.
- So they grow up thinking that they can get away with whatever they want to. Their mother is probably relieved that you are taking away one of her little monsters and will retire with a sigh of relief to tend the remainder.
- Once your little dog accepts you and your family as their own family, the tears will stop, and they will start testing you to see how far they can push you. It is a puppy thing!
- They will chew your good shoes to pieces, chase the cat relentlessly, and will eat everything they discover from medication to toothpaste, to goodness knows what.
- An awareness of the nature of this little creature’s behavior is vital, or you will be making several emergency visits to your vet after yet another incident.
- If you have other pets in the home, giving them time out from an energetic puppy is a good idea. Always supervise a young puppy playing with an older pet. In a second, the older animal can snap and hurt a playful pup when they go too far.
- Get your puppy used to crate training, so that they can be still in the room, but are secure in their crate. That way, older pets get a break as they adjust to this new member of the family.
Socializing Helps Them Be Away From Mom.
Ideally, you want your new puppy to grow up confident and outgoing. A puppy that learns the confidence to be alone is the perfect pet. They are well adjusted and happy with life.
Without mixing with people or meeting new dogs, your puppy can become fearful. Then they will cry, but it’s not so much missing their mother, as being alone.
Enrol them in a puppy class at about 8 or 9 weeks of age so that they can learn important social skills.
All these things will help your puppy overcome the loneliness of being on their own without their mother to protect them. Keeping a young dog busy and providing loving support will let them know that you are there to protect them now.
You will help guide them, and they can rely on you.
Once your puppy gets that message, their memories of the mother dog and siblings will fade as they accept you and yours as their new pack, their forever family.
Writer: Jean Brewer