They seem to be fine so far, and we are trying to do things with them separately , so they get used to being apart. I plan to write one article per month about raising littermates. The new puppies adapted quickly to our family. It seems not all litter mates succumb to this syndrome but when they do it can get quite ugly. 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. Should we start separating them right away or should we wait until they’re older? 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! they are now three months old and i feel we are getting somewhere with them, at least in housetraining. Obvious, right? Having 2 established dogs made adding Scout and Zoey 100x easier – wow! I’m involved at the National level. I recently adopted 4 dogs. When they were young, I would take them to puppy day care & asked that they go into separate groups, which I believe has helped alot. My wife new I wanted one, but when we saw the both of them, she decided to go back the following day and bring the other one home. I didn't know that when you leash up dogs for a walk and then chat for 20 minutes before you leave, the dogs will get frustrated and take it out on each other. Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger and Raw Feeder in Marysville, Washington, https://keepthetailwagging.com/top-10-books-for-dog-lovers-in-2015/, https://www.keepthetailwagging.com/ewegurt, https://www.keepthetailwagging.com/cbdoil, http://spanishmastiff.blogspot.com/2015/09/siblings-revisited.html, Why December is the Best Time to Buy Essential Oils. Yes, it is difficult to train them together, and I do credit Cooper’s original family with “helping” in that regard, since they had him during the housebreaking months. So far we haven’t had a lot of snarkyness from people that we’ve told that we’re getting 2 puppies. Litter mates tire each other out too, which is great But on a different, serious, note, I really don’t understand where most of these claims about litter mate trouble came from. My best, most important tips on how i successfully dodged littermate syndrome and bonded with my puppies, beating the internets odds. They’ve never fought. They will be spayed and castrated at 6 months, probably on the same day. I do truly love them both and often talk to them like they are people. We bought two female GSD littermates. They do fight a bit when we pick them up together or if they are in their pet carrier lately. But all the effort will be totally worth it if I can help them to grow up into happy, well-adjusted dogs. Thank you for this blog! IF: the finances allow it is great just remember; two of everything or in my case three. All of our dogs sleep in the house and they each have their favorite spot. I have a boy and a girl, however in the past two days I have noticed that the girl is more dominant. Teresa, I am so sorry. Not knowing your dogs well, I can only guess based on my experience with Rodrigo and Sydney and what you’re seeing sounds very familiar. Littermate Syndrome is the term used to describe the downside of adopting littermates. I think getting littermates can be a wonderful experience for the right family. It really depends on the breed. Just worried as they get older I won’t be able to break them up or that their fighting may turn ugly. Its the 1st positive one I have read. Getting them to use their brain in a 10-15 minute training session does wonders. 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. I consulted with many others just as you did and in the end the consensus was that it was a bad idea to bring home littermates. Thank you for your direction and comments, it’s help us reaffirm that we made a good choice. We spent time just remembering Blue and how much we loved him. I think we won’t have an issues with having two at the same time, but it’s reassuring to hear that it has been done and can be done and be done successfully. Don’t you think that any 2 pups will struggle with the possibility of littermate syndrome whether they are 2 pups from the same breed and litter OR 2 pups the same age but different litters and/or breeds even. 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. I’m just not sure if we have to separate them to sleep at night or if it will be ok if we do alot of things with them separately but let them sleep together at night? Thank you for your very helpful information! They are now just over 4 months. They are crate trained and we plan on getting separate crates this week. 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. I have littermates and I have found it so much easier to raise them. So, four male dogs in one place, and the smallest one is the boss. I raised two previous Littermates without any issues. We have just adpopted Littermates 12 week old, Copper (male) and Lilly (Female) and I did just like others I read the horror stories after the fact, which made me really worry. I was considering picking up littermates before I picked up my first dog, Linus from the animal shelter. Glad you guys were able to avoid this problem. (I just read about the term in a novel). 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. Once this passes she is fine. Would we have already seen signs by now or does that occur later in their lives? I did have all of our dogs spayed and neutered at 6 months. We are now checking to locate a local trainer, to start their training sooner. My litter mates are 12 years old now and best friends. It’s part of how dogs communicate and as Rodrigo gets older, Scout will be able to move into the leader role if it’s open. The best way to prevent littermate syndrome is to pick the right breed. I’m so glad i’ve read your post, so many people shout about the negative points of getting littermates but never talk about the positives. Raw Feeding 101 - Learn to Transition Your Dog to Raw Dog Food. Thanks for sharing your experience, Kimberly? Thanks! As I stated earlier, when I checked into separation anxiety , we started to question our choice. They play together; jog with my husband as a pack together and are really well balanced level headed dogs. Our boy was hospitalized for 2 days recently and we noticed some changes in her demeanor, whiny,clingy, and lack of interest in playing and eating. 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. That’s what I was planning to do but then I wondered if they should have separate (adjacent) crates right from the start. The vast majority of time I must say they are very well behaved pups. 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. 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. They are working on “Come”, “Sit” and “Stay”. Working with someone who didn't judge us and who saw how much we loved our dogs was amazing. We introduced our dogs to new dogs slowly. If they’re fighting, what I found that works best is to work with a dog trainer who can help you strengthen your leadership. Not just litter mates. I feel very happy and blessed that our dogs are so happy and healthy. It’s just so easy to take them all together when I do things with them. What I learned is that my dogs needed a leader they could trust. Did the sleeping arrangements work out? Will they grow out of this? It takes a lot of time, work, budgeting (we’re not rich), and patience. So any encouragement is welcomed! They’ll naturally defer to one another, and ours definitely did (though Bella was a more bold puppy, and Jack was a little more reserved, which is probably why Bella naturally became the leader). They have both been in separate crates now and do great with it; this weekend I took one of my girls on a hike and she did great but when I asked my husband how her sister did he stated she was pretty depressed all day. If you are experiencing behavioral or training issues with your dogs, please contact a qualified, professional dog trainer. I cannot tell you how many people I’m meeting who have had a positive experience with littermates; it makes me so happy. They were fine all 3 together for a few months and then the two started fighting. The first one Rihanna is a beautiful full blooded chihuahua. But you’re right, our dogs form a circle around me when they think I’m being threatened. I recently got 3 littermate puppies, I haven’t had any problems yet. I have had many dogs over decades and bred collies and dachshunds and never experienced this. I chose to save a fourth life because no one wanted that poor puppy so I took her in and I would imagine that a dog trainer would understand that. Please request a referral from your veterinarian, a local shelter, or a local pet store. Coyotes don’t come on our property anymore . I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing them a disservice by raising them together – they seem pretty tightly bonded together and haven’t warmed up to other dogs yet. Just separate crates, or separate parts of the house? My litter mates are very nice. Zoey is shy and submissive. Today is the day we adopted our littermates 5 years ago. Bulldogs are notorious for being difficult to train so oh boy!!! 9 weeks old. Thanks for sharing your experience with litter mates. The berners never fight. They only bond to each other – we separated Rodrigo and Sydney so that each of them bonded to each of us; this was a lot easier than I expected. I’m taking down all of the advice and positive feedback, because we really love these sweeties! They slept together until they didn’t want to anymore, they ate together, they played together. 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). It’s like a ray of sunshine amidst a sea of ‘doom and gloom’ articles on raising littermates! Socialization, mental stimulation, house training, chew training, sleep-time training, crate training, foundation manners–I love doing all of these things with puppies (even the barking/crying that comes along with some of these). 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. Thank you for the positive comments! I have a question about pack hierarchy in a home with littermates – I’d like to write an article in October. I hope to raise these two the same way. #freakingout. He is well trained and we have had no behavioral issue with him. Our thought was that they were in a new environment, why not allow them to have each other as comfort at night? nipped it in the tail and all seems to be well. I believe they are just as bonded to us as they are each other. And we have to ensure they do not compete for toys and food, which can be a problem, we even feed them in separate rooms so they can’t see each other. We have now got 14 week old siblings, dog and a bitch and they have bonded with us well and obviously love each other. We have not regretted our decision to take both and enjoy our time working and playing with them. It was really discouraging finding all the negative points about having two instead of finding help with training two. Thank you for the tips and the positive attitude about the whole situation because as others have said there is a stigma about adopting littermates. They’re crated separately, potty trained separately, fed separately, and have play time/walks separately as well as together. Did you notice it appearing at a certain age? My dad doesn’t want to buy kennels because they’re expensive and take up a lot of space. Either way we plan on having 2 pups at the same time and that is why I think this “syndrome” could be with littermates regardless if they are from the same litter or not. I also do not let them sleep together. My worry was that someone would see that they’re intack and steal them away to breed. I have 2 male literate. Not to mention the two male cats, and the male husband. They do fight a bit when we pick them up together or if they are in their pet carrier lately. I’m just so glad to have finally come across your site as a could not find anyone saying it was even doable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the positive feedback. We spent time with each puppy and each had their own place in our pack. They are all great, all independent from each other, and all well adjusted. We’ll see how it goes. She will overcome her nerves, but it will take her a bit longer. Life offers no guarantees. What I’ve found is that many times, when people are researching “littermates” they’ve already brought the puppies home and aren’t willing to consider rehoming one of them. 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. Have them sleep in separate crates/rooms and … I am so glad to have found your post. We’re two and a half weeks into our own two littermates. Or, sometimes we played with them 10-15′ apart. They both get anxious when we take one to the vet without the other one…now I know why and will start taking them on separate walks to help get them used to being apart. This blog post was originally published in November 2012; it has been updated with new information. LOL. I’ve had to work hard not to allow them to control me with puppy eyes (Scout and Rodrigo have that down). I am so sorry. Except having to sleep on the sofa while the wife got the bed. I still take my dogs to classes and on play dates. He pulls and stops while we are walking sometimes out of the blue and almost tripped me this morning and just about broke my arms. 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. They play and the older two have slimmed down. Thank you for a more positive approach. The easiest way to prevent littermate syndrome is to only take one puppy at a time. Opie looks and acts more like their Mom, and Bella is just like Dad, tea cup Yorkie. 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. Two puppies being raised together were fighting. Now I would know to do the things you did and I’m sure i would have missed many of the problems. Isn't the vet bill just twice, because of two dogs? Scout and Zoey did it around 2 months old, probably because we already had two dogs so they were immediately part of a pack. Our new “kids” are the first furry friends since our beloved Bichon, Benny, passed away 10 years ago. They eat from the same bowl, they don’t fight over toys or treats. In our case, my two boys were the last two to be adopted from the litter. 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). I feel they are very bonded to us though. Though my husband and I have experience with dogs and with this breed we’ve never had 2. What are your thoughts? I stumbled across your blog and I just adopted a pair of littermates about 10 weeks old, all good so far. Again, thank you for this website and all the valuable tips. Have fun and best of luck!!! 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. And today, they’re all just as sweet. And, to be honest, I would have done it without their approval.” At different times in our lives we have had more than one dog – at one point three dogs and two cats. 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. I did plenty of analysis before hand and also have recently been investing in the task — different crates, different moves, separate perform occasion, different workout sessions — but the articles include me personally pretty weird. 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. My dogs are doing so great too. She really took a liking to my son who was home from college on a summer visit. We love them and they love us, but I’m completely frazzled from all the work and lack of sleep, and I was starting to worry that I wasn’t up to the myriad challenges that littermates present. I spent the entire time we had outside (we’re doing 20 minute play sessions because of the heat) rounding them up. But I changed our routine, found a brand new place to walk, and did everything I could go keep them engaged with me. We adopted littermates with no idea of the problems associated with doing so. I was blessed and challenged raising 3 littermates together. Thank you so much for this positive aspect. 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. Leash up one dog and have a friend hold the leash so the dog can’t follow, and slowly walk away with the other 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. Plus my pros & cons of raising littermate puppies! I have raised littermate Livestock Guardian Dogs for years with huge success. At first I wasn’t too happy with getting both of them because I had read online about all of the problems that you can have with littermates. We have litter mates and a cousin from another litter ..who were all born within days of each other. We are still working on acquainting them with other dogs but they are getting better with each socialization class. But we haven’t noticed any health issues, so I’m not kicking myself about it. We have never heard of Littermate Syndrome until a friend who works at the Humane Society said we would have to find a home for one of the dogs or the fights would only get far more serious. TO address the anxiety, I would do some training. Scout and Zoey stopped sleeping together when they were about 3 months old. I have two sets of littermates and I have never experienced littermate syndrome. We made sure to give them lots of separate attention since we rescued them. Of course, if done right – as you have – it can be fine. Prince was depressed and felt lost for awhile after his brother died but he has adjusted. That’s totally the case. Question: this separation, what’s a good ratio of together vs separate play times/socialization? The key to dealing with littermate syndrome is to take preventative steps starting the moment you bring the puppies home. Thank you again and God bless you and your family. I know for some that it’s the only option, but for us, we worked hard to make it work and it really was all about training ourselves. I cringe at the “litter mate syndrome” articles out there. Have fun with your puppies. Thank you. I’m certainly not regretting the decision, double trouble is double the mess, but also double the love. You can get recommendations at your local pet store, doggy day care, or veterinarian’s office. They will be one year old 9/11/18. I say that now. We have had problems with them, but I think it falls back on us because they haven’t been neutered. Littermate syndrome is not going to happen to every single pair of puppies that are raised together. They are so loving and adorable, and it would kill me to have to get rid of one of them. I hope it will be an easy transition, but I worry they may whine without each other. Three things helped: 1) Immediately sign them up for puppy classes. Scout and Zoey have never fought. help. I would love to share my success stories with you and exchange ideas and thoughts in E-mails! Yes, i agree with you completely. I will be taking one of them to live with in about two months while the other will stay with my parents. It’s not a perfect solution, because dogs will mourn, but it’s something. We bought two GSD puppies from the same litter when they were 10wks old – one boy and girl – they are now 13wks old. We recently added two Yorkies (one boy and one girl) to our family. I’m so thankful that I followed that advice too. 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