Suckling and weening natural and unnatural dog behaviour training
What goes for dogs goes for human babies. We often find it difficult when to stop a baby from either breast feeding or having a dummy, but dogs can get into difficulty too.
A mother dogs milk is very nutritious, but due to the financial practicalities of breeders, some puppies are taken away too early from their mothers. It doesn’t always have to be that its too early, sometimes its just the specific dog that wants to suckle for longer. BUT there are a few dogs out there that when removed too early from suckling, will have the desire to suckle toys and other objects in the home.
This presents the issue of the dog getting too attached to these objects and potential aggression, and even the dogs not eating food properly. They can also stay in an immature behavioral state. This is particularly an issue for dogs that are not regular dog walked off lead. Because not only are they not socializing and learning to be friendly they are also suckling which is a puppy function, when they should be moving on to adult dog behaviors.
Traditional weening time for dogs
This is the 6 to 8 week period.
If a dog is sold through shop or online it can take up to a few months. Most puppies don’t get a lot of good exercise and socialization out in the fields after they are adopted out, so it is easy if you don’t own the puppy straight away, for it to hold onto things for security.
Making a psychological attachment to an inanimate object is difficult for a human or dog to break, but dogs can get anxious or aggressive when their prop is taken away.
The other reason that some breeds of puppies take to suckling on toys is that they are away from their siblings AND not taken to parks to socialize.
The number one rule for puppies is to keep them social, but you can only do that once a dog is fully vaccinated or you know that someone’s yard is clear of parv virus. These things make it an easy option not to take your dog to the park, but if a dog isn’t socialized properly before six months it will never be quite right with other dogs.
Some people suggest changing blankets or fabric materials to rubber and plastic and monitoring your dog to ensure they are not sucking objects – but walking is always the best solution as well as letting the dog play with safe dogs.