Pudgy Pets - did we make a mistake?

View Full Version : did we make a mistake?

04-26-2010, 11:15 AM
I knwo this sounds odd but before we got our German Shepherd spayed, I worried she would lose her mothering instincts with her 3 month old pup. My dh told me it wouldn't happen that she would only lose the ability to nurse her pup but she would always be a mother to her pup.
Before spaying her, she was very playful and caring with her pup. When we fed them she would let her pup eat from her bowl because it was her child. She would calmly walk to the other bowl to eat instead. When we had another dog, she would growl at him and run him off. We no longer have that dog now...only mom and her pup. She just seemed very caring.
Since her spay procedure on Friday, she seems distant toward her pup. When the pup comes to play with her she ignores her or after the pup's gone too far she'll growl and/or snap at her pup. I find the pup playing by herself most of the time and she's starting to make holes and chew stuff. When we feed them and the pup starts eating from mom's bowl instead of her own, mom will growl and slap at the pup.
Its almost as if we went from having a mom and her pup to two dogs. Now dh is mad that he wishes someone would've told us about this, we would've waited a few more months before doing it. These are the only dogs we have so its not like we had to worry about other dogs.
I don't know, I feel bad for the pup. :(

04-26-2010, 12:00 PM
First off, she was only spayed on Friday so she may not be feeling quite herself. It actually takes a while, a few months, for the hormones to be out of her system so you wouldn't be seeing changes due to spaying so soon.

What you are probably seeing is the expiration of your puppy's "puppy license". Adult dogs tend to let pups get away with all kinds of typically unacceptable dog behavior because they are puppies. But around 3 months the "puppy license" expires and growing dogs are expected to learn how to become polite adult dogs. If you google "puppy license" you'll find a bunch to read.

Polite dogs do not hone in another dog's food. Or play too rough if the other dog hasn't invited rough play. Your adult dog is doing her daughter a favor by teaching her the rules of polite doghood. If you go to a dog park you'll see many rude dogs who never got the proper puppy socialization. My dogs are also herding dogs (herding dogs are all very rules driven) and they hate dog parks because of all the rude dogs (usually Labs and Goldens whose owners think it is "friendly" for their dogs to be rude.

Anyway, your adult dog would have started teaching her pup these lessons whether she'd been spayed or not. And I bet, once she's fully recovered from her surgery she'll go back to playing with her daughter, although you may see he setting more limits as the pup grows.

04-26-2010, 12:00 PM
If the procedure was done on Friday, the poor dog is still recovering and doesn't feel well. Give her a week or two to get back to herself.

04-26-2010, 12:23 PM
Its true she just had the surgery so she's not feeling good. and true she was always setting her pup straight or was quick to correct her pup when she did something wrong but she acted like a pup herself when they were playing. Actually most of the time they would be playing.
It just seemed weird that the very next day after getting her spayed she started acting like this was a pup we brought home and she just had no patience for the pup at all.
I've spayed and neutered other dogs and cats and they've come home as if nothing had happened. No sign of pain or anything. I don't know maybe its that she's a bigger dog that she's going through more pain from the procedure. She just doesn't seem herself. She'll walk around like normal but she seems like she doesn't want to do much.

04-26-2010, 12:36 PM
Of course she doesn't seem herself, she just had major surgery. If you had a hysterectomy or other major surgery, see how patient you would be with your family during the first few days of recovery.

Pain is one issue, but recovery from anesthesia is another. I worked in a psychiatric ward in the hospital, and you'd be surprised at how many people have temporary mental problems after surgery as a rare, yet fairly common (in other words rare, but not all that rare) side effect of the anesthesia.

Also dogs do not show pain as humans do. They show more pain than cats do - but both are predators. In the wild, a weak predator is a dead predator, at risk from both friend and foe. They're instinct tells them to act as normally as possible (so the only sign of pain is the one you mention - not being as active as normal). Not wanting to do much is the most common sign of pain (and often the only one you'll see).

I said an injured or ill animal is at risk from friend and foe, because when social predators like wolves and lions become sick or injured they're often attacked by their own family members - it's an instinctive reaction to "odd" behavior. It's often seen in dogs as well (remember dogs are genetically still wolves, with all the instincts of wolves. Sometimes they're diluted, but they're all still there). In the wild, and even in a household "pack" your mama dog has good reason to fear all of her packmates during this delicate time. She's on the defensive because her genes tell her she has to be.

Her normal pack behavior will return when she feels strong enough to defend herself fully.

04-28-2010, 06:05 PM
You made the right choice in spaying. My SO kept procrastinating and the more I urged him to get it done, the more he seemed to avoid the topic. Needless to say, we had a beautiful litter of "mutts" last fall. I remember when the pups were first learning to eat and mom was still nursing part time, if any of them made a move to her food bowl, she would growl and shove them out of the way - and she was/is the most gentle dog we'd ever had, who never had an issue with that. That was when they were much younger than your three months, but I imagine what the behavior you're witnessing is just mom laying down the rules. We ended up keeping two of our puppies from our litter, and have mom and dad. They are now a happy family unit and though we have a lot of fur and a lot of slobber, the entire experience, from birth til now has been amazing. Be grateful for it and enjoy watching them change. Discipline between a mom and her pups are amazing. To this day, she still knows she's momma and will keep them in line. We ended up getting her spayed 8 weeks after the pups were born.

04-29-2010, 10:31 AM
The whole experience was amazing as you said. She is a wonderful mom even though she gets a little rough with her daughter. LOL
Thank Goodness, she's back to herself again, still not nearly as loving with her pup but she's started showing her the ropes again and taking her to the acreage to explore.
Dh is gonna start training the pup in basic obedience. She tends to zig-zag very close when you're walking almost to the point (especially dangerous since I'm pregnant) of tripping you. And she's starting to jump at you when you go out and feed her, she will try tipping the cup before you bring it down to the bowl. Totally things that can be corrected. :)