The nesting behavior of a pregnant dog begins when she is close to whelping. It is wise to prepare a safe area for the mother dog to whelp her pups.
The nesting behavior of a pregnant dog begins when she is close to giving birth. It is better known in canine terms as “close to whelping.” The female dog searches out and prepares an area that she feels will be secluded and safe to whelp and nurture her pups. Being aware of the signs of nesting behavior is essential.
Preparing for Nesting Behavior
Just as most animals, dogs have a maternal instinct to protect their young by making a safe nesting area for them. This said, they will often seek out a dark area such as under a bed or in a closet. A couple of weeks before the pups are due; it is essential for the owner to begin preparing for nesting behavior by making an area for the mother to whelp her puppies.
Nesting Behavior Begins Just Before Whelping
A pregnant dog will start searching for a nesting area a few days before the end of her pregnancy, as nesting behavior begins just before whelping. She will become broody as hormones are released from her ovaries and prolactin is released from the anterior pituitary gland. This is why it is crucial for the owner to work with her on resting in the prepared area that he wishes for her to whelp.
Signs of Nesting Behavior
There are some visible signs of nesting behavior that include disappearing, pacing and building a nest with items around the house. The expectant dog may even choose to “steal” blankets, clothing, stuffed animals, newspapers and other various articles around the home. Because of this, it is always wise to put soft items in her designated whelping area. The owner should repeatedly show her the area that he has chosen for her nest.
Respecting the Nesting Area
Expectant dogs have their ideas of how to situate their nesting area, which is why recognizing the nesting area is vital. They are also very protective of their whelping area, and the owner should keep the area as quiet as possible for her to feel safe and secure. It’s always best to keep people around the nesting area to a minimum.
Nesting Area After the Pups are Born
Keep an eye on the nesting area after the pups have arrived, for often mother dogs have the instinct to move their puppies around to other areas, and sometimes a puppy can get left behind. If the mother feels the safety of her pups is at risk, her behavior may change, and she may even bite people who come around her nesting area, so it is crucial to monitor her nesting area at all times.
Remember, it is wise to watch for the nesting behavior of a pregnant dog as it gets closer to the time for the arrival of the pups. Learn the signs of nesting behavior and try to convince her to nest in an appropriate and safe area. The birth of puppies can be an exciting time in any household, but always be respectful to the mother dog and her nesting area during her close to whelping time, along with during and after the birth of her pups.