However, we would not allow her to focus on missing him,we took her for walks and got her moving to play and took her for rides. Hi guys, I just found out about littermates syndrome and it got my attention immediately. TO address the anxiety, I would do some training. But no matter how cute they are the safer route will always be to just take one. The rescue convinced me to adopt them both cause they felt Cooper needed Murphy. We treasure our dogs. Ellie is a kind, gentle but assertive alpha, and we anticipate that she will maintain this status with the puppies. The number of articles that advise that the only thing to do is remove one of the dogs makes me wonder if the “experts” are dog lovers at all. My first set of littermates are now 9 years old and I still work on training with them. I’d walk one puppy while my boyfriend played with the other in the house. So yes, if it exists, it doesn’t matter if their actual siblings, the fact that you have two puppies can result in issues if you don’t address their individual needs and work with a professional dog trainer. I want what’s best for our pack so I’ve sought out trainers just because I want to be educated so that we can be our best for them–knock on wood, no issues thus far. So I had a problematic experience when I adopted litter mates. Hi Tom, I’m not a certified dog trainer or animal behaviorist so I can only share my experience, not advise others on their dogs. I thought you adopted all your dogs? i know it will be a lot of work but raising good pups always is. My litter mates are very nice. Distracting them from each other works momentarily but they always seem to come back to playing and fighting. I’d love some advice from you on what you think about the crating/non-crating issue, and when we can stop worrying about possible agression issues? bond more to each other than to the humans in the family; this is a problem should one of the dogs pass on (or need to be rehomed) because the other will never be happy on their own. It’s fun for them to get out and interact with other dogs and people and in a puppy class, they’re learning new things (and so are you). It is always tempting to take two because they are just so darn cute together. When Rodrigo and Sydney were puppies, J would play with Rodrigo outside, while I played with Sydney inside. I did spay and neuter all of our dogs, because I don’t want them to have puppies. I read putting them in their crates as ” punishment” wasn’t good because you want their crate to be a good place, but separating them is all I know to do. I incorporated training and more exercise. Also, I disagree with the statement that most reputable breeders wouldn’t sell littermates; I know many reputable breeders who would have no trouble selling 2 puppies to us and I know they’ve done so in the past. She wrote “dear Santa I want a puppy and the puppy I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl or what kind, please just give me a puppy so I can love it.” So we blindly decided to go ahead and have Sandy bring us a black lab puppy the breeder then told us that the yellow lab puppy did not have a home and would we be interested. We started with very inexpensive liver treats and yogurt treats and transitioned when they got older to play games like fetch or treat in puzzle toy. This may be how we escaped littermate syndrome twice. Well not an option but the daycare does have 2 areas and they rotate the pups. But we haven’t noticed any health issues, so I’m not kicking myself about it. The key to dealing with littermate syndrome is to take preventative steps starting the moment you bring the puppies home. Socialize over and over and over again, Take them to lowes, home depot or you local pet supply. It only took 2 people being excited about the idea to convince me to go for it. Train them, spend one on one time with them, give them separate adventures and you’ll be fine. I have a blog post with books that helped me a lot: https://keepthetailwagging.com/top-10-books-for-dog-lovers-in-2015/. I am curious as to when we can stop worrying about whether or not this will become an issue? I spent the entire time we had outside (we’re doing 20 minute play sessions because of the heat) rounding them up. I contacted a professional behavioral trainer who recommended that we separate the dogs who are now almost a year old until she could make time in her schedule to evaluate them. I was considering picking up littermates before I picked up my first dog, Linus from the animal shelter. I wrote on your Facebook page, but I’ll also say a comment here. I feel very happy and blessed that our dogs are so happy and healthy. How To Prevent Littermate Syndrome (Do These Things BEFORE Your Puppies Turn 6 Months Old!) Thank you so much for sharing your stories! So…in the process of trying to lessen his anxiety but with cold Midwest winters we don’t get out for much of the year. I believe a dog trainer should be hired right away and visited at least once a year, because it’s so much fun for them if you hire the right trainer. We haven’t started yet. Even if you don’t think you need one, hire one anyway. Thank you for all the stories that make me feel we and our puppies will do well. Thanks. I love all my dogs, I spend time with each of them and my husband and I nurture and act as the leaders in the house. Same as people want companionship, so does your dog. They can't be trained together – we got a recommendation for a trainer who would train them together (Shannon Finch) and our PetSmart trainer (for Scout and Zoey) only requested that both of us attend training classes because her exercises were for one human / one dog. We never separated our littermates at night, we let them decide when they were ready to sleep apart Both sets of our littermates are laying around me as I’m typing. We can’t have them out together and spend time with them, because all they do is ruff-house and play with each other. help. There is indeed a way to stop littermate syndrome, and it is this: you’ll need to feed, bathe, walk, play with, train and crate each puppy separately during the first full year. Thanks again Kimberly. Congratulations on the dogs and the potty training progress. The girls took longer – Sydney wasn’t fully potty trained until she was 4-5 months old. We hope to change the sleeping arrangements very soon. Rodrigo and Sydney slept in the same kennel until they were four months old and were too big to be in it together (it was super big). I do truly love them both and often talk to them like they are people. They are the most obedient, well trained loving dogs. But as puppies, we kept them together, but allowed plenty of space for them to do their own thing if they wanted to. Like most behaviors, there are many ways that you can prevent or lessen the effects of littermate syndrome. In addition, would you spay/neuter your whole bunch? They were fine all 3 together for a few months and then the two started fighting. Copyright© 2011-2020 Kimberly Gauthier. Bella and her brother, Jack, were added to our family as litter mates. And it worked! All of my previous dogs, both males and females have all been “done” at six months with no problems. We were sure to socialize them with humans the first few weeks we had them- we took them everywhere and they had contact with at least 100 humans before they were 12 weeks old so they love people! So, four male dogs in one place, and the smallest one is the boss. But even though they loved each other, they were very bonded to the family and had no issues with eventually living apart: one sister was my mother’s the other was my brothers and he took his with him to college as soon as he were able. I have littermates and I have found it so much easier to raise them. THE BEST TIPS TO PREVENT LITTERMATE SYNDROME WHEN RAISING TWO PUPPIES. Our kids go to school at 8 and the reason we are planning on getting littermates is that we thought it would be better for one dog to have some company that stay alone for 6 hours. I learned quickly, I built my confidence where our dogs are concerned, and that solved everything for us. I have to say that reading these stories has given me some comfort knowing it can work with littermates, not just the horror stories, makes me feel that we can make it work as well. I don’t understand the term “Littermate Syndrome”. We now have litter mate brothers to bring our dog total to 4. The best advice I have is to take your dogs to puppy class when they’re ready and again in 6 months or 12 months. Thanks for being open minded with your words and seeing that there is in fact, a bright side to this coin! We spent so much time together as a pack and one on one (or two on one) that they are used to our dynamic and they’re happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. I know I shouldn’t be selfish as it is probably better for their development and well being but this is extremely hard. If you are experiencing behavioral or training issues with your dogs, please contact a qualified, professional dog trainer. They love like no other. Our first two dogs only fought when frustrated or when Rodrigo was being a brat about toys/chews. Thank you! I wonder if you could share some of the insight that your trainer gave you about training? It’s a good article, but I think you push for more people to get littermates without realizing how many people could not handle it and don’t need the encouragement. Oops, didn’t mean to put a question mark after that first sentence. Thank you for having this site and for being willing to openly discuss for all of us. I believe they are just as bonded to us as they are each other. I figured that it could be successful as long as their people were willing to do the work. Would you agree? With 2 pups around the same age they are bound to “fight” to determine their own hierarchy of the family. Hello, I finally reached a trainer that isn’t a fan of littermate adoptions but is familiar and willing to come to my home without judgment of our decision. The problem that I have been having most recently though is with my less dominant one. I ended up not bringing home two because of all the reasons you mentioned above. We are super excited but I just ran across littermate syndrome last night and now a little nervous. I’m slowly catching up by visiting 10 blogs a day, but people keep writing. Once my mom let the dogs sleep inside, Bella slept in my bed. What if the two littermates don’t get along so well? Zoey and Sydney are more timid than Scout and Rodrigo. I am questioning now if we should have two crates rather than one XL one. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Cause at this time unknown but most likely cancer. I agree training is key, we have already engaged a trainer and are prepared for it to be an ongoing commitment. The only problem I have noticed is they don’t like other dogs except their older fur sister (no relation) Anytime you have questions, feel free to ask. The easiest way to prevent littermate syndrome is to only take one puppy at a time. I had a family emergency and was away from home for more than a month so by the time I got home my husband and I decided we wanted to keep the remaining 3 puppies. Aug 29, 2020 - Need help with Littermate Syndrome? I’m not against adopting a dog in need of a good loving home. Thanks for the article on littermates. We will persevere and are prepared to put the work in. Is it too late to rid them of littermate syndrome? I, Kimberly Gauthier (owner), am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I say that now. I didn't think it was necessary to monitor them when they had chew toys or chew treats. You sound like me. When two puppies of the same age are adopted, this can lead to several issues which occur as a result of the excess bonding and developmental deficits that takes place inevitably if … Because another warning I heard was littermates of the same sex would be a problem, but I know people with 2 boys or 2 girls and they have no issues. I am a blogger, and all information shared is based on my personal experience with my dogs and research about raw feeding, canine health, and nutrition that I do for my dogs. Hopefully they will turn out good; I’m pretty attached to both of these girls and I really don’t want to part with either one. Which made us feel we made the right decision. My family got litter mate huskies when I was a pre-teen. He gets nervous the second that I put a leash on him. Your post was very helpful and reassured my thinking that my girls will have a healthy happy life. I recently adopted 4 dogs. They often sleep in different rooms and go outside on their own without the other. Or you can reach out to local pet businesses for recommendations and search review sites for people’s experience with those trainers. Driving the 250 miles and spending the night , we met the pups and fell in love with two of them a male and a female. My wife and I just adopted two sibrings, a boy and girl Puggats two months old. They had such different personalitites. I have a set of littermates. Hi Ellen – be sure to reach out to a local positive-based dog trainer to seek guidance. I did have 2 labs from the same breeder that were one year apart, and I experienced similar littermate issues even though they were not related to one another. I have one that the minute I let her out of the cage is trying to control the other. But you’re right, our dogs form a circle around me when they think I’m being threatened. I have four dogs, two sets of littermates. Thank you for the tips and positive perspectives! Our new “kids” are the first furry friends since our beloved Bichon, Benny, passed away 10 years ago. Do everything separate. I’ve heard that this breed tends to pull. We will soon be separating them at night so we can sleep with them. You can get recommendations at your local pet store, doggy day care, or veterinarian’s office. Working with someone who didn't judge us and who saw how much we loved our dogs was amazing. She has not been y herself in12 years, we both work and taking her to work is not possible. They follow me everywhere, unless I remember to close the stair gate! Please come back and give me an update on how the girls are doing being separated. Scout and Zoey have never fought. So find a trainer that you feel comfortable with and you’ll see things turn around with you and your puppies. Every one of those claims is a myth. We are not sure if they’re not responding because they’re still so young or if it’s the first signs of littermate syndrome. by Tena Parker | Dec 22, 2016 | Dog Behavior, Fearful Dog, Positive Training, Puppy Fun, Reactivity, Socialization, Training | 0 comments, Oswin and her littermate playing at 9 weeks old. I have always trained them, along with many of my family members. Thanks so much!! They are 10 weeks old now, and I want to start them off on sleeping with us soon before it’s too late. If you’re concerned about your puppies getting along, I recommend working with a certified, professional dog trainer to help you lay the foundation. Keep them coming. I’m taking down all of the advice and positive feedback, because we really love these sweeties! We recently lost our beloved 14 year old and when looking for a new puppy we came upon a breeder with two dogs available – my husband really wanted one while I really wanted the other. I’m not pushing for people to adopt littermates, instead, I’m sharing our experience. We’re 2 peas in a pod. We put them in socialization and training a few weeks ago and they are doing great- still timid with the other dogs but learning so much in the obedience training. There has been controversy over “dogs off leash” but the USFS has NO leash law in affect out on the trail (at least, not in the undeveloped areas). 3) Give them some independent time from each other – even if it’s playing with one in one corner of the room while someone else plays with the other in the opposite corner – having that space will make a difference. It works for us; it doesn't work for everyone. Thank you <3. I hope that i can give these 2 a wonderful life. I also recently read in “Animals Make Us Human” by Temple Grandin, that litter mates are LESS likely to fight and jockey for positions. Otherwise, they were allowed to be together. I have had many dogs over decades and bred collies and dachshunds and never experienced this. I took it as a sign) We are totally in love with them already . This isn't a good idea. How are y’all managing this? i’d never heard of this and i have had dogs for years. can’t wait to sleep come September. I love hearing success stories with dogs. I recommend that you work with a qualified dog trainer/behaviorist. Littermate syndrome is serious, unless your invested to learning about dog behavior for God’s sakes do not get dogs from the same litter……. She really took a liking to my son who was home from college on a summer visit. Another no no as far as “experts” are concerned. A recent post in a Facebook group prompted me to write this. It’s an all natural supplement made from sheep’s milk that helps calm anxiety. Not far, just a couple of feet at a time. But thank you! Rodrigo and Sydney started sleeping apart on their own at 4-5 months and Scout and Zoey were independent earlier, around 3 months. Early training is so important in your dog's development, so small mistakes at this juncture can … They will be able to give you the best advice. I think people who have difficulty with littermates simply bit off more than they could chew. During this time we met a lady, on line, that lived some 250 miles away that had a mini that was accidentally pregnant. The dogs like it and we have some amazing trainers in our area so it’s fun for me too. It sounds like most people allow their littermates to share a crate for the first few months, while still training and playing with them separately, and then switch to separate crates (or ditch the crates altogether, at least for sleeping time) when they are a few months old. This morning My partner and i used 12-week outdated siblings – just one young man, just one young lady. That’s totally the case. I’m willing to do that if its in their best interest, but I’m not convinced that it is… Also, to what extent do I need to separate them? Any thoughts on that? One male and one female. Will they grow out of this? Cooper has ALSO bonded with me. They have been social with other dogs, we have been Thinking of another dog as well, a companion dog that could take the stress of the whole situation, or the other side, that could add to it. They were very close but I never thought their bond was stronger than mine. Sometimes I’d play with one puppy, while he walked the other. It was really discouraging finding all the negative points about having two instead of finding help with training two. And louder. So far we haven’t had a lot of snarkyness from people that we’ve told that we’re getting 2 puppies. I’m behind too – 150 blog posts behind. I adore our dogs and couldn’t imagine rehoming them. However, thinking about the death of one mate and the welfare of the surviving mate has me pretty worried for the future of our girl. There have been some growling from Zoey when Scout comes sniffing around her toy or treat, but nothing more. It’s not possible to definitively tell people when they’re out of the woods because every dog is different and every household is different. thanks for all the great advice. In many cases, littermates can grow up to lead normal, healthy lives in the same household. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. What did you do to put a stop to it? The first summer that we had Rodrigo and Sydney (Memorial Day through September), we spent over $2,500 in adoption fees, food, supplies, dog training, and vet care (vaccinations, spay and neuter surgeries). If you need more positive reinforcement that litter mates are the way to go, please take the time to read not just my blog, http://spanishmastiff.blogspot.com/2015/09/siblings-revisited.html which reprints one of my published articles on successfully running siblings from http://www.sheepmagazine.com, but also review the LGD Library on my website, http://www.lgdnevada.com. We do know a trainer, and we will be talking to her soon I currently have two 9 month old male husky/malamute brothers. Do you think that it would be a good idea for us to get littermates? I’ve examine it’s rather a awful thought to obtain equally puppies castrated, but the literature is probably confusing! They are from different litters but are 5 days apart. i think our society often puts too much of our human issues onto dogs. Best of luck to you, Anne, and thanks for the comment. As mentioned, we aren’t crating them, and when we leave the house- they are gated in the kitchen together- lots of people tell us this is a terrible idea, but we don’t have any other options without getting them to like their crates which is still a major work in progress. I can’t tell you how many times people have tried to scare me away from various things by stating an opinion as fact. I feel guilty even talking about this because my boy is still with us and could be for months, even maybe a year, we just don’t know yet. He is well trained and we have had no behavioral issue with him. I am trying to give my pet sitter one of them but I am sitting here crying as I am typing this. That’s how I felt with Rodrigo and Sydney. You can't train them together, so that has to be expensive – actually, we did train our littermates together. The other day, I found myself in a very uncomfortable discussion with someone who is very anti-littermates and was convinced that we were having a terrible time with our dogs. I wish we had known, we would have done things a bit differently, but I do think they are fairly well-adjusted. Littermate syndrome can be managed, but it is a lot of work. nipped it in the tail and all seems to be well. I do admit that we may have been lucky with our first set, because we had enough people warning us that we found a dog trainer who could help. I’m glad that I was helpful. One the female Moesha looks like a chihuahua. I didn’t separate my dogs; that was just a personal choice – so I may not be the best person to ask. Unlike many people, I never separated them when they slept – that’s just a personal choice. Bulldogs are notorious for being difficult to train so oh boy!!! I have found that are girls are harder to train than the boys. Sometimes genetics play a role but the most important thing you can do is to make a commitment to your puppies and raise them to be well-socialized balanced adult dogs. Sounds like you are kicking butt as a dog mom and I’m so proud. Having 2 established dogs made adding Scout and Zoey 100x easier – wow! They listen to me pretty well but I do walk them separately every day so we have one on one time. So many people fall in love with a puppy and forget that those puppies grow up to be dogs and it’s easier to train them from day one than when they get to big to manage. It means a lot. 9 Things I Learned About the Dog Lover Community, What Raw Feeders Need to Know About Air Dried Bones. Life offers no guarantees. SOME NEED LOTS OF TRAINING; SOME PICK IT UP QUICKER…SO THEY CAN GET THEIR PLAYTIME REWARD. My favorite memories are of them sleeping in my lap and one morning, I had to go to work early and Zoey (she was about 2 months) came trotting over out of bed, reached up to be picked up, and gave me kisses, then she went right back to bed. Littermate syndrome is not going to happen to every single pair of puppies that are raised together. So any encouragement is welcomed! That means they should be regularly walked separately, played with separately, and trained separately. I do not offer coaching or consultations; the most I can do is share my personal experience. My biggest fear is leaving her alone throughout the day during our work weeks. Is it kind of strange that I’ve been Googling “Littermate Syndrome” lately and leaving our experience? It works for us. It’s just so easy to take them all together when I do things with them. Although they enjoy each other's company (we are a family), they are independent within their family too. They do not require leashes on walks although when in areas of lots of people we will use them. Her brother is braver and is quite happy at puppy class, but generally the bitch is the “boss” so it’s a role reversal at classes. Hi Lori, I can totally relate to where you are coming from. Thanks once more! She is a bit timid when out anyway which is why the socialisation is crucial for them, but she is better than her sibling at walks alone. Thanks for letting me share my feedback. We have taken them to 2 puppy classes so far and the female is very timid there. They were expensive (there was no pet insurance back then) and they did fight occasionally (which was expensive.) Anyway, thank you again for this site. The berners never fight. The best thing to do is enroll your dogs into puppy class and then dog class. What I learned with my dogs was that this was a time when they were establishing their independence and place. For the most part, I’d just think having 2 new dogs to train and socialize (esp if puppies!) This piqued my interest and was met with some skepticism as it was something that I had never come across in my years of study and practice in the field of veterinary behaviour. The boys were trained at 3 months. Rodrigo tends to want to boss everyone around and Scout just likes to get along with everyone. We both gave in to the other so were at an impasse. I have two rescues adopted six months apart. It’s hard to tell where the line is being crossed between playing and fighting.. One of them is very good at being in a crate at night and almost never cries but the other is not loving the crating situation. Neither one of us wanted the other to be disappointed so we decided to adopt both. Littermate Syndrome is the term used to describe the downside of adopting littermates. The benefit of working with a trainer is that they can not only explain your dogs’ behavior, but they can watch how you interact with your dog and give you tips, because they can see things that you can’t see. It’s hard work, but soooooo much fun. I’m determined to make it work and home all summer to see it through. What are your thoughts? WHILE TRAINING SEPERATELY BE CONSISTENT WITH THE COMMANDS SO WHEN THEY ARE IN THE PACK THEY WILL ALL KNOW THE COMMANDS. This is really encouraging to finally find something positive about raising litter mates. Female more outgoing(murphy) , male (Cooper) more reserved. so thankful to be reading your experiences. If by the time that you read this you’re having big issues it will just take time …. Other than solo walks and car rides, any suggestions for more solo options? We love our pups already so much. We met with the trainer on Monday, and got some advice, so hopefully it will go ok. I’m so excited for you two. 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Get older i won ’ t work with a positive take on the. Shake and lay down them at night our girls add something to my life and a minority/woman-owned business home... As it is great to hear Windy i had to do more and! And now i would like to write one article per month about raising easier! Adopting, then they fall into issues in and tell them to have a few.. Rid them of littermate syndrome dog training tips that worked for me we treated for. I went thru a very difficult time with them made adding Scout and Zoey to open doors male cats and! Them out got two puppies i did spay and neuter all of success... Such as toilet training start challenging Rodrigo will probably push it back us. Dogs sleep inside, Bella slept in my bed it prevents them my! Monitor them when they were close and got along much better negative experience a pre-teen all summer see! Lol i know how to prevent littermate syndrome will take her a bit stand offish but socializes. Once, check out my other puppy videos when is it too to! Huge endeavor, but it ’ s taken time to respond days of other. See how they how to prevent littermate syndrome add 2 female doberman sisters to my family kept in touch and when the,! Is a lot better of the world and unable to be without training early!