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Why is Mother Dog Moving Her Puppies?

Have you ever witnessed the heartwarming sight of a mother dog moving her puppies? It’s a remarkable display of maternal instinct and devotion.

The way she carefully picks them up one by one, gently carrying them to a new location, is truly awe-inspiring.

In the animal kingdom, mother dogs have natural maternal behaviors and instincts to protect and care for their offspring.

Moving her puppies is not only a way for the mother to ensure their safety, but it also serves as a means of teaching them important survival skills.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating behavior of mother dogs as they relocate their precious bundles of joy.

From the initial decision to move her puppies to the actual process of physically carrying them, there are several factors at play.

Understanding the reasons behind this behavior and the methods employed by mother dogs can provide valuable insights into the world of canine parenting.

Before we get to the reasons, we have a very personal experience with a little momma dog moving her puppies. It is how we ended up with two of our lovable pups.

I will let Miss Molly tell you the story!

Puppies, Mother Dog Moving Her Puppies

Why is our Mother Dog Moving her Puppies? Our true story!

Well, it seems our Little Girl Mary (a stray little Labrador we have been caring for) decided to pick up and move her puppies yesterday.

It was one of the coldest days possible, with all the sleeting and snowing. I’m starting to think she ain’t the sharpest tack in the box!

I mean, after all, she had it made with plenty of food and water, plus a nice warm place for her little ones!

Well, when my Lady checked to feed our momma dog and the litter of puppies yesterday morning, there were only 5 pups out there.

Little Miss Mary was nowhere to be seen. Finally, late yesterday afternoon she showed up.

By the time my Lady could get a coat and her boots on, Little Miss Mary had a pup in her mouth and was heading down the road with it!

My Lady came back in and grabbed her car keys to catch up with her.

By this time, Little Miss Mary was nowhere to be seen 🙁

Last seen, she was quite a ways up the road, and by this time the sleet was really coming down. What a mess!

Deciding to Save the Puppies

My Lady came back inside and waited a bit, but then made the decision to bring the final four pups into the house.

It’s a good thing too!

They were shivering and shaking from the cold. It came down to a choice of waiting to see if Little Miss Mary came back for them or bringing them in where it was warm.

Little Miss Mary never did show back up. There was no way she could be in two places at one time.

Why oh why, of all days did she decide to move her whole family somewhere else?

Why Did Little Miss Mary Try to Move Her Puppies?

We do know dogs will move their baby puppies if they think they are in danger.

For the past week or so, she has been out there barking all night long. My human dad would go look around, but he could see nothing out of the ordinary.

We know a mother dog will move her baby puppies to a new place if she feels unsafe or threatened.

It’s a way of protecting them from predators. So, something must a been goin’ on out there.

We don’t know what it was that spooked her or why she up and decided to move.

She was in an enclosed shed, full of hay and a warm dog house too. And, was provided plenty of food and water.

We have since wondered if those mean coyotes might have ventured too close for comfort.

We had to give up the search last night because of the dark, but have been trying again all day today.

Meanwhile, my Lady has the last four pups in a giant box in the kitchen. They sure are noisy little things!

But, once she feeds them they quiet down a bit and sleep.

I didn’t get a chance to see them when they were out in the shed. My Lady wouldn’t let me in there!

Miss Molly Helps Take Care of the Puppies

Now, I like just hanging my head over the box and just looking at them! They are all wiggly and squirmy and they all look back up at me.  

I licked one of their faces to clean it up a bit. They are some cute little boogers!

They are 4 weeks old now and eating soft food and can drink water too.

My Lady had some puppy milk and some pet milk that she is using to moisten the food.

She raised my sister Sallie on a bottle from 2 weeks old, so I guess it will all work out.

I hope they stop all that crying though. I think they are missing their momma, brothers, and sisters 🙁

All we know is, with all this cold weather and sleet, our mother dog moving her puppies was a bad idea!

Have you ever seen a mother dog move her puppies?

If so, you may be wondering why a dog would do this. Mother dogs are some of the most attentive and caring parents in the animal kingdom.

From carefully selecting safe and secure habitats to giving birth and nursing all on their own, these moms go above and beyond for their young ones.

One of the most mysterious behaviors that mom dogs do is to move their puppies from place to place.

Why is Mother Dog Moving Her Puppies?

Why does a mother dog move her puppies?

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons:

Survival Instinct

Survival instinct is the main reason why a mother dog moves her puppies

She does it to keep them safe from potential predators, to find food and shelter, and to ensure their survival.

Creating a den or sheltered area for her puppies

Mother dogs instinctively feel a den is the safest place for their puppies.

A den is a secure area that provides a safe space and protection from predators and the elements.

To create a den, a mother dog will move her puppies to an area with soft bedding like leaves or grass.

She may also dig a hole in the ground or use an existing shelter like a hollow log or abandoned burrow.

Once she has found the perfect spot, she will bring her puppies to the den and stay with them until they are old enough to venture out on their own.

For Protection

It is a mother dog’s maternal instinct to want to protect their babies from potential threats, so they often move their puppies if they sense danger is near.

They carry them in their mouths. This makes it easier for the mom to quickly scoop up multiple little pups at once and dash into hiding if necessary.

This minimizes the risk of injury or abduction by predators like birds of prey or stray cats who may come poking around trying to snatch up opportunities for an easy meal!

Closer to Resources

A mother dog may keep moving her puppies to be closer to plenty of food and water sources.

She will move them to a comfortable environment that has better shelter from the elements.

This is especially important in the wild, where resources can be scarce and unpredictable.

Getting Away from too much Activity

When a mother dog gives birth, she usually looks for a secure and safe spot to keep her puppies.

Unfortunately, sometimes this ends up in an area with too much activity.

This can be caused by people or other animals moving around the house, making the mother feel like her puppies aren’t safe.

In order to protect them, she will often move them from their current location to a quieter spot where there is less activity.

For Comfort

A mother dog may also move her puppies for simple comfort.

She may want to find a softer surface for them to sleep on.

Temperature is an important factor in the comfort and health of any living creature, and dogs are no exception.

When a dog’s pups are too hot or too cold, she will instinctively move them to a more suitable location.

Small brown mother dog with her puppies


A mother dog moves her young puppies for many reasons, all of which are essential for their survival and well-being.

From protection from predators to finding food and shelter, these moms go above and beyond to ensure the safety of their young ones.


Monday 1st of January 2024

We had our first litter of Siberian huskies and the house she had was too small for her and the babies, so I built her a new one. Like your story, in the coldest day she decided to go from the new warm spacious house, to the old noninsulated one, taking her babies with her. I was concerned because of the dropping temps and eventually decided to bring mom and the babies in. Since then, it has been an adjustment for the entire family, momma dog included. She still tries to carry off the puppies from the bed to some other places in the house. 3-4 x’s/day she does this. At one point we let her out with the puppy in her mouth to observe but noticed that in her attempt to get the puppy where she whelped, she was also accidentally burying the poor thing. So we just brought them back inside. Due to the winter temps, it’s better for them to stay inside, although her new house is kept warm with heat for low temps, but she insists in moving her puppies.

Anne Perry

Saturday 25th of November 2023

I have not had a mother dog & puppies.


Friday 15th of September 2023

Dog behavior is so fascinating! Glad you were able to get the puppies out of the bad weather.


Tuesday 5th of September 2023

Love watching animals with their babies

Sherrie Calder

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Aww. Love puppies. Interesting dog behavior info.

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