Female dogs have intense maternal drives, and generally do whatever they can to nurture and protect their litters of puppies. When it comes to parenting, male dogs don't come close to the females. Male dogs, for the most part, don't display any fatherly behaviors toward their offspring.
Mother dogs are extremely busy after they give birth. They have a lot on their plates, from nursing to cleaning their helpless young puppies. Because of this, they usually prefer the fathers being away in the beginning, typically for the initial four weeks, indicates California-based veterinarian Glenn Craft. Mother dogs sometimes find the males to be nuisances when they're tending to their newborn babies. Mother dogs also might be wary that the males will be too rough with the delicate puppies. If you're looking after a litter of pups, consider letting the father see them when they hit the 4-week mark. Mother dogs are usually starting to wean their puppies at this time.
While male dogs aren't usually the most natural parents, their presence can sometimes be helpful for puppies. The father can help set examples for the little ones, especially when it comes to canine social etiquette and playtime. He can also help the wee pups learn about social ranking in the doggie world. Status is a big component of life as a dog, and this harks back to their wild "pack" origins. It isn't uncommon to see puppies copy their father's actions. With your careful supervision, you can consider letting the father play with the little ones, as long as they're fully weaned. Puppies are typically totally weaned by between 7 and 8 weeks old.
When you introduce the male dog to his puppies, you can do so by bringing them directly to him -- sans mom. If you opt for the father to come to the puppies himself, gently hold the mother back at first to avoid a potential confrontation. It's important to never let the mother dog feel in any way threatened by the father. She's extremely defensive of her puppies, after all. Make sure the mother knows that she's still the one in charge. If you sense that the father is envious in any way, remove him from the area immediately. Envious male dogs sometimes hurt their youngsters. Always supervise encounters between a male dog and his puppies, especially in the beginning when you're not certain how they'll act together.
Although envy can sometimes make male dogs behave aggressively toward their offspring, it's not at all the norm. Male dogs rarely behave fiercely with their puppies, notes author Gino Pugnetti. They tend to display positive intentions toward their puppies. If they feel that their puppies are in danger, they often even defend them.
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