Taking on littermates is not for the faint hearted, if I had known what I know now I wouldn’t have done it, but my husband and I are determined to make it work. First of all I’d like to thank you so much for your wonderful entry. My Rat terrier slept with me from the day I brought her home, but with these two, we decided to put them in a sleep pen at night until they get a bit older. Other than solo walks and car rides, any suggestions for more solo options? 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. They listen to me pretty well but I do walk them separately every day so we have one on one time. TO address the anxiety, I would do some training. I didn’t know about littermate syndrome when we brought our sister/brother labradoodles home 2 years ago. We also already walk them separately so I’m hoping that is helping. The first dog we got when he was 8wks and we have had him since then. Cooper has ALSO bonded with me. So glad I found your site! Early training is so important in your dog's development, so small mistakes at this juncture can … I recommend working with a professional dog trainer. Again, thanks for some encouragement! And louder. I have one that the minute I let her out of the cage is trying to control the other. At that time the male came down with lung cancer, they both crossed the rainbow bridge together in Feb, 2017. Hi guys, I just found out about littermates syndrome and it got my attention immediately. They are crate trained but both in the same crate. Me and my husband will be at work, I leave at around 8 30 and he leaves at 9 30. Based on very little information, a surprising number of people jumped in and proclaimed this to be Littermate Syndrome and prescribed rehoming one of the dogs as the only possible solution. Our dogs love routine and the more I can keep them at a routine the better they behave. We currently have litter mate mini schnauzers that are 3 months old. We are super excited but I just ran across littermate syndrome last night and now a little nervous. The younger was adopted when he was eight weeks so no real issues except that he is now bonded with my other dog to the point that he whines when I take the other out for a walk. I’m envious about your 20 miles a day. 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). I love hearing success stories with dogs. We hired a private, positive based trainer (who came highly recommended) for Rodrigo and Sydney and it didn't cost much. Thank you <3. Zoey was about 4 months. Also, did you spay/neuter your entire pack? They are from different litters but are 5 days apart. haha. Thank You, I have 12 year old litter mates, male and female. I do not offer coaching or consultations; the most I can do is share my personal experience. 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 both gave in to the other so were at an impasse. 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. Our dogs definitely have a hierarchy and it’ll be interesting to see if it remains. I don’t like dog parks and worry about the health and safety of our dogs in that environment. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. That wAs one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever had to do. Good luck litter mates are awesome and Moesha will be going to college with my daughter in 2018. They play fight all the time. I am so glad to have found your post. Thank you They are fed together and have treats at the same time. 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 spent time just remembering Blue and how much we loved him. Scout and Zoey attended the PetSmart puppy class, which was an amazing experience. We’re 2 peas in a pod. I think getting littermates can be a wonderful experience for the right family. We can’t have them out together and spend time with them, because all they do is ruff-house and play with each other. I have read all the warnings about two puppies and littermate syndrome and have been feeling some anxiety but then read Kimberly’s words, “It only took 2 people being excited about the idea to convince me to go for it. 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 have never crated any dog, I don’t like the idea of cages. We should be starting dog training as well. Rigo has done a great job keeping him in line and he did challenge Sydney a couple times but she easily reminded him of his place without fighting. My fiancee and I have reserved two french bulldogs from the same litter (Brothers) one is shy and one is hyper. Littermates are expensive – and this is no joke and we feed them raw dog food. 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. My best, most important tips on how i successfully dodged littermate syndrome and bonded with my puppies, beating the internets odds. I would like to be prepared in case anything happens . I am a devotee of Turid Rugaas and Tom Dorrance. I just want to add, that you also need to consider all those “scary” sites do have good reasons, and most reputable breeders would never sell littermates, or two puppies to the same household for the fact that the dogs can end up with terrible separation anxiety, problems socializing and most people can’t handle the demand of taking care of two puppies. Do everything separate. I can’t tell you how many times people have tried to scare me away from various things by stating an opinion as fact. Scout and Zoey have never fought. Just bigger. My dogs are happy, healthy and well adjusted. Thanks again for a good article and finger crossed it will work out for my two new baby girls. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. One is a red Merle Min pin and the other is a chocolate Merle Min pin. At what time can we stop worrying about aggression issues? It’s like a ray of sunshine amidst a sea of ‘doom and gloom’ articles on raising littermates! Two of our English Shepherds are brothers and one is a half brother. That was truly the important step, being a leader in our home. I fear the day the first one passes. 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. With 2 dogs, you have twice the chance of unanticipated injuries. But I feel like I need to have a plan even so. They will do this with families who have experience with raising dogs, they have a very strict and actionable contract that they will act on should one or both of the puppies end up in the shelter system, and they all agree to take dogs back no matter the age or reason. So I had a problematic experience when I adopted litter mates. They are crate trained and we plan on getting separate crates this week. My male recently has been diagnosed with Pericardial Effusion. I think we paid less than $200 for three 2-hour sessions with our puppies. He currently whines and frets when out on his own. I wIll do anything to help her when the time comes. The adult dogs don't fight with the puppies; there are warnings and corrections, but no fights. I have had SO many people tell me that the breeder should not have sold them both to us etc etc. I’m glad I found this! 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. I think humans (especially those inexperienced in reading dog behavior and dog “signals” and body language) mistake “wrestling and rumbling” for “fighting”. PS – I still do training for fun. Your post was very helpful and reassured my thinking that my girls will have a healthy happy life. Now that we have 4 dogs, it’s important that we keep order in our home and working with trainers for our dogs has really made a huge difference. In many cases, littermates can grow up to lead normal, healthy lives in the same household. My problem is my girls want to play together and play fight all the time. Thank you again, for being a “positive” on this subject. 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 have a set of littermates. They are crate trained and we plan on getting separate crates this week. But I do give that I know a few good breeders who would be willing to sell littermates to people they were familiar with, had a long history of owning and caring for dogs and with a stricter contract. We bought two female GSD littermates. We had our fur daughter for 9 yes and she passed away last year so starting over was already scary. Oh and thanks for the picture. They’ve never fought. Litter-mate "Syndrome" Litter-mate Syndrome . It only took 2 people being excited about the idea to convince me to go for it. It’s not like they spend a ton of time in the crate(s) anyway. Thank you for this blog! It works for us. I’m glad that I have researched about it and I am working on separating my two labs more. And I have customers doing it in spades now too. Such bad advice! We live on 5 acres and I opened the door and all the dogs scattered. For Rodrigo and Sydney, they were about 4-5 months old when they started sleeping separately. She starts fights with her brother and becomes grumpy and growls – even when we pick her up! We have a 7-year-old female border collie (Ellie) and until a month ago had a 3-year-old male BC (Bert) who was hit by a car. The girls took longer – Sydney wasn’t fully potty trained until she was 4-5 months old. He was fostered in a home with two other big dogs. Rihanna tends to hang out with me; she is a bit stand offish but she socializes with the other dogs very well. Sounds like heaven. We introduced our dogs to new dogs slowly. It works for us; it doesn't work for everyone. We were not able to crate our pups- we tried for the first several weeks but they barked all night long and pooped in the crate and flung it everywhere- so after weeks with no sleep we moved them to our bed. He gets nervous the second that I put a leash on him. We are about to completely seperate their crates. Sounds like you are kicking butt as a dog mom and I’m so proud. I started debating keeping my pups together, but reading your article really made me feel better. Our dogs are bonded to each other and to us. Yes, there can be depression if seperated later but again that happens to all dogs. Should we start separating them right away or should we wait until they’re older? Zoey and Sydney are more timid than Scout and Rodrigo. They play and the older two have slimmed down. Have them sleep in separate crates/rooms and … 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. If I could get paid to raise puppies for … But as with all junk science, there is plenty of anecdotal "evidence" to back it up. Hi! Yes, there can be aggression issus but that can happen with any dogs. They’re a good mix and I have a few friends who have dogs that are a good addition to our pack. The best recommendation I can suggest is to continue working with training. I spent the entire time we had outside (we’re doing 20 minute play sessions because of the heat) rounding them up. Both bonded well to me and my husband. i would like to enroll them in a class and live in oregon and certainly want to find a trainer who won’t be judgmental. This blog post was originally published in November 2012; it has been updated with new information. did they sleep separately? Not far, just a couple of feet at a time. thanks for all the great advice. 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. Well actually no, a lot of people I have come in contact with tell me that they already have a specific breed in mind for their puppies. We are planning to have them sleep apart in their own kennels. I currently have two 9 month old male husky/malamute brothers. I appreciate all the positive feedback here because there is no way I could pick one over the other. Female more outgoing(murphy) , male (Cooper) more reserved. Hi! If I put them in separate spaces I guess I would have to install another doggy door??? 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. 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. Don't train, feed, or even walk them together until they're both reliably trained. 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? They have already bonded to both of us. The first one Rihanna is a beautiful full blooded chihuahua. They were a joy, playing together and loving us and each other until they were spayed. She would lay around and not show much of her character we are used to. Mild cases are barely noticeable, while severe cases can lead to constant fighting, separation anxiety from each other, and even in some cases, aggression towards humans. Congratulations on your GSDs. I did adopt litter mates. Is it too late to rid them of littermate syndrome? Any ideas how I should go about finding a reputable trainer? Thanks for the comment. So I thought I’d share our experience, which hasn’t been easy. 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. Maybe because they are a herding breed they get along in a pack. The only trouble I have now is convincing strangers that NO my dogs don’t want to play with your dog. I personally don’t believe in separating littermate puppies. They do rough house a little, but it never gets too far and they are always running around the back yard and playing with one another. Sometimes littermate syndrome can take the form of non-stop fighting between the dogs. Littermate Syndrome is the term used to describe the downside of adopting littermates. I’m not a dog trainer or animal behaviorist. And it worked! Every one of those claims is a myth. 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 all the stories that make me feel we and our puppies will do well. Now that your two are two years old can you give me some advice or encouragement? I’m not trying to tell people that they’re wrong, I’m just showing that there could be a way to succeed if you are up to the challenge. I have had dogs all my life and a lot of the symptoms they talk about are normal multi dog issues. Opie looks and acts more like their Mom, and Bella is just like Dad, tea cup Yorkie. During this time we met a lady, on line, that lived some 250 miles away that had a mini that was accidentally pregnant. Yes, they’ve bonded with each other. Ok, yeah, they are expensive, but having just ONE pet is expensive LOL! would be more work than I’d recommend the average person or family take on. My male corgi, Bobdog mated with our female, Maggie Mae and produced a litter of 5. It’s still painful. The dogs would go for walks together (I would walk them together), and they would occasionally play together, but otherwise Bella would be much more interested in being with me and Jack would be with my mom or brother more than me. Raw Feeding 101 - Learn to Transition Your Dog to Raw Dog Food. Plus my pros & cons of raising littermate puppies! Two mom’s and three pups…got them from my cousins. I have recently been alerted to the term “Littermate Syndrome” which seems to have become common parlance and a kind of pseudo-diagnosis in some dog behaviour circles. A week ago I adopted 12-week old siblings – one boy, one girl. I’ve always thought that it was my job to keep the peace – as long as I was alpha of our pack, then everything would be fine and it has been. My worse two for fighting were Champ and Prince but they were not litter mates. 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. Littermate Syndrome is the term used to describe the downside of adopting littermates. Particularly in how closely they bond to each other, ignoring the rest of the world and unable to be separated. If they’re fighting, what I found that works best is to work with a dog trainer who can help you strengthen your leadership. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure that the two puppies spend a significant amount of time apart each and every day. I just started to walk them separately in am and pm. All meals were in their crate. Thank you for your article. Or even if you have a friend who wants to walk, your friend can walk one dog while you walk the other. Hiring a professional dog trainer is the best way to get the dogs off on the right start, because a professional will be able to look at the dogs and the humans and figure out what may be causing the issues. LOL! Hi Ellen – be sure to reach out to a local positive-based dog trainer to seek guidance. People like YOU make me feel great about writing so much about my own experience. When they both play, my wife and I are invisible to them. Email is attached. They play together; jog with my husband as a pack together and are really well balanced level headed dogs. Littermate syndrome is serious, unless your invested to learning about dog behavior for God’s sakes do not get dogs from the same litter……. And how did you then create that space? Which made us feel we made the right decision. 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. The reason I like to bring home two puppies is to make the transition easier and give them a friend so I don’t want to then put them in separate rooms. Glad you guys were able to avoid this problem. Stop being lazy and do the work. 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. His original family didn’t want him. The only warning she gave us was ‘if the dogs start fighting, call me immediately so that we can get to work.' I need a little bit of help, though. They are both progressing in their training (my husband and I train them separately). The longer you wait to deal with littermate syndrome, the more difficult it … It's a huge commitment. The problem that I have been having most recently though is with my less dominant one. But you’re right, our dogs form a circle around me when they think I’m being threatened. They eat from the same bowl, they don’t fight over toys or treats. LOL Keep the Tail Wagging® seems to be the one blog that shares positive experiences. We’re two and a half weeks into our own two littermates. Cause at this time unknown but most likely cancer. It was a nice change of pace reading a pro-littermate adoption article. Having had two pets for many years, we forgot how much work puppies required. Recently got litter mates and had some issues at 8 weeks. I also know many people have and are raising littermates that are happy, healthy, well-socialized dogs. I can't be in a room alone unless I close the door and 3 of our dogs know how to open doors. I raised two previous Littermates without any issues. I always thought I had to protect them; we protect each other. Otherwise, they were allowed to be together. A couple of months back, we got two puppies of the opposite gender. The only problem I have noticed is they don’t like other dogs except their older fur sister (no relation) How To Prevent Littermate Syndrome (Do These Things BEFORE Your Puppies Turn 6 Months Old!) I will probably push it back to 10-12 months with future littermates since I don’t take them to the dog park. 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. I had them crate trained in three days & seperated shortly after. I feel they are very bonded to us though. Best of luck with your trainer. In our case, my two boys were the last two to be adopted from the litter. I didn’t separate my dogs; that was just a personal choice – so I may not be the best person to ask. 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. 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. The rescue convinced me to adopt them both cause they felt Cooper needed Murphy. I have previous experience training two male dogs of similar age (not littermates) so it wasn’t something new to me. We’re already attending a together-training class, and I have separate training classes scheduled for them next week. We will be having them sleep separately. It’s nice to get a fresh perspective like yours on littermate syndrome. We have 2 dogs that are almost 5 years old and they are littermates. Barking and going crazy. We have taken them to 2 puppy classes so far and the female is very timid there. 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