Vol. 5 No. 3 (2019)
Review Articles

The psychological and emotional care of the orphaned puppy: the management and the risk of behavioural disorders.

Giovanna Marliani
University of Bologna- Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences
Caterina Di Marco
University of Bologna- Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences
Pier Attilio Accorsi
University of Bologna- Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences

Published 2020-03-31


  • behavioral disorder,
  • dogs,
  • caregiver,
  • orphaned pup,


Under the loving and expert guidance of the mother, who knows how to educate its playful experiences, the puppy grows emotionally balanced, learns to be autonomous, to control its exuberance and to relate properly with conspecifics and not. Without the mother, a human being has to take care of the orphaned pup. 

The caregiver has to ensure to the puppy not only its physical health, but also its psychological health, in order to grow psychologically well-balanced subjects. The people that decide to take care of orphaned puppies must be aware and should emulate, as far as possible, the maternal behaviour. The studies about sensitive period has allowed to identify periods of the puppy’s growth during which a specific stimulus reaches its maximum effect. The socialisation period is the hardest one. The caregiver has to give to the pup the possibility of knowing both conspecifics and eterospecific and ensure to it an enriched style of life.

Despite all the good will, the caregiver’s action has inevitable shortcomings and possible errors. However, it is essential that the human helps the orphan in its psychic maturation, in order to prevent pathological behaviours. Especially the caregiver should manage correctly the attachment and detachment, to avoid the development of fears, anxieties, phobias and those syndromes that are caused by an alteration of sensory homeostasis, such as sensory deprivation syndrome, hypersensitivity-hyperactivity syndrome, primary desocialization, stereotypes and compulsive disorders, depression and aggressions.