By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mothers truly do know best. And it’s true in the animal world as well. They are the first teachers and a strong source of social learning and interaction.

Both puppies and kittens learn so much from their mothers early in life. They rely on them not only for milk, warmth and security but also for all of the vital information they need to survive including walking, eating, playing and socializing. This important information shapes their personalities for the future as well.

Dogs need this crucial time to learn to socialize properly with their litter mates. Removing kittens too soon can result in a cat who can potentially become more aggressive and their learning abilities can potentially become impaired.

No matter the size, age or breed, the canine mother, overall, is the first source of a positive scent and energy that a puppy encounters. She has an innate ability to direct and guide her puppies, to gently discipline when needed, to teach basic skills and to initiate social growth. She is a mediator, protector and teacher.

As a canine behavior specialist, I see the intrinsic value of mimicking her inherent ability with her puppies as it becomes an all-important tool in rehabilitation and reconditioning dogs of all ages and in various stages of behavioral issues.

Dogs respond favorably to natural and primal responses working with their instincts instead of forcing a behavior upon them.