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Categories: Breeding

Q. My GSD had a litter last weekend. Yesterday she started growling and snapping when the puppies would crawl towards her face. Do you have any idea why she would be doing this?
Hello Ed,

I'm hoping you can give me some much needed advise. My GSD bitch had a litter (planned) last weekend. This was her first litter and all was going well until yesterday. She has been taking excellent care of them but yesterday she started growling and snapping when the puppies would crawl towards her face. She is mouthing them during these episodes but has not hurt anyone. I don't know if this has anything to do with it but my husband was diagnosed with late stage cancer on Monday. This has made all of us anxious and I don't know if she is sensing something is wrong. She has never shown any signs of aggression towards people or animals and I have always used her as an example of a stable dog when I'm helping with puppy obedience. Do you have any idea why she would be doing this? Right now we are sitting with her while she nurses and stimulates the pups and then removing her for a while. We are also thinking of setting up a 2nd whelping box in the family room - maybe she doesn't like being in a bedroom - she did carry one of the pups out and put it on the couch. Could we muzzle her and let her stay with the pups since that is where she wants to be?

Any help or suggestions you could give us would be greatly appreciated. If I would have known 2 months ago where we would be today I would not have bred her and now I am seriously considering not keeping one of the pups for Schutzhund as my husbands cancer treatment will be very lengthy and I'm not sure I can devote the time to a new pup that I did to my bitch.

By the way. I bought your whelping video and it helped a lot. One of the pups was born barely breathing and limp. I was able to revive her using your methods. Unfortunately there was something wrong with her and she didn't make it. I'm glad to say all the others were born fine and I knew exactly what to do.

Here is a picture of the litter. I can't believe she could go from being so good to them to biting them.


A. I would start by checking the female's temp to make sure she does not have an infection. If it is more than 103°F she needs antibiotics from your vet.

It is absolutely a terrible idea to put the dog in the family room. Females want a den where they have quiet and solitude. If you bring the litter into the living room, you are asking for a litter of dead puppies.

Do not allow anyone to go in there accept you. No visitors, no kids. No one. She has to feel secure. Put some music on (not rock and roll) – soothing music to calm her.

Then on top of all this, if something still happens, well there is nothing you can do. Some dogs just should not be bred, especially females that kill their puppies. If that starts to happen, your going to have to take them away from her and bottle feed them. Use the home made formula on my web site.

Another thing on this female of yours – when a bitch has a deficiency of calcium citrate they have these symptoms. This can be fixed with a supplement that you buy at your local health food store. I would recommend that you get her on this ASAP!

Ed Frawley
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