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Canine Behavior/Puppy suckling


Hello! We recently got a puppy, Siberian Husky (about 2-1/2 months old). We also have an 8-year-old Yellow Lab and a 4-year-old Golden Retriever (all females). Everyone is adapting to each other, except...puppy is beginning to suckle from our (never had puppies) 4-year-old Golden Retriever, and Golden Retriever is letting her. But I am worried...puppy has very sharp teeth! Could pup be hurting my Golden Retriever? Golden Retriver never had pups, no milk, and she seems to sit quietly (albeit with a confused look on her face) while puppy suckles. Other than that, everyone is getting along fine. Should I break this up when pup tries to suckle??? Thank you for your time and advice!
Kat Hinkle

So long as the Golden is allowing this behavior (even though she "appears confused"), do not interrupt it.  When, and if, the Golden no longer tolerates this, she will appropriately "discipline" the puppy much as the puppy's dam would have done.  Do not interfere with that either unless the Golden intends damage (highly unlikely).

This Husky puppy has been separated from her dam far too young or she would not be demonstrating this behavior.  She may not have been properly weaned, either because the dam was incapable (over bred, tired, or too young) or the puppy was bottle fed and not weaned appropriately.

This puppy must be socialized, heavily, with other dogs, people, places and things, beginning NOW.  If she is ten weeks old, you need a veterinarian to determine if titer levels against deadly disease (Parvo, Distemper) are well established enough for her to be taken AWAY from your other dogs, individually, and for short periods, for socialization.  Do NOT allow this puppy to "over" bond with your older dogs; she must bond TO YOU in order to be a good companion and live a happy life.  I'm assuming the Golden is spayed: in this case, she may not develop milk.  HOWEVER, it is not impossible.  So you must maintain a schedule of feeding three times daily for the puppy (separate from the other dogs) with an appropriate and GOOD source of nutrition (NOT puppy food, ask your veterinarian).  Adding cottage cheese (a small dollop) to one of these meals is okay but, again, ask your veterinarian.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

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Ph.D., UC Berkeley

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