4 week old puppies separated from Mum play fighting really roughly

(41 Posts)
Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 00:57:55

I am currently hand rearing a litter of 8 labrador puppies. Very sadly at 2.5 weeks they had to be separated from their brilliant Mum on vets advise as she was very ill with erupted mastitis (horrific!).
They are now 4 weeks and after a shaky first well doing great and putting on weight well.
For the last few days after their last feed of the night they are play fighting but very roughly. There are often loud yelps. At the moment I am not physically intervening but clapping my hands and saying 'no' loudly which works... for a few seconds!
There are a few pups much larger than others but at the moment I am not seeing any more dominant or submissive than others- they seem to rotate roles. Which makes me think its just very rough play. Does anyone have any advice? Also any ideas why it happens just before their long night sleep?

OP’s posts: |
SepticTankYank Thu 30-Jul-20 01:20:43

I think you need to act like a surrogate other in this. They would let them play but let them know when they are being too rough by helping and moving them away. Sounds like you're already doing that so don't stress. Are there any behaviourists near you?

fivedogstofeed Thu 30-Jul-20 07:25:44

It's what pups do. Clapping you hands and shouting will presumably just frighten them which is not helpful.
Eight is a lot. Could you possibly split them into another crate or two until they have calmed down ready to sleep? There is a risk that a smaller or weaker one will get bullied or constantly trampled. They need constant supervision.

And people think raising pups will be fun...

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 07:31:35

@SepticTankYank I will look into behaviourists, not sure about that. You are right, the Mum would have kept them in line. Poor things, I just want to do the right thing!

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SepticTankYank Thu 30-Jul-20 07:36:41

They will also keep each other in line so don't worry too much about it. 😀

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 07:42:13

I could move them apart @fivedogstofeed but not sure if that will stop it long term. Having done a bit of reading they are establishing the pack pecking order. One of the suggestions was to make a noise to distract them then give them a tiny treat to reward them for stopping?
We are spending the majority of ours days with them and getting to know each of their personalities. It was totally unexpected to have them to look after (we are not the owners of the Mum) but we are doing our best and it has been a very special time. In the first few nights I was feeding very confused pups milk from my fingertips as they couldn't lap. So to see them so full of energy is great- it is just a little too great!

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Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 07:45:08

Thanks @SepticTankYank - they are so interesting to watch, who needs a tv!

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Mooey89 Thu 30-Jul-20 07:59:01

I don’t have any advice I’m afraid but I will need some pics to enable me to comment 🙈😂

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 08:22:01

Haha @Mooey89 here you go! As you can see feeding time is interesting! The pup by itself is one we nearly lost as she wouldn't feed. She would intensely lick my face though so in the end I had to put the milk on my face for her to lick off. Not how I expected to spend my Summer evenings grin

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Mooey89 Thu 30-Jul-20 08:39:38

Awww bless her!! You’re doing such an amazing job. I only have one 12 week old pup and am exhausted let alone 8 tiny ones!!

ViperBugloss Thu 30-Jul-20 08:51:36

Join the puppy Culture asap. There are UK groups if based in the UK. This is the gold staff for raising puppies, their advice will be invauable to you and the future development of the puppies.

Puppy Culture

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 08:56:51

That is brilliant @ViperBugloss - thanks so much

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SepticTankYank Thu 30-Jul-20 09:28:52

They. Are. Adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!

Floralnomad Thu 30-Jul-20 09:39:35

So cute , is the mum ok now ?

purpleboy Thu 30-Jul-20 10:01:51

On your second photo, what's the red patch on the back of the top pup? Is it broken skin?

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 11:25:59

Ah I meant to explain @purpleboy - as I needed to weigh them regularly we marked each one with a dot of nail varnish. The vet warned against coloured collars at this stage to identify them. Think 'red head' moved when I was doing hers!

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OhMsBeliever Thu 30-Jul-20 11:29:44

I only came for the pics and I am not disappointed! They are adorable, and you are doing a fantastic job.

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 11:39:08

@Floralnomad - Yes she is thank goodness. The huge wound from the eruption had to be left open so it could be washed out every day with some sterile solution so there is no way she could have continued to feed them. After a week on very strong antibiotics and painkillers she seems much brighter. She pined for a few days, looking for the puppies but seems to be adjusted to it now.
We had hoped once the pups were fully weaned and she had healed/milk gone that they might be able to go back to her for the last few weeks before they go to their new homes but it was a strong no from the vets. So sad!

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Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 11:40:51

@SepticTankYank @OhMsBeliever - they are even more wonderful in real life.

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Floralnomad Thu 30-Jul-20 11:49:01

She probably wouldn’t want them back anyway .

SlothMama Thu 30-Jul-20 12:32:10

Another vote for puppy culture, there are breeders groups on facebook that will be able to advise as well.

Poor Mum, I'm glad she's on the mend.

ToLongNow Thu 30-Jul-20 12:37:46

That would of been mean, to take the pups away, give them back and then take them away again

Flowersupnorth Thu 30-Jul-20 13:09:37

@ToLongNow Yes you are right, it's just so sad for them all.

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MrsNoah2020 Thu 30-Jul-20 13:14:06

What a brilliant job you have done, OP - they are lush smile

purpleboy Thu 30-Jul-20 14:57:26

Aww they are v cute, well done on such a good job! Must be so tough poor little things.

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