I am planning on getting littermates but the littermate syndrome has me a little startled. I will let you know how it goes. Littermate Syndrome is total nonsense concocted by people that need something to blame on their lack of training and socialization.. Each of them have their own distinct personalities. 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. I can’t find these types of guidelines anywhere. 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. Hi Ellen – be sure to reach out to a local positive-based dog trainer to seek guidance. Female more outgoing(murphy) , male (Cooper) more reserved. An owner should know that preventing littermate syndrome doesn't just double their workload, but rather triples it. 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. Following a recent query from a concerned, prospsective, owner, I thought I would take this opportunity to dispel yet another commonly held belief, one which only serves to prevent good people from taking lovely dogs into their families. It’s nice to get a fresh perspective like yours on littermate syndrome. I stumbled across your blog and I just adopted a pair of littermates about 10 weeks old, all good so far. Rodrigo and Sydney turned 9 in March. Or you can reach out to local pet businesses for recommendations and search review sites for people’s experience with those trainers. It’s really nice to know I’m not alone in having such a positive experience. We spent time just remembering Blue and how much we loved him. All of my previous dogs, both males and females have all been “done” at six months with no problems. I’m glad my posts are helping people. They will have you laughing every single day! I have never experienced littermate syndrome. I still take my dogs to classes and on play dates. I think the time they take to really analyze their buyers is what makes their success rate very high. Rodrigo and Sydney mourned when we lost Blue and when Sydney was resting because of her cruciate, she would cry when J took Rigo for a walk without her. They don’t look related. Now I let them play together more often; I let my daughter run them around the yard together but I still feed them in separate pens. 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 … Thank you so much for sharing your experience. In many cases, littermates can grow up to lead normal, healthy lives in the same household. Which made us feel we made the right decision. I have raised littermate Livestock Guardian Dogs for years with huge success. We pick them up in a couple of weeks and we are trying to prepare now, we have two separate crates and plan on training them separate and once they listen to us try to see if they listen when around each other like in the garden. They are best friends with each other and my wife and me as well. We also already walk them separately so I’m hoping that is helping. 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. My dogs still aren’t happy that I’m leaving them behind, but their stress level is a lot better. I agree with you that if you are aware of what can happen and actively work to avoid it, there is no reason not to have litter mates. Except having to sleep on the sofa while the wife got the bed. 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. But not everyone is so dedicated and dog-savvy! I am so sorry. He leads the pack on the jogs. Am I selfish to keep these two dogs and not insist that one be rehomed? 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. Rihanna tends to hang out with me; she is a bit stand offish but she socializes with the other dogs very well. They will fight for dominance – we got to know their signals and we learned more about how dogs think. We had to leave her alone for about 5 hours one of the days he was hospitalized. 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. I ended up not bringing home two because of all the reasons you mentioned above. I totally understand that it can be harder, but that is obvious. we’re trying to do things with them separately as much as we can but a lot of patience is needed! I have a boy and a girl, however in the past two days I have noticed that the girl is more dominant. I have successfully raised two sets of littermates and have not witnessed or experienced littermate syndrome. They’ve not had an accident at night since and sleep through the night every night! The one recommendation I have for anyone with littermates is to hire a dog trainer. To attest to their happy, litter mate quality of life, my mom’s husky lived to 15 (taken by cancer) and my brother’s girl left us peacefully just one month before her 18th birthday. We bought two female GSD littermates. Our family just brought home two 8 week old boxer puppies and I have some questions for you if you have the time. She really took a liking to my son who was home from college on a summer visit. I simply wanted to share my experience because there aren’t a lot of people talking about the steps they took to raise happy littermates. Train them, spend one on one time with them, give them separate adventures and you’ll be fine. Hi! Thank you for the tips and positive perspectives! We are planning to have them sleep apart in their own kennels. Oh and thanks for the picture. Bullying and aggression between siblings seems to happen more often than between unrelated dogs, and it can get nasty. Thanks for the comment. 7 months old. One reason this helped was there were times when one puppy was tired and the other wanted to play, so separating helped. It’s an all natural supplement made from sheep’s milk that helps calm anxiety. I do find the vast majority of people who would be willing to sell littermates or two puppies are backyard breeders or puppy mills. (They were born on April 15th, my Birthday. I’m determined to make it work and home all summer to see it through. Aug 29, 2020 - Need help with Littermate Syndrome? would be more work than I’d recommend the average person or family take on. Crate separately - Crate your puppies separately at night. They play together; jog with my husband as a pack together and are really well balanced level headed dogs. I have a set of littermates. But we haven’t noticed any health issues, so I’m not kicking myself about it. 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. 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. Just bigger. Chihuahua mix, was picked up as a stray when he was about six months old. I have 2 male literate. They are the most obedient, well trained loving dogs. Due to the personal nature of my blog, I do not accept guest posts nor do I participate in link exchanges, paid or otherwise. PS – I still do training for fun. I’m, afraid I will miss the sign and N will really be hurt. I raise chows, and you cannot ever get a perfectly sweet chow. (Zoie and Ginger) Thanks for sharing this, Bethany That’s so sweet. At 14 weeks we are in love with both of our lab/husky mixes, they are wonderful, but we are having some issues despite our best intentions and actions. Thank You, I would love some advice. Personal training time should be seen as incredibly important in dealing with littermate syndrome because it encourages your puppies to look to you for direction, not to their sibling. Thumbs up! I believe they are just as bonded to us as they are each other. They listen to me pretty well but I do walk them separately every day so we have one on one time. Always supervising them eliminated these issues quickly. I have litter mate sisters 5 months we didn’t plan on both but things happen .I have them since they are 6 weeks old and I never heard of this until I joined a Facebook group.I don’t have any problems with them being overly bonded with each other they love me most! Scout and Zoey are 5-1/2 years old. Thanks! Thank you for the tip regarding the trainer, I have heard that mentioned several times regarding grieving dogs. Cause at this time unknown but most likely cancer. Right now it’s about 70:30 (together:separate) for socialization/play time and a good 30:70 (together:separate) for potty training. I’m glad that I have researched about it and I am working on separating my two labs more. 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 reading your article was incredibly reassuring that it can turn out well. That’s how our dogs are too. Thank you so much for this positive aspect. Just separate crates, or separate parts of the house? Or even if you have a friend who wants to walk, your friend can walk one dog while you walk the other. I have read that it is best to keep them apart but then read that Brenda Negri recommends they are kept together. A recent post in a Facebook group prompted me to write this. I so agree with you and this can be applied to so many things in the pet world. Trainers say that littermates need to be separated because they need space and it prevents them from bonding only to each other. Because of how much demand a puppy brings on the household in finances, time, and activity. The male is neutered and we have made plans in the next three months to get both females spayed. That wAs one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever had to do. They were very close but I never thought their bond was stronger than mine. I wonder if you could share some of the insight that your trainer gave you about training? We hope to change the sleeping arrangements very soon. You can always get a safe one. I’m not pushing for people to adopt littermates, instead, I’m sharing our experience. They love like no other. My fiancee and I have reserved two french bulldogs from the same litter (Brothers) one is shy and one is hyper. We already have 2 older dogs at home and decided to get a pair of litter mates, we didn’t really heed the warnings until everyone and their mom basically told us how much wrong we were doing. He currently whines and frets when out on his own. Once this passes she is fine. I didn’t separate my dogs; that was just a personal choice – so I may not be the best person to ask. 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. So I will start calling behaviorist and trainers and seek guidance there as well. We absolutely love them, and they love us, but they have some really big problems. Cooper has ALSO bonded with me. What did you do to put a stop to it? If you are experiencing behavioral or training issues with your dogs, please contact a qualified, professional dog trainer. I am questioning now if we should have two crates rather than one XL one. Very strange. 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. It’s wonderful, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Any insight would be very helpful. 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. . So not only do you need food and the traditional supplies – but you have to account for replacing destroyed things. Though my husband and I have experience with dogs and with this breed we’ve never had 2. Littermates isn’t for every family and not every pair of puppies will turn out as well as our two sets have turned out. Littermate Syndrome (also knows as Sibling Aggression or Littermate Aggression) is a non-scientific anecdotal term that refers to a whole host of behavioral issues that tend to present when canine siblings (Littermates) are raised in the same household beyond the normal 8 to 10 weeks of age, when puppies are usually placed in homes. We’ll see how it goes. Toby was my dog and Prince was my daughter’s but she brought him back to us when she was having life issues. My first set of littermates are now 9 years old and I still work on training with them. Each time the leashed dog doesn’t show anxiety or stress, give him a treat. Littermate Syndrome is the term used to describe the downside of adopting littermates. I learned quickly, I built my confidence where our dogs are concerned, and that solved everything for us. 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. Best of luck. i do have an adult dog in the house. The only time we separated them was when one was playful and the other was trying to sleep. My fiancé returned home, she greeted him at the gate, and then resumed her squirrel chasing. Congratulations on your GSDs. Not only that – my customers go on to repeat that success. Great idea! Did you notice it appearing at a certain age? I was considering picking up littermates before I picked up my first dog, Linus from the animal shelter. Three weeks later and another drive and night spent in a motel, we picked them up and brought them home. Scout and Zoey stopped sleeping together when they were about 3 months old. Our girls add something to my life that I don't want to be without. We are older now and have been worried we might be overwhelmed but after reading the posts in this blog and knowing how much we give to our pets I am feeling more optimistic. He gets nervous the second that I put a leash on him. But the first few trainers I interacted with were mortified that I adopted littermates and three at that and I can’t have anyone in my home with that negativity because I don’t want that to channel into my pups. So what can you do to prevent problems if you already have littermates? The new puppies adapted quickly to our family. The alpha of the two brothers and the half brother both want to be alphas. Rodrigo tends to want to boss everyone around and Scout just likes to get along with everyone. Even if you don’t think you need one, hire one anyway. The fearful one also howls when they are separated. Today was hot here and we’re not used to mid-eighties. 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. Have them sleep in separate crates/rooms and … Also, don’t forget that’s dogs are pack animals and do better with company of another dog or pet. Adopting a little doesn’t cost a little, infact it is very expensive. But no matter how cute they are the safer route will always be to just take one. When they would fight, it was because of something I did or failed to do. (Too late; we already did it.) I can point you to some trails. And, to be honest, I would have done it without their approval. They have never more than growled at each other (they’re 2 yrs old, fixed) and they get lots of exercise (they go with me & the horse on the trail & can run up to 20 miles in a day!) Sounds like you are kicking butt as a dog mom and I’m so proud. It’s still painful. This is why we have pet insurance on all of our dogs. LOL! Many breeders, dog trainers, and animal behaviorist believe that littermates… 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. So I definitely think litter mates are easier, though I don’t think I would do that by myself. So, four male dogs in one place, and the smallest one is the boss. We have taken them to 2 puppy classes so far and the female is very timid there. We are not sure if that’ s a playful fight or a serious scuffle. I felt that they were in a new place and they had each other for security. We already risk the fact that they might “bond with each other over family members” having 2 dogs raised at the same time together. But I feel like I need to have a plan even so. Thank you! I really needed to hear something positive about littermates after the barrage of “NO NO DON’T DO IT” articles I’ve read. 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? P.S the puppies will be 6 months by the time we will leave him/them home alone, Yes, I still have my dogs. Already have two female standard poodle litter mates that are 11 weeks old and feel things are going pretty good. Early training is so important in your dog's development, so small mistakes at this juncture can … Sorry to hear about the fighting. We’re committed to both dogs and making this a successful home. He is well trained and we have had no behavioral issue with him. Hopefully, the separation anxiety which shows up as whining and crying when the other is taken outside to take care of business will be alleviated. I currently have two 9 month old male husky/malamute brothers. I have a very busy schedule that makes breaking up my littermates challenging at times. Today, I wonder if we hadn’t had those warnings, if we would have had a positive or negative experience. I am not an expert but I’ve had multiple non-litter mates and I do not think it is much different with litter mates. They’re both still alive. Hi Christal – the best way to correct the behavior is to work with a professional dog trainer. . The girls took longer – Sydney wasn’t fully potty trained until she was 4-5 months old. Thanks for being open minded with your words and seeing that there is in fact, a bright side to this coin! 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 think you need to be experienced, and you need to ignore the myths. Not to mention the two male cats, and the male husband. We spent time with each puppy and each had their own place in our pack. haha. I was blessed and challenged raising 3 littermates together. Can littermate syndrome be prevented? Yes, i agree with you completely. My dad doesn’t want to buy kennels because they’re expensive and take up a lot of space. We will persevere and are prepared to put the work in. So far they seem pretty happy and enjoy the time they spend together and with me but they do get lost in their own world when they play and use selective hearing. Scout and Zoey did it around 2 months old, probably because we already had two dogs so they were immediately part of a pack. If they sleep together in a crate, get another and start with the crates side by side, moving them farther apart over time. 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. That hasn’t been my experience. Copyright© 2011-2020 Kimberly Gauthier. I still have the older of the two, he is 14, and all three males get along great. The only thing I would recommend is puppy training classes. As I stated earlier, when I checked into separation anxiety , we started to question our choice. My only real concern at the moment is the fighting, I realise at their age that most is puppy play but it does escelate, when it does we have to separate them before it gets worse so they understand when to stop. I keep reading that they need to sleep separately. We live on 5 acres and I opened the door and all the dogs scattered. The best path is to work with a positive based dog trainer experience in canine behavior. If you’re concerned about your puppies getting along, I recommend working with a certified, professional dog trainer to help you lay the foundation. Other than solo walks and car rides, any suggestions for more solo options? So I give my dogs Ewegurt (https://www.keepthetailwagging.com/ewegurt) about 30-40 minutes before I plan to leave. Once my mom let the dogs sleep inside, Bella slept in my bed. Do I just let them fight it out? That means they should be regularly walked separately, played with separately, and trained separately. All meals were in their crate. Up to now that they sound pretty happy and revel in any time that they invest jointly and with me personally however they perform acquire lost within their very own entire world when they perform and make use of not bothered ability to hear. It works for us. Life offers no guarantees. They are goldendoodles, which I believe has led to a bit of the success as they are SO easy & loving. They will be spayed and castrated at 6 months, probably on the same day. If someone gets all of the information (good and bad) we give them more power to make a better choice. Remember that littermates have been tumbling and tussling together since they were old enough to see and walk. I have found that are girls are harder to train than the boys. TO address the anxiety, I would do some training. Yes I feel its me that causes the issues between them. They nap now in different rooms. 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. Well things have been going great until they turned 8 months old. The best advice I have for anyone who has littermates is to work with a qualified dog trainer/behaviorist. LOL. 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). We didn't anticipate arthritis, an attack by a coyote, or a partial cruciate tear. Me and my husband will be at work, I leave at around 8 30 and he leaves at 9 30. Its the 1st positive one I have read. The goal is to keep the puppies from developing a counterproductive degree of … I’d make sure that they’re fighting and not play fighting. I have had dogs all my life and a lot of the symptoms they talk about are normal multi dog issues. I am excited to bring them home and look forward to seeing them grow and their personalities develop. He’s home now and all is good again, but we are not sure how short lived this will be and we are now contemplating the future and what we should expect. Our dogs are pretty independent, but I know that they will mourn the loss of their littermate something fierce. Scout and Zoey have never fought. 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. I have two sets of littermates and I have never experienced littermate syndrome. How did you know when one or the other wanted their own space? Scout is nearly 8 months old and we’re waiting for him to start challenging Rodrigo. 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 can't be in a room alone unless I close the door and 3 of our dogs know how to open doors. But all the effort will be totally worth it if I can help them to grow up into happy, well-adjusted dogs. We have done everything that has been suggested and it has made all the difference in the world. But we did it! Oops, didn’t mean to put a question mark after that first sentence. Prince was depressed and felt lost for awhile after his brother died but he has adjusted. Ellie is a kind, gentle but assertive alpha, and we anticipate that she will maintain this status with the puppies. My family got litter mate huskies when I was a pre-teen. What a wonderful website i’ve found! I am curious though how breeders handle keeping two or more littermates at a time to select a puppy for their own since a lot of breeders will do this to "grow a puppy out" before placing them. Litter-mate "Syndrome" Litter-mate Syndrome . Have fun with your puppies. The best recommendation I can suggest is to continue working with training. Working with someone who didn't judge us and who saw how much we loved our dogs was amazing. 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. It works for us; it doesn't work for everyone. They first set was two male Samoyeds followed by a male and female Bernese Mountain Dog. Some behaviors they have exhibited (mostly not listening to me and following each other’s direction when out at the park), but they never fight. Bevin. We are now checking to locate a local trainer, to start their training sooner. Today, all of our dogs are adults and they sometimes sleep in the same room, sometimes in different rooms. But that is in a perfect world. They are Golden Retrievers named Fletch and Teddy. The easiest way to prevent littermate syndrome in puppies is to not adopt two pups at the same time, says Graddy. Raw Feeding 101 - Learn to Transition Your Dog to Raw Dog Food. The lady who was not a professional breeder told us that once we had made our decision on the two that they had become inseparable , sleeping, eating and playing together. I wrote on your Facebook page, but I’ll also say a comment here. Is it kind of strange that I’ve been Googling “Littermate Syndrome” lately and leaving our experience? I now work with each one alone, give lots of positive reinforcement when they are together and separate upon command, and put K in a crate when I see the signs that she is about to pounce. 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. Today, it's always a surprise to see where the dogs slept during the night. We kept in touch and when the pups were born we were given a pick of the litter. Or, sometimes we played with them 10-15′ apart. Although those ladies were awful, they did me one favor and recommended the most amazing dog trainer in Western Washington, Shannon Finch of Animal Kind Training. Oh I do too. They are now starting to fight not play fight. Thanks once more! How are y’all managing this? I ended up not bringing home two because of all the reasons you mentioned above. Thank you for all the stories that make me feel we and our puppies will do well. Maybe something high value was left out or we created a frustrating situation for them. Were 14 and 16 and the younger two were definitely affected to talk to you, that ’! 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And she let her have 1 heat before spaying considering adopting littermates truly think that it is probably confusing m... Know why, because we worked as a could not find anyone it... Other works momentarily but they always seem to have to install another doggy door is helping be depression if later... A myth two have slimmed down little gentlemen ” should be regularly walked separately fed! Prevent littermate syndrome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!... Our beloved Bichon, Benny, passed away last year so starting over was already.... On our property anymore regular schedule prevent problems if you already have two puppies her siblings loss just... Though my husband as a team and we ’ re two and a cousin from another litter.. who all... The animal shelter course, if done right – as you have recommendations for books, trainers, or local! Check out my other puppy videos confidence again that i ’ d do it have found that you separated... Weeks later and another drive and night spent in a home with unrelated! Or as a pack together and separately and have a boy and a half brother ideas and thoughts in!... That would be so hard on both of your dogs, because they love each other 's company we! Into training as soon as they were close and got along much better:. Is at least catch up a little startled a walk whilst my partner is least!