Ever had your dog bring you his favorite toy when you arrived home from work? What about their newborn puppies? Not quite the same scenario, however, a valid occurrence in both cases. It is natural for dogs to be super protective of their litter, so how come you get to have the privilege of such gift giving?
From that dirty sock in the hamper to their most prized possession, our dogs seem to have an overwhelming need to surprise and lavish us with gifts. Let’s find out more about what drives dogs to bring us their puppies and what it means when they choose to display their affection in this way.
The Root of the Behavior
Most of the behaviors your dog will express during his lifetime will be strongly connected to his ancestral roots. It seems that carrying and retrieving stems from their natural hunting behaviors. Much like wolves in the wild, dogs will show greater appreciation towards the pack leader… and that, of course, means you. The adults of the household fulfill the alpha role and top position of the pack, which means that your furry companion looks to you for guidance and direction, recognizing you as the ultimate protection for their babies.
Think about how special it makes you feel when they bring you their favorite toy and lay them beside you. How much more special should you feel when your dog brings you her puppies? It is the strongest sign of affection and trust they will “bestow” upon someone. The normal reaction you would expect to see may be growling or snapping at you simply for reaching down to pick one of their babies up.
Instead, you are greeted with a joyful litter of the cutest puppies on earth. It is their way of showing how comfortable they feel around you and how much trust goes into your relationship. It could also be that the momma is extremely proud of her puppies and she simply wants to show them off. Whether you are the guardian of her new possessions or she simply wants a part-time puppy-sitter, one thing is for sure: her litter of puppies is safe and sound with you.
These are just some of the reasons that can explain this fairly common and adorable behavior in your dog. It could be that your joyful reaction strongly reinforces them to perform this puppy-carrying behavior in the first place. Because let’s be honest, to our dogs, we do mean the world, so by all means, do feel privileged.
Encouraging the Behavior
As willfully dependent on you as your dog is, they still need love and reassurance from someone they know and trust. So the next time you are presented with such a cherished gift, you will know to comfort her and make her feel as safe and secure as ever. Because, most likely, your dog is feeling a bit overwhelmed by the situation and perhaps slightly unsure of her new position of authority.
She understands the need to nurture and protect her puppies, so she goes to the one person who has shown her the greatest deal of nurture and protection throughout her life. Part of this carrying and gift-giving behavior is our doing, however. Just like some dogs display the behavior of carrying back prey safely to the human hunter, it is possible that your beloved pooch will also have a strong predisposition to this charitable gift-giving behavior. One thing you can do is make sure your dog does not move the puppies to an unsafe location. Creating a whelping box for the puppies and selecting an appropriate room in the house, where you can monitor them, is the best way to keep control of the situation. This way, you will know where to look for them, at any time of day and night.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you want to help your dog take better care of her puppies, you can make sure the nursery area is kept in top condition. Bringing chew toys and stuffed animals to the nursery will symbolize a mother dog’s love for her puppies. The same way a dog will hunt and bring home food for her young ones, domesticated mother dogs will take care of their puppies with household items. Be sure that the puppies are old enough to play with the toys and keep an eye on their early development as it is crucial to their survival. In case of any complications, contact your veterinary provider as soon as possible.
Having your dog carry her newborn puppies to you may just be one of the most adorable things she will ever do. It is a wonderful way to show their affection, trust, and consideration. Whether they do it because of your gleeful reaction or because they need a safe spot for their precious offspring, do your part in taking care of her litter the best way possible, and strengthen her newfound mommy confidence.