Why Newborn Puppies Should Sleep with Their Mom

A newborn puppy is essentially helpless and dependent on its mother, which is why a puppy needs to sleep and be with its mother.

Their mother:

  • Grooms the puppies, which stimulates them into action.
  • Provides valuable colostrum in her milk for antibodies and growth nutrients.
  • Stimulates the puppy to urinate or defecate.
  • Guides them until  their eyes and ears have opened
  • Helps to regulate the puppy’s body temperature.

Newborn puppies spend about 90 % of their time sleeping for the first few weeks of their life. That’s about 22 hours a day. But they wake up for short periods intermittently during the day.

Sleeping with mom and the other siblings helps to keep them warm. When they are awake, the mom spends a lot of time grooming and feeding her babies.

Their world revolves around the mother dog, her warmth, milk, and grooming.

The mother dog provides everything her youngsters need, including safety and security. That is why it is so vital that the newborn puppies sleep with their mother who will give them a great start to life.

The puppies should remain with mom for the first eight to ten weeks of their life, in which time they will learn valuable lessons from her about canine behavior and socialization skills.


The Power from Sleeping With Mom.


Mom Keeps Them Warm

Young puppies are pretty helpless when they are firstborn. For the first two weeks of their life, they cannot regulate their body temperate and need to snuggle with mom and the other puppies to keep warm.

They take turns sleeping at the bottom and the top of the pile of siblings. This develops social skills as they vie for the best position.

They can barely wiggle their way to mom and claim a teat that provides essential nutrients. Their legs are almost useless, but they soon strengthen up, and within a week or two they are moving around a lot easier.

But most of all, sleeping with the parent dog provides valuable protection, which makes the puppies feel safe. 


Mom’s Nurtering Gives Them Confidence

They develop with a stronger personality and more confidence than an orphaned puppy who is being hand-reared. It takes a lot of time and devotion to raise an abandoned newborn puppy.

So it is not just the comfort of sleeping with mom, it comes with many other benefits as well.

She will check each puppy time and time again, making sure everything is right within her demanding family.

But for now, all a puppy needs is a warm bed, grooming and care from mom, and of course food. And that is all supplied by the mother dog.


They Learn Valuable Lessons From the Mother Dog

Socialization and Discipline

Socializing skills begin in the den with the mother dog and other littermates. A puppy will soon discover as they grow in size what their mother deems to be preferred behavioral skills.

A basket full of puppies takes a lot of time to feed and groom. Then she has to teach them about not biting too hard, the limit for rough play, and to respect her at feed time when puppies can get so excited and become quite rough.

As they grow, the mother will teach them what is good behavior and what is not. But her patience does have a limit, and the puppy may get a shock as she goes into teaching mode.

A misbehaving puppy will soon get pulled into line from mom. A classic low snarl with bared teeth usually gets the message across. It says she means business, and the puppy had better stop messing around!

If the snarl doesn’t get a result, a louder growl and intimidating stance from the mother dog should get the puppy’s attention. But there is always one that will push things a little too far.

If the naughty puppy doesn’t get her message, then she may put her mouth over the pup’s head or muzzle area and hold them firmly to the ground. This measure encourages the puppy to take a submissive pose or else!

When a wise puppy takes on a submissive pose after punishment, they are acknowledging that mom has the higher status. They are aware that her word is final. They may grovel and whine quietly with their tail tucked between the hind legs while begging her forgiveness.

This is a valuable lesson in socializing about what is good behavior, and what is inappropriate. A puppy who misses out on these life lessons can grow up to be hard to control or train, and can become an aggressive dog.

This video shows mom training her brood to be calm and to wait before feeding. It is priceless!

She has just come back to them, and the pups want their food – now!  In their haste to get fed, they are rough and start grabbing for her.

A few snarls and nips get the message across that they need to calm down, and they do. She does not feed them until they have calmed down and the puppies are waiting for her invitation for them to feed.

It is lessons like these that only a mother dog can teach a pup which makes it essential for the newborn puppy to stay with their mother.


The Fundamentals of Life.

Puppies will learn a variety of essential life skills under her tutorage. These skills take time for a newborn puppy to learn, so staying with the litter and snuggled up to mum to sleep is vitally important for their development 

Development Skills include.

  • Behavioral patterns learned during play that are specific to dogs, such as body posture.
  •  Inhibition through play. When they bite too hard, the other puppy will yelp. This will get an immediate reaction from the mother, which lets the pup know it’s not ok to bite that hard.
  • Basic puppy manners such as their respect when they meet a stronger dog. Often the younger dog will almost cower and hold still while being sniffed by the older dog. Keeping low to the ground means the puppy is submitting to the other dog.
  • To be gentle during interaction with their siblings. The rough play has a level at which it becomes unacceptable.
  • Learning to become aware of their world and they get exposed to a variety of sights, sounds, and smells while they have mom to watch their backs.
  • Puppies get used to meeting people under mom’s watchful eye. They learn not to be afraid or anxious about being held and petted.
  • Staying with mom allows the puppy to make the transition from her milk to other solid foods without any ill effects.
  • Sleeping in a bundle with mom and their siblings promotes confidence and contentment that everything is ok in their world.

Under the mother’s watchful eyes, the puppies can grow up to be confident, outgoing bundles of joy.


NNot Having Close Contact Has Bad Effects

Without a doubt, the mother dog’s influence is crucial to developing a happy, healthy puppy to grow into a successful adult canine.

Without her to provide care, warmth, and milk during the early days of life, and then to shape the characteristics of the youngster before they are weaned, a puppy will be emotionally immature and face difficulties in adapting to a new environment.


Developmental problems include:

  • Missing out on vital nutrition they need to survive and flourish.
  • They are often more susceptible to disease as they haven’t built up enough immunity.
  • Removing a puppy too early from their mom can cause difficulty in bonding to humans. 
  • They miss out on essential life skills.
  • A puppy removed too early from mom can become anxious and fearful.
  • Lack of confidence may turn to aggression as they get older.
  • Early separation impacts their ability to socialize with both humans and other dogs.
  • They cannot learn easily, and they are often hard to train.
  • Being left alone causes anxiety, so crying, barking, and whining become the norm.
  • Destructive behavior as they try to curb their anxiety by destroying your furniture and home.
  • Separation anxiety where your pup clings to you like velcro all the time.
  • Toy selfishness and refusing to share amongst other pets and children.
  • Food greed, they are scared of missing out.
  • They develop into attention seekers.
  • A puppy who is removed too early from mom’s care often doesn’t live as long as the puppies who have those vital extra weeks.

As you can see, there are substantial consequences from taking a newborn puppy away from sleeping and living with their mom.

Your puppy needs to be with their mother in the first 8 – 10 weeks of their life. Your life will be so much easier if you let the mother dog do her thing.

You will have plenty of time to become a dog mom after those vital weeks, and the puppy you choose will be easier to train, bond with, and will be resistant to disease, and will exude confidence.


Confidence is a Dog Called Mom.

The beauty of being with mom means playing under her caring gaze, sleeping without any fears, and learning to grow into the confident dog you would hope they will be as they grow older and become more independent.

The lessons they have learned as they enjoyed sleeping by her side will last them a lifetime.

By the time they are 8 – 10 weeks old, the mother will probably be pleased to start getting her life back to herself, as one by one the puppies go to their new homes. Her care and guidance have shaped the puppies’ personalities, and they have learned some basic discipline.

She has devoted those vital weeks to shaping the puppies into acceptable pack members (which includes being part of our human families) that will go out into the world with assurance and self-reliance.

The puppies still have a lot more to learn, but that is where you come in. That is your role when you become their human mom/dad. But thanks to a good teacher (their mother), they have learned the vital basic lessons that can be built on as they grow.

Writer: Jean Brewer

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