LOL 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. Although, we have been waiting until they were a little older to start formal training. I took it all in stride because we've been judged for our choice many times. The only trouble I have now is convincing strangers that NO my dogs don’t want to play with your dog. I would love to have a place to come to for advice and story telling so I make the right decisions for my girls. My best, most important tips on how i successfully dodged littermate syndrome and bonded with my puppies, beating the internets odds. Well these breeds are already known for their anxiety. 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. 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. With 2 pups around the same age they are bound to “fight” to determine their own hierarchy of the family. They had their first cycle within days of each other and we had to keep them separated for three weeks; so hence the urgency of spaying them. Thank you so much for sharing your stories! Not to sound like an echo, but I am so grateful to find your blog and positive suggestions for dealing with littermates. 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. We are super excited but I just ran across littermate syndrome last night and now a little nervous. Hi Ellen – be sure to reach out to a local positive-based dog trainer to seek guidance. 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. My daughter taught them how to shake and lay down. 2 years ago despite reading horrifying information online, i got two puppies. When they’re in the house, they can be in separate rooms and when they’re outside, they’ll go off and do their own thing – but they’re always touching base during the day. He is totally in charge! I’ve read all about raising littermates and even though it’s advised against, we did it anyways. This bond and the personality traits and training challenges associated, is littermate syndrome Cause at this time unknown but most likely cancer. Cooper has ALSO bonded with me. On Memorial Day I lost my 14 year old Rat terrier Casey . We now have litter mate brothers to bring our dog total to 4. 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. Again, thank you for this website and all the valuable tips. The easiest way to prevent littermate syndrome in puppies is to not adopt two pups at the same time, says Graddy. I have two rescues adopted six months apart. When we have them out one at a time they are all cuddles and fun, but then the other starts whining. My dogs are happy, healthy and well adjusted. I hope you have a peaceful, loving time with both of your dogs as you’re going through this time. 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. How did you know when one or the other wanted their own space? So reading your article was incredibly reassuring that it can turn out well. But we haven’t noticed any health issues, so I’m not kicking myself about it. i am bringing home siblings this week. We kept in touch and when the pups were born we were given a pick of the litter. The goal is to keep the puppies from developing a counterproductive degree of … Oh one last thing Golden Doodles are highly smart and our dogs mind very well. We met with the trainer on Monday, and got some advice, so hopefully it will go ok. I’m so excited for you two. He currently whines and frets when out on his own. They are best friends with each other and my wife and me as well. But we did it! 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. Hi! If you have friends with dogs, take them all on a pack walk on a regular schedule. I recently adopted 4 dogs. 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. I know that it’s hard for the puppies to be separated. Thank you for the tips and positive perspectives! I think the time they take to really analyze their buyers is what makes their success rate very high. They don’t look related. Copyright© 2011-2020 Kimberly Gauthier. Have fun with your puppies. I just don’t know if or when it’s right to do it? They’re a good mix and I have a few friends who have dogs that are a good addition to our pack. It’s wonderful, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. We love our pups already so much. (we previously had 3 dogs not litter mates purchased within 2 years of each other. The brother is a bit more aggressive and they play fight, but never to the point of damage. The longer you wait to deal with littermate syndrome, the more difficult it … Nadie was depressed too when Toby died and she was not his litter mate. Life offers no guarantees. We can’t have them out together and spend time with them, because all they do is ruff-house and play with each other. Yes, they’ve bonded with each other. They are very good socially with other dogs. We are preparing to bring home two puppies from the same breeder next week – not from the same litter – but both born a week apart in the same home. I got our puppies into training as soon as they were allowed. I cannot tell you how many people I’m meeting who have had a positive experience with littermates; it makes me so happy. They would whine when they were not together, they barked when they were not together, and then I learned about littermate syndrome which I had not heard about till then. We are starting to take them on seperate walks & trips to the store. I think littermate syndrome has more to do with people biting off more than they can chew when they bring home two puppies; not understanding how much work is involved. I’m glad that I have researched about it and I am working on separating my two labs more. We decided we wanted to get two (one for each of us) So 2 weeks ago we found a Min pin breeder and we got two baby girls from the same litter. I’m just so glad to have finally come across your site as a could not find anyone saying it was even doable. They are working on “Come”, “Sit” and “Stay”. “Littermate Syndrome” can be mild or severe. 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 thought you adopted all your dogs? They were fine all 3 together for a few months and then the two started fighting. i do have an adult dog in the house. I was considering picking up littermates before I picked up my first dog, Linus from the animal shelter. My friend has a Great Dane and she let her have 1 heat before spaying. I’m from the UK so I will look locally to see if there are any puppy trainers around in case we do need them. They are so loving and adorable, and it would kill me to have to get rid of one of them. Ellie is a kind, gentle but assertive alpha, and we anticipate that she will maintain this status with the puppies. Littermate Syndrome I found this article very interesting and have always felt it was a bad idea to get ilttermates and/or two pups at the same time. They do fight a bit when we pick them up together or if they are in their pet carrier lately. 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. Just worried as they get older I won’t be able to break them up or that their fighting may turn ugly. Our new “kids” are the first furry friends since our beloved Bichon, Benny, passed away 10 years ago. One dog is super mellow and loves everything but howls when I take the other more timid and fearful one out for his walk. I can’t tell you how many times people have tried to scare me away from various things by stating an opinion as fact. As I stated earlier, when I checked into separation anxiety , we started to question our choice. "Littermate Syndrome" refers to any undesired behavior expressed by a pet (usually a dog) that was raised with another animal from its own litter. 9 weeks old. 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. We put a deposit on both of them and waited until they were old enough to be brought home with us. Thank you for your direction and comments, it’s help us reaffirm that we made a good choice. I have two twin 5 month old Doberman puppies that I got from a breeder when they were 1w weeks old. They had no trouble bonding to the people more than each other. 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. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. They are always with me, if not I have a pet sitter who keeps them. Such bad advice! Any suggestions on how to make the transition go smoothly? I think one thing we dog lovers forget is that puppies chew on everything; we lost sunglasses, shoes, golf shoes, wallets, a watch, and we still have clothes with holes in them. Keep them coming. Our trainer friend is coming over later today to meet them and consult with us. if you have recommendations for books, trainers, or other resources, i’d love to get some information from you. We do know a trainer, and we will be talking to her soon So they have been thru puppy 1 and 2. I’m not 100% sold on the idea that having littermates is a puppy problem but perhaps a first time puppy owner/seasoned owner problem . LOL. 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. The only problem I have noticed is they don’t like other dogs except their older fur sister (no relation) Sounds like you are kicking butt as a dog mom and I’m so proud. Thank You, The only warning she gave us was ‘if the dogs start fighting, call me immediately so that we can get to work.' Rodrigo and Scout were trained within a couple months. 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. 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. Chihuahua mix, was picked up as a stray when he was about six months old. It seems not all litter mates succumb to this syndrome but when they do it can get quite ugly. I think many people can do the same, but they have to be willing to give up a big chunk of their lives and my goal is to share the reality of what it takes to raise littermates. Getting them to use their brain in a 10-15 minute training session does wonders. I’m going to work on slowly separating their crates at night. Zoey is shy and submissive. The male looks like a miniature golden retriever/Irish setter with long curly red hair; he’s uniquely adorable….his name is Curly. We are about to completely seperate their crates. I have read that it is best to keep them apart but then read that Brenda Negri recommends they are kept together. 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 male corgi, Bobdog mated with our female, Maggie Mae and produced a litter of 5. We both gave in to the other so were at an impasse. Kimberly, thank you for this article, and for all the positive stories about littermates that are in the comments. I have bookmarked your links and will be taking a look at them and using your knowledge as a resource in the future. 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. I love that. PS – I still do training for fun. But I feel like I need to have a plan even so. Littermate Syndrome is the term used to describe the downside of adopting littermates. Except having to sleep on the sofa while the wife got the bed. Each time the leashed dog doesn’t show anxiety or stress, give him a treat. Happy and healthy. That hasn’t been my experience. Obvious, right? In many cases, littermates can grow up to lead normal, healthy lives in the same household. I feel very happy and blessed that our dogs are so happy and healthy. Thanks for sharing this, Bethany That’s so sweet. Cooper has become more of a bully at times. 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. I think a good age is 9 months, but it really depends on the breed. I’m going to take your advise and take one out for a walk whilst my partner is at home with the other. I also have a relationship with Darwin’s Natural Pet Products as a customer; please note that Darwin’s Pet does not provide free food for my pets. Hi Julie – it’s me here to harass you – LOL I hope to raise these two the same way. How to raise two puppies successfully -- from different litters OR the same litter. We have litter mates, Chokies-Bella and Opie. It’s funny because I think that most of the risks people warn about for littermates could be applied to any multi-dog household, especially when new dogs are adopted at the same time. 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). Nope, our dogs are very bonded to us. I am not a dog trainer. We have littermate and admittedly are finding some difficulties such as toilet training. Early training is so important in your dog's development, so small mistakes at this juncture can … Or you can reach out to local pet businesses for recommendations and search review sites for people’s experience with those trainers. 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. We love our girls and wouldn’t trade either one of them. grateful for a positive take on raising siblings, there is a lot of negative out there. But thank you! I have never crated any dog, I don’t like the idea of cages. But I put the blame on not having much experience with dogs. Am I missing something or isn’t that the case with many multiple dog households? I’m not a dog trainer or animal behaviorist. Congratulations on your new puppies. Working with someone who didn't judge us and who saw how much we loved our dogs was amazing. They are goldendoodles, which I believe has led to a bit of the success as they are SO easy & loving. Today was hot here and we’re not used to mid-eighties. When Rodrigo and Sydney were puppies, J would play with Rodrigo outside, while I played with Sydney inside. thanks for this discussion. I was blessed and challenged raising 3 littermates together. 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 partner and i can’t support however ponder in case I’m performing these people any disservice by means of raising these people jointly – that they sound pretty closely bonded jointly and haven’t warmed up in order to other puppies still. I don’t have to worry, when I leave home, that they’re neurotically missing me. But we love them both and certainly won’t ever give one away. I was dreading having to tackle the issues but after reading so many positive experiences, I feel secure that as long as we do our part, they’ll be the best pack that they can be. It really depends on the breed. If you know of an experienced dog trainer / behaviorist, I’d recommend giving them a call to find out what you may be in for with your surviving dog. Any ideas how I should go about finding a reputable trainer? You sound like me. What did you do to put a stop to it? They will be spayed and castrated at 6 months, probably on the same day. Having 2 established dogs made adding Scout and Zoey 100x easier – wow! i think our society often puts too much of our human issues onto dogs. That way when you step in and tell them to stop, they stop . 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. 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 also know many people have and are raising littermates that are happy, healthy, well-socialized dogs. We also live on 5 acres and stick close to home so it works for our family. I have been one of the few, if not the only one, promoting running working sibling LGD pairs. 4 week old mixed breed puppies all snuggled up on Tena’s lap! Thanks for sharing your experience, Kimberly? Like I said, they’re currently together in a small indoor playpen with access to the doggy door. We have done everything that has been suggested and it has made all the difference in the world. 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. I have successfully raised two sets of littermates and have not witnessed or experienced littermate syndrome. But you’re right, our dogs form a circle around me when they think I’m being threatened. We will be having them sleep separately. I am excited to bring them home and look forward to seeing them grow and their personalities develop. Yes!! My first set of littermates are now 9 years old and I still work on training with them. haha. We are not sure how much time he has left with us. Sometimes I’d play with one puppy, while he walked the other. I am curious as to when we can stop worrying about whether or not this will become an issue? I have a set of littermates. Letting them meet for a few minutes one on one to see how they do with each other. Anyways I started reading about it and just like everyone else getting scared that I made the wrong choice. I rather not, but I want to ensure they can be away from one another & rest. After losing my senior doberman, I decided to add 2 female doberman sisters to my family. Just do this for 10-15 minutes a day to help show him that it’s okay. Neither one of us wanted the other to be disappointed so we decided to adopt both. Not far, just a couple of feet at a time. I would love to share my success stories with you and exchange ideas and thoughts in E-mails! I wIll do anything to help her when the time comes. Working on that, Bones, toys treat and food I do separate them. Is there anyway that I can fix their behavior? 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. The Samoyeds fought occasionally, but it was always because of an error on our part. Another no no as far as “experts” are concerned. I’m determined to make it work and home all summer to see it through. Female more outgoing(murphy) , male (Cooper) more reserved. I think with everything dogs, it’s all about education; we need to do more sharing and less scare tactics. I had never heard of littermate syndrome before and have spent the better part of the day in tears thinking i must have made the worst decision ever. It’ll work their brains and bodies while helping you set boundaries and establish leadership. 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. 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. Two of our English Shepherds are brothers and one is a half brother. I’m involved at the National level. I am not a veterinarian, canine/animal nutritionist, or dog trainer. Not sure what type of trauma he had. It hit me hard, and my Mother and I decided to get another dog very soon after. Learning basic coping mechanisms and picking up on important human–canine communication signals is difficult or impossible for them. With proper training (we already have scheduled) and planning time together as well. 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 am so glad to have found your post. Sounds like you’re doing fine, Nancy. by Kimberly | Jun 12, 2014 | Littermates | 167 comments. We know both parents as well. One the female Moesha looks like a chihuahua. You can get recommendations at your local pet store, doggy day care, or veterinarian’s office. If you’re concerned about your puppies getting along, I recommend working with a certified, professional dog trainer to help you lay the foundation. Thank you! Whenever I meet someone who had a bad experience with littermates, I’m always surprised and wonder if they did anything differently than I did with raising and training. They love to play keep away from each other & tug of war, too. THE BEST TIPS TO PREVENT LITTERMATE SYNDROME WHEN RAISING TWO PUPPIES. Littermate syndrome and how to prevent? Like most behaviors, there are many ways that you can prevent or lessen the effects of littermate syndrome. Is it kind of strange that I’ve been Googling “Littermate Syndrome” lately and leaving our experience? 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