A video of a dog mom teaching her eight-week-old puppies a lesson has gone viral, attracting viewers who were fascinated to see the family dynamics play out.
The 2019 clip resurfaced on Reddit’s “Made Me Smile” forum today, amassing over 20,000 votes.
It showed a blonde golden retriever dog mom walking into an enclosure where her litter of eight puppies squealed and lunged toward her. The puppies leaped over each other to suckle her teats, but their mother tolerated the behavior for only a moment before growling and shooing them away.
The puppies shrunk away and lay down in various corners of the room. Over the next two minutes, their mom kept a watchful eye over all eight of them to ensure they stayed put, snarling any time one dared to try suckling again. One puppy elicited a stern bark when its sibling bit the tip of mom’s tail and pulled, but the innocent sibling was mistaken as the perpetrator.
But the mom made sure to demonstrate positive reinforcement too, individually approaching and nuzzling her little ones to encourage them for staying still or walking up to her calmly.
In the wild, a female dog gradually weans her puppies as they start to develop teeth, typically at three to four weeks old, according to VCA Hospitals. After their teeth are grown in, suckling irritates and hurts the mother, who leaves her puppies for growing periods of time.
Dog moms stop producing milk between seven to 10 weeks after giving birth, according to the Center for Animal Welfare Science, so the eight-week-old puppies in the video were nearing the end of their weaning period. Their mom was both protecting her body and teaching her puppies to develop independence.
Viewers applauded the dog mom for her parenting practices.
“Not only teaching them to behave,” one user noted on Reddit, “but also telling them that the milk bar is now closed and for them to respect that.”
“This is why you leave puppies with their siblings and mother as LONG as possible,” another viewer commented. “These pups will grow up to be happy and safer adult dogs.”
The Center for Animal Welfare Science has agreed with that assessment, saying that separating puppies from their mom and littermates at a later age can allow them to learn important skills through observation and interaction. Puppies learn better how to respond to familiar and unfamiliar humans and situations when they are taught by a well-adjusted dog mom.
Other viewers joked about the similarities between a mom’s discipline across all species.
“We’ve all been there,” commented one Redditor, “‘Ah oh, mom is angry, better behave.'”
“Someone get that mama a martini,” another user added.
Another dog mom has gone viral this week for stepping in to help milk a large litter. And the internet proves why Golden Retrievers are a top-rated dog when one use showcased “the most chill” dogs who are relaxing on camping chairs around a campfire.