Littermate Syndrome – 12 Things I Learned Raising Our Littermate Puppies

Littermate Syndrome; what is it?

Is it just another label pet owners, breeders and professionals use as an excuse for not addressing the real problem eg: ‘it’s not me, it’s you’? This subject is very interesting and opinions vary greatly.

What is most troubling though, is that when reading various forums on this topic, many people conclude that sibling puppies with any degree of a behavior issue is due to Littermate Syndrome and that the owner seeking help needs to rehome or even euthanize one or both of the pups (this even happened to me)! Do these people have all of the facts? So what if Holmes and Watson are fighting… dogs do fight to assert their order in the pack. Is there an aggression problem, or is it simply typical behavior?

In this article, we are going to take a look at Littermate Syndrome, go over tips to avoid Littermate Syndrome, and help you to be informed so you can make the best decision for your pups.

Littermate Syndrome is more than just double the puppy trouble when it comes to raising sibling puppies. According to Dr. Karen Becker “Anecdotal evidence suggests that behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two puppies’ deep bond impedes their individual ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication.”

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Some of the signs of littermate syndrome include:

 

  —  Fear of strangers including people and other dogs

 

  —  Fear of the unknown and unfamiliar

 

  —  High level of anxiety when separated from their littermate even for a short time

 

  —  Failure to learn even the most basic obedience commands

 

Training two littermates is not just a matter of twice the work, but also the level of difficulty resulting from the puppies constantly distracting each other.

littermate syndrome

 

According to Patricia McConnell, applied animal behaviorist and author of several books on canine behavior:

“It’s just hard to get their attention. They are so busy playing with each other … that you become the odd man out.

I suspect this indeed does have to do with social bonding to some extent, but I have seen pups of a duo who clearly adored their humans. Adored them. They just didn’t listen to them.

It seems harder to get their attention, harder to teach them emotional control, and harder to teach them boundaries. I imagine that we humans become more like party poopers that interfere in their fun with their playmates, not to mention that we are more tiring, because they have to learn a foreign language in order to communicate with us.”

Another Potential Problem Among Littermates: Fighting

Sometimes Littermate Syndrome can take the form of non-stop fighting between the dogs.littermate aggression

Bullying and aggression between siblings seems to happen more often than between unrelated dogs, and it can get nasty.

Many well-intentioned dog guardians have terrible tales to tell about the harm caused to one sibling by the other.

Shelters have stories as well of pairs (or one of a pair) being returned because the adoptive owner feared for the well-being of the sibling being bullied.

Unhealthy Emotional Dependence

Nicole Wilde, canine behavior expert and author of “Don’t Leave Me!” believes the separation anxiety between littermates is the result of hyper-attachment, which is also what interferes with the puppies’ ability to be properly socialized.

“People assume that having two same-age pups who play together and interact constantly covers their dog-dog socialization needs,” Wilde told Stallings, “but they in fact don’t learn how other [dogs] play and have no idea about social skills with other puppies, adolescents or adult dogs.

“Perhaps one puppy is a bit of a bully, which his littermate puts up with,” Wilde continued, “but his rude behavior might not be tolerated by a new dog in a new setting.”3

Many canine behavior experts feel it’s best to rehome one of the siblings when a pair is showing early signs of Littermate Syndrome, so that both puppies have the opportunity to grow separately into stable, balanced adults.

Since this can be a difficult time for the original owners, it’s often easier to have prospective new owners meet both puppies and decide which one to take.

Uh oh … I’ve Already Adopted a Pair of Littermates. Help!

It’s important to keep in mind that it isn’t a given that every pair of puppy siblings will develop Littermate Syndrome. In fact, I’m sure there are many people reading here right now who are in complete disagreement with the advice of the experts I’ve cited.

With that said, according to Pat Miller writing for the Whole Dog Journal, there are things you can do to prevent or mitigate Littermate Syndrome if you’ve already brought sibling pups home with you.

The goal is to keep the puppies from developing a counterproductive degree of emotional dependence on one another.raising littermate puppies

As I stated in my post on tough dog toys, we have littermate puppies. Rodrigo and Sydney are fun, affectionate, well behaved 3-1/2 year old dogs today and they acted as a crash course into dog care for me. I grew up with dogs, but never cared for or trained a dog until we brought our littermates home. It was a lot of work, but we have years of amazing memories with our dogs and they became the inspiration for Keep the Tail Wagging.

I know that there are a lot of littermate families who read this blog and I was curious if we share the same experiences when it comes to raising littermate puppies. There were some things I expected, thanks to people who gave me a heads up.  And there were some things that surprised me. Check out my list and let me know what you can relate to?

Activity Level x 100

This one is pretty obvious, but it did catch me off guard. I still remember the first day and night we brought our puppies home. It was the Friday before Memorial Day weekend and I took the day off in preparation of having fun with puppies. Hours later, I fell asleep on one of the dog beds.

If they weren’t playing, chewing on something, biting me, or peeing/pooping, they were sleeping.

At first when they slept, it was so cute that I would pick them up and wake them. Then I got a brain and wouldn’t let anyone near them when they fell asleep, because that meant I could eat, watch TV, read, nap, anything other than chasing two puppies around our kitchen.

Thankfully they grew out of that mayhem and today they have a medium activity level that’s easy for the humans to match.

Affection – They Love Each Other

Our dogs are affectionate towards us, but what we didn’t expect was how affectionate they would be to each other. Between 8 weeks and 4 months, they slept in one kennel together (even though we had two).  

I was warned about not allowing them to bond only to each other and tried to separate them one night. Rodrigo lost his mind and was clawing at the walls, crying, and trying to see Sydney. It broke my heart and my boyfriend looked at me like I was a monster as I put Rigo into Sydney’s kennel.

What’s funny is that Sydney was fine on her own.

Attachment to Humans

I did expect that our dogs would become attached to us, but what I didn’t expect was that they would gravitate more towards me.

I believe that dogs have a pack mentality; not because I believe they’re wolves, but because it seems that they have a hierarchy and they respect authority.

In our home, my boyfriend is the pack leader. I’m second in command. With him, their recall is 100%, with me, it’s about 95%.

What does surprise me is that our dogs spend most of their time with me. Granted, I do most of the dog care, but I just thought they’d want to be with the pack leader more often.

Backlash

You wouldn’t believe the backlash we received (mostly me, because I’m a blogger) about adopting littermate puppies. An Oregon dog trainer told me that I would end up having them euthanized. Our former veterinarian let us know up front that he thought we made a mistake (he didn’t even know us).

I was becoming discouraged until we met our dog trainer. Funny story, the Oregon dog trainer referred her to us – stranger world. Our trainer prepared us for what we could expect and helped us learn how to read and communicate with our dogs.

 

Cost of Raising Littermates

It’s one more dog, what’s the big deal?  Vaccination, spay and neuter surgery, and supplies aside, I was NOT prepared by how much more having two puppies would cost, because I didn’t take into account the destructive nature of a puppy and his partner in crime.

We went through too many dog collars, before we gave up; we still have teeth marks on some pieces of furniture, and they got a kick out of playing in their water dish (terrible for hardwood floors – so we moved it).

I had to get over my love of shoes; now I appreciate slippers and thick socks.

Dog Training

We couldn’t take our littermates to puppy class and I’m curious to know if anyone else had this experience. Rodrigo and Sydney hated being separated by more than 10 feet when they were puppies so we worked with a private trainer who gave us an awesome deal and we learned a lot.

As the puppies grew, their confidence grew with them, and now I can leave the house with one and not the other, but I rarely do this.

If I had to do it over again, we would have trained our puppies separately so we could count on their undivided attention, and help them deal with being apart. This also goes for walking and socializing them.

Food

Our dogs are mix breed and I don’t how much their mixture has to do with their appetite. They both love food. We feed our dogs a raw food diet and meal time is a happy time in our house.

Sydney, who is Blue Heeler / Labrador mix, is VERY food motivated. So much so that she had a weight problem a year ago that we have under control today.

Our dogs have never been food aggressive, but they do have these little quirks…

  —  Sydney won’t eat next to Rodrigo

  —  Rodrigo finishes eating first and then waits for Sydney to finish so he can lick her dish

  —  They don’t seem to care who eats first, they kind of trade off every couple of days with no issues

Fear and Anxiety

Sydney isn’t a fan of most dogs.  She seems to get along best with puppies and senior dogs.  Otherwise, she wants to be left alone.  Rodrigo, on the other hand, has always loved other dogs and people.  He’s very outgoing (although he can be a butt). What I find interesting is that he has a lot of fears that he doesn’t share with Sydney…

  —  broom

  —  baby gates

  —  thunder

  —  vacuum cleaner

  —  fireworks

The other night he was playing with a balloon and having a grand time until I took it away.  I had a feeling that when he popped it, it would be another fear to add to his list.

With Rodrigo’s growing list, it still blows me away that he went head to head with a coyote once; and will run to guard me whenever they come across our property.

Fighting

We were warned that our littermates would fight all the time. There were some battles over toys, bully sticks, and other things when they were around 4-5 months old, but it didn’t happen often and they haven’t been in a scuffle since that period.

Rodrigo, on the other hand, will get into fights with other dogs and we’ve had to take the dog park off our list of places to go.

There are three issues that lead to a fight at the dog park…

  —  Rodrigo gets a hold of another dog’s toy and guards it with his life.

  —  Rodrigo wants to great all the humans and their dogs start staking their territory.

  —  Rodrigo mounts dogs to let them know he’s top dog; they disagree.

So we have play date at home.  As long as toys and bones aren’t included in the play date, Rodrigo and our guest dogs have a great time. Sydney hangs out with me.

They still play together just like they did as puppies.

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Leader of the Pack

The humans are the pack leaders, but I think in a house with more than one dog, there’s going to be a hierarchy and at first it seemed that Sydney was going to take that role, but when our dogs reached 6 months of age, Rodrigo was clearing in the lead. What I love is that he protects Sydney. When the dog park was on limits, it was cute when Rodrigo would herd dogs away from Sydney and play with them elsewhere.

Maternity

Our littermates spent their first 5 weeks with their mom. Something I learned from the book Think Like Your Dog (by Dianna Young and Robert Mottram) is that those first weeks contribute to the development of our dogs’ personalities. Their mom was rescued from a property with over 100 dogs; they lived outside and were fed carcasses from a rendering plant. In the winter, many of them froze.

Although our puppies were born after she was rescued, she raised them with a fear based mindset that may have lead to many of Rodrigo’s random fears and Sydney’s discomfort with other dogs. This is just a theory of mine, but it’s interesting to contemplate.

Paternity

I didn’t know that a female could carry a litter sired by more than one father.

Our littermate’s mom was an Australian Cattle Dog (possibly mixed); Rodrigo is mixed with Border Collie and Sydney is mixed with Labrador Retriever.

I’m sure there’s more in there too, but those are the dominant breeds.

The Bottom Line: 


As I mentioned earlier, Littermate Syndrome isn’t a guaranteed end all be all for every pair of puppy siblings. While genetics can play a role, as has been said on here before, IT IS ALL ABOUT YOU. The knowledge and commitment you as the dogs’ owner have matters the most.

However, the general advice given by professionals is: “don’t do it. Instead, adopt a puppy who is most likely to fit into your lifestyle, and then focus on training and socializing your pup to insure she is comfortable in her environment and when she encounters other dogs and people.”

We have two amazing dogs. The only thing they have in common are their background, their eyes, and their humans (us). Otherwise, they are as unique as can be and I think that was the biggest shocker of all and I love it.

What have you learned about your littermates (or your dog) that was a surprise?

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Comments

  1. gena King says:

    Saw your article on adopting littermates.. It gets better..We adopted 6yr old newfi/retriever mix sisters and could never separate them they wer with their mom and brother for 6 yrs till the breeder had to find a safer home for them. they’re full of mischief and got out of their pens daily and a farmer wanted to shoot them for getting into their animal feed. We lost our first newfi /retriever 11 yrs ago to nasal cancer .he was my heart and helped with my severe depression. Wanting a similar dog we searched for almost a year. God had us in mind for these Babies…These girls are so well behaved having their mom and brother so long…I’m told I was crazy for taking two also..No way It’s a double blessing……I thank God daily for them…..

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  2. Kimberly Gauthier says:

    Gena – I love your story. Stay tuned for an upcoming article about our second set of littermates.

    You’re right, our dogs are truly a blessing. Just today, my boyfriend called to tell me that Rodrigo came upstairs, jumped into bed and fell asleep with him. They napped for an hour and then go up to start the day.

    It’s that unconditional love x two that make it such a blessing to us.

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  3. Bill Green says:

    We’ve bought two GSD pups (only because we couldn’t decided which one to have) and we were warned by our vet, by the training school tutors, by other dog owners that we would regret it. It is true about them bonding, about not liking being separated and about pack hierarchy etc, etc. They are from the same litter but they are totally different both in appearance and character. Jeff is very typical GSD, very handsome, very protective, will try to dominate and always wants to be first. Max is nothing more than a ‘bag of rags’ long haired, tormenting, mischievous, totally distracted, and anything is worth it as long as it ends in a cuddle. Training together is a non-starter so it means several hours each day to give them both time to learn. Cost is always a factor and it generally costs twice as much with two.
    However, we get twice the fun, twice the love return, twice the wonder when they get it right and twice the pride when people ask if they can take a photo. I have even been pulled up by the police just so they could take a look at the dogs. Would I get two from the same litter again – I doubt it, would I part with these two – never.

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  4. Kimberly Gauthier says:

    We’re on our second round of littermates, because we couldn’t leave one behind. Not that anything would happen to her, but she was just meant to be our dog – yep, I’m all about the woo woo.

    We have a blast with our pack.

    It’s very interesting to read that your GSDs are so different. Are they pure? I’ve never seen one with longer hair. The mischievous one sounds like our Rodrigo.

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  5. Minette says:

    It will get better. But I do suggest separating them occasionally so that they learn to be independent and not constantly need one another.

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  6. Kimberly Gauthier says:

    They’re still young and since they’re new to their home, they’ll depend on each other more. Our dogs were happy being separated when they were about 5 months old. The puppies are okay now at 3 months old.

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  7. Kathy Holder says:

    I have a question: My friend has adopted a 2 yr old dog. He has just recently started peeing on my friends bed. What to do?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Take him to the vet… that is not normal, and any change of behavior should be evaluated by a vet first.

    Bladder infections, UTI, bladder stones can all change a dog’s potty habits

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  8. Fred says:

    We just purchased two toy poodles (littermates) and they are beautiful. We noticed that they were fighting and did some reading. We tried to put them into two different crates but they cry. Then we put them together and together don’t fight. What would you advise … Let them cry it out like a child … Three days all is good or are there other solutions? We are committed to keeping them but we want to ensure a happy and healthy home.

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    Minette Reply:

    littermates are very difficult.

    yes I would separate them to sleep in their own crates and separate for training and other things.

    It isn’t healthy when anyone or anything can’t function without the other person/pet.

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  9. Gina says:

    Thank you for sharing your stories. Our family added two huskies litter mates to our pack. Male and Female. They are now 3 months old and will begin puppy classes (separately). I realize this is a lot of work, discipline, and dedication. I’m just glad I found some positive information on litter mates.

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  10. Chanel says:

    I have just bought 2 litter mate puppy Pekingese a week ago. Make and feamel. They are very active and chew everything. The girls is very loving and constantly eager to learn and play, the boy is a bit more curious but does have his energy bursts. They cry when separated so I leave them together at all times, when they play outside they like to go their own ways to explore. They are constantly fighting when they awake, the boy has started to hump my girl and growl and attack her viciously if she doesn’t obey. He has become extremely aggressive towards me in the past few days with regards to me trying to stop him from doing anything naughty! Fighting rough, picking him up to go to wee pad when he wees on floor. Or if he’s into a toy and I try even touch him he can lose it like a wild aggressive dog attacking me for his life. I don’t know what to do! I tried timing him out and now can’t pick him up to time him out as he attacks, I tried pulling him back at back of his neck but he gets more angry, and Iv tried strong ‘no’ voice and am always rewarding good Behaviour. I also tried to hold him down and put my hand around his neck to control him and I say no or do a deep growl until he stops. But so far nothing has worked. Any suggestions?

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    Minette Reply:

    I recommend you find a veterinary behaviorist in your area. This is obviously an aggression issue and you need someone who is well educated to come into your home, witness the behavior, and put everyone on a behavior modification program.

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  11. Shauna smart says:

    we recently just fostered to rescue littermates, and just couldn’t give one up! I was so discouraged reading everyone’s take on raising littermates and this was so nice to find! They are only 8 weeks so any early advice would be very appreciated! And we live in a small city apartment so it’s hard to separate them

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  12. Ronda says:

    So glad to have found this site! My husband and I just adopted GSD litter mates at 8 weeks old. I wish we would have done our homework first. Whats done is done and we love them both, just didn’t realize that it was SO not recommended. We planned to take one male and then found out one of his male litter mates had a congenital defect (front leg) and would be put down. Couldn’t let that happen, so here we are. I really appreciate all the advise here. So far they are doing pretty well, just a lot of work! They sleep separately and all through the night. They play and fight a lot. we are trying to balance their time apart and together. We all survived our first week!

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  13. Anne says:

    I am relieved to find some positive information on littermates. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was starting to worry we had made a mistake. We will be picking up our boxer “girls” in 4 weeks. My husband and I are empty nesters except that our college aged daughter is home for the semester so she will be able to help. We are so excited about the new additions to our family….we’ll keep you posted.

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  14. Marie Herfert says:

    We have 2 German shepherd /Border collie mixes. They are almost 7 mo old. It worked to put them both in the same cage when they were 2 mo old. After getting them fixed 2 weekago ibput them in separate cages. This is working better and I think Annabelle likes the break. Gabe the male is very smart and challenging. They love to play fight almost constantly. Annabelle is more compliant. I am striving to get them more calm in the house and structure more play time fetching. This is helping. My biggest challenge was walking them together. Gabe had a harness and choke chain on and was still pulling and chasing his sister. This would send me in circles trying to stop them. Lol. Not funny then but I laugh now. I got a don sullivan training video and his command collar for both of them. It is a modified pinch collar. This has made a tremendous difference. I can walk them both now with minimal pulling. I was in heaven. I lOVE having 2 dogs but it is a challenge. It really helped to teach them the down and stay command. I now can get Gabe to sit 8 minutes without pouncing on his sister. Thanks for this forum. Its great to see all your comments.

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  15. Anne Hansen says:

    We have adopted littermate brothers. Pomeranians. They were 8 weeks old and are 4 months now. We have had them in a pen on the lanai. Potty training is going well with pooping but they still have a way with peeing. We get some anxiety when separated and no one goes in the pen to play with the one left in there. We walk them separately, and play with them separately several times a day. They both love other animals and people. My question is: Is it possible to crate train them now with close crates and move them at times to get the final separation anxiety out of them? right now they sleep very very closely together, usually in the same dog bed.

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  16. Lisa says:

    We also have a male & female Siberian litter mates. They are 8 months old now. How have you found having 2 from the same litter? All the other sites telling me we’ve made a huge mistake is making me nervous!

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  17. Kristin Ellsworth says:

    Hello everyone,
    We were planning on getting two golden doodles that are litter mates. We were so happy until people started telling us to crate them, walk them and feed them separately. I was shocked to hear about littermate syndrome. We have twin boys, so I know how hard it can be. I guess my question is, should we get two or not? I really wanted them to be friends and have each other when we are gone. I thought having two puppies would distract them from having anxiety and loneliness. I am having huge reservations about buying littermates. They are boys. Does this make a difference? Please help! We are picking them up on Monday. So I really need to make a decision. The seller did say I could try a trial run with them to see if it will work. Any advice would be appreciated?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Having been a dog trainer for over 20 years, I would never, ever, ever get sibling dogs. It is twice the work, they bond to each other and not necessarily you and they need to be separate for training.

    I would consider getting a puppy working with it for a few months and then adding another but never, ever litter mates

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  18. Stacy says:

    We are supposed to pick up our two labradoodles in 3 weeks. I am literally scared to death now. There is nothing positive, and it sounds like it is impossible to do. Not sure how to go back to breeder and tell them no. And tell my kids.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    It is very very difficult, if you decide to do it you must know that going in, or decide on one now and add another in several months once the first is trained.

    Not taking a second puppy is a lot easier than giving up both puppies when they are a problem.

    [Reply]

  19. Adi says:

    How are your dogs now? Is he still aggressive?

    [Reply]

  20. Adi says:

    I have rescued 4 stray puppies from my garden at 3 weeks of age, becaude their mom was taken away for 10 days.. and I took care of them and when their mom was brought back i put them together outside on my veranda in a kennel and seperated them from their mom when they reached 8-9weeks of age although now they are 10 weeks and still see their mom at times, they are fine with being seperated from eachother and I also gave one puppy away last week and I’m giving an another one away this week too, do you think they will bond better with eachother than with me, cause I do spend lots of time with them and take good care of them. And should i just keep 1 puppy or 2

    [Reply]

  21. Lou says:

    We have brother and sister laberdoodle golden retriever mix. Everybody told us all the same warnings but of course we didn’t listen. And I couldn’t be happier because we have two sweet lovable, well adjusted, well behaved dogs they’re about 18 months now and just a joy. I think if you have time and patience. Just put in the work and they’ll pay you back ten fold.

    [Reply]

  22. This blog has been really helpful and this particular question/post resonated with me. We recently brought home litter mate beagle sisters. WE tragically lost our beloved family dog at age 5 in November after she was attacked by a loose stray dog. I’ve never had a beagle and been told they are hard to train, but once you get there, they are good as gold. One of our puppies is a ‘pleaser’ and very obedient. The other one is a snugglebug, as I call her, but totally disobedient. She, too, can get aggressive (growling, biting) when you scold her or try to take something away from her. Someone recommend to us that rather than scolding her and yelling ‘no’ that we speak in a gentle voice and say ‘calm, calm’ when we try to get her to stop doing something she shouldnt be. I’ve been doing this for a couple of days now and it seems to be working. She still takes a while to release whatever she is chewing on (that she shouldnt be!) but she doesn’t growl and bite. We have had 2 lessons with trainers privately and plan to have some more. we’ve had a play date with a friends dog who is very tolerant to puppies. It’s definitely the most overwhelming thing I’ve done and like the author of this article, I’ve learned to sleep when they sleep or get stuff done when they sleep. They are 4 months now and we feel like MAYBE they are beginning to turn a corner with behaviour. They wrestle and play a lot while awake, nothing vicious. When they sleep they are little angels 🙂 haha

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  23. Sarah says:

    Nobody told me not to get litter mates and now I have them… they HAVE to be together most of the time because we have one house. Should we give one away? They play fight non-stop and are learning commands okay. When they are together though, they ignore commands.

    I’m so frustrated and feel like I should have done better research! I didn’t know you “weren’t supposed to get littler mates”.

    At some point does it get better? Ours are 12 weeks today.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Reahttp://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/3-main-reasons-dont-recommend-littermates/d this

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  24. Lotzadogz says:

    The stupidity of some people never ceases to amaze me. There is such negativity about raising littermates in spite of the fact that all over the world millions have been raised successfully! There are many people that I know of that experienced bad behavioural issues with the first dog when another one is introduced. The older one regresses and starts to pee and poop inside the home although it was housetrained. The older dog becomes a resource guarder. It becomes extremely protective over its possessions and this includes its humans. Dogs also like to pee on their owners beds. Animal behaviourists will tell you to go to the vet because it is possibly a health issue. Others will tell you the dog is demarcating its territory. Others will say that the dog is acting out in jealousy. Really now- take your pick😀Like absolutely anything in life there is a positive and a negative side. Make the best of the situation you are in. Like it says “Look before you leap”. Do not blame the dog/s for the situation in which YOU put them.

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  25. EmmyB says:

    We adopted two female boxer/cattle dog mixes who are littermates. They just turned 2 years old and are both sweet, well adjusted dogs. I think it is so sad that the only information on the web is so negative toward adopting littermates. Of course they are more expensive (you have 2 dogs to pay for) and training was challenging at times (I think that’s true for any puppy). They squabble once in awhile but nothing serious. They love each other but love us more. Honestly, we love having the 2 of them and watching them play together. We did crate them separately starting at about 12 weeks. But their crates stayed next to each other. We took them to the same obedience classes but my husband and I both had to attend (we each had one and stayed on opposite sides of the room). At home they were trained together at the same time (frustrating only when one would do good and the other didn’t). But it was helpful because they also learned from each other. They don’t love being separated but are not destructive when not together. They are ok with other dogs…not really interested in interacting with them but do ok around them (that could be the case for any dog not raised with a littermate). All and all they are good girls and I hope others realize that raising littermates together is not unhealthy or negative. I would also like to add that this was our first time raising puppies, therefore I would definitely say it is not impossible!

    [Reply]

  26. Sheila says:

    So glad I found this blog. We will be bringing Goldendoodle littermates home at the end of the month. I had no idea this problem existed. So happy to hear the good. Some of the articles I have read terrified me. I have been researching this and excited to bring them home. Wish me luck😊🐶

    [Reply]

  27. Jayne says:

    so relieved to finally read some positive messages in raising two litter mates. I’ve had a couple of sleepless nights worrying I’d made the wrong decision. We pick our two Golden Retriever’s up (boy&girl) in 4 weeks and we cannot wait. My son will be in charge of Summer. And the rest of the family in charge of Samson. We are going to crate train them separately, Train them Separately, sleep them separately. However I also want them to have time together to. Any more advice about anything on this subject I would be very grateful. I just can’t wait for the fun to begin… 😊😊😊

    [Reply]

  28. Mandy Payne says:

    I just adopted 2 female litter mates.. I am beginning to wonder if I made a mistake after reading all this. 😧

    [Reply]

  29. Suzanne Falcone says:

    I’m so happy I found this blog. I have 11 month old male Texas heeler littermates. They are awesome! They love to be with each
    Other obviously lol. We just couldn’t leave one behind when we adopted. We were warned about the littermate syndrome. They play rough and had a couple of more than play situations. It wasn’t until this passed week that they had 3 separate altercations where blood was drawn from teeth bites. Now I’m nervous because every trainer I call immediately tells me that they will get worse and to get rid of one. They are our fur babies and we are willing to do whatever to provide them with a safe home. Are we being blind and selfish?? I’m sitting here now and each are occupying themselves so calmly. They play but all dogs play. They get separate walks now and always had seperate crates. We feed them separately and they are cool with that. I sometimes let one out at a time too but in the morning they are calm and relax on the lawn. They love other dogs and people adults and kids. They aren’t awesome in a
    Leash because they want to meet everyone. One barks at noises outside and gets excited. I got a Fog horn and that has helped dramatically in last 24 hours! We are trying these steps. I’m seeking for a good trainer with experience with littermates. Suggestions??

    [Reply]

  30. Tom says:

    If both dogs get the same love and attention, the same interaction with others it’s all good! We had 4 dachunds brothers and sisters and never a problem. Put the effort in and don’t be lazy or give in 🙂

    [Reply]

  31. Molly says:

    Loved this! i know its old but glad to hear some good news on litter mates. I have 2 miniature jackrussells, boy and girl. Im not getting them spade/neutered until they are fully developed at 2yrs old. My male doh will go to my nans who lives 10mins away with her own male jack. Mine do fight on and off mostly over chew sticks but are happy. My male is like sydney very chilled and more submissive glad o go to any human and dog. Bonnie is more like rodrigo very alert, active and more warery but shes the one who pines for flake when hes away. Flakes not really bothered, thanks.

    [Reply]

  32. Lana Miller says:

    Duke and Indy (male Yellow Labs) joined our 10 year old male farm Lab two weeks ago. Being retired allows me the time to “mother” twins! They spend their nights in the “puppy stall” with two dog houses so they can chose how they want to sleep. We take walks around the farm 3 times daily so they can explore, sniff, follow Spanky. They nap together in a large crate in our kitchen. We have invited friends of all ages to visit. They wrestle jointly…with each getting the upper hand at different times. They explore as individuals yet enjoy taking each other’s sticks away.
    They give me eye contact when I say their names…I call them individually to come and reward individually with a treat. I also watch for times they are separated by their own exploring then interact with each.
    I will plan separate training times with both pups.
    My husband and I made a commitment to raise these pups and devoting our time to doing the task. (Just little when we raised our sons!)

    [Reply]

  33. Hol says:

    I really have to comment on this post.
    I brought home two Cockapoo sisters at just over two months old and ended up in tears over the negativity i received. It was hard at first having to toilet train both and the genenral life of looking after a puppy (in this case two). I have two seperate crates which they sleep in at night out of choice as the door is left open… Never have I heard them cry at night.
    I take them both training but keep each puppy at opposite sides of the field and I have trained them to know that at dinner time they do not touch one another’s food. They are now eight months old and have settled brilliantly!!! I can’t imagine life without two dogs. They are entirely different in personality and looks. My only concern is if anything ever happened to one of them how the other would feel – because of that, I am putting either one of the dogs in doggy day care once a week so they are used to their own company. I really feel like after my experiences so far, this ‘litter mate syndrome’ only probably applies to two siblings being left alone for the majority of the day and not having people around them, alas making them dependant on one another. I stay working at home a lot so I’m always in the room with them and feel they know I am the leader of the pack. If you get siblings, just or the work in to it and it will pay off. Let’s get more positivity on the internet about this!

    [Reply]

  34. Cassie says:

    Me and my boyfriend recently just adopted two 7 week old husky puppies to our family, we also have two 7 year old daughters as well and we all have just fell in love with them.. I did a little research about getting litermates and almost everything was bad.. so far they have been great we only have had them a week but as long as I keep up my part and table them out every hour, just took yhem on their first walk that they finally would walk.. they didn’t like the leashes at first but now they seem to like it! We’ve gone on 3 so far.. we let them sleep together now in the same crate and they are fine no crying and are good because of the company of eachother.. I’m just worried of everything I read that it’s not good to have them so close… should I be changing up the way we are training to one on one everything or let them learn together as well as one on one… they have learned to know when I say let’s go potty or outside and run to the door and go as soon as I let them out.. when they nap I usually put them in their crate to let them know it’s their home and are getting comfortable with it.. but sometimes I’ll let them just crash and chill and one is usually under our bed in our room while the other is in the front room under a table.. so they haven’t seemed to codependent yet… but they do love eachother and play great… haven’t seen any bullying yet… maybe it’s to early? Thoughts? I want to raise the best happy healthy dogs I can and have done lots of research to know everything about huskies… but I’m shocked at all the bad reviewsCass and comments of littermates.. and hoping they don’t change as they get older..

    [Reply]

  35. Cindy says:

    I am happy to see that there have been positive outcomes for adopting littermates! I too unfortunately did not do my research and adopted two female littermates German shepherd mix puppies from a rescue. They are so darn cute I was caught up in that! Since been home one has been very aggressive towards the other and towards me, not all the time, but at inappropriate times…and now three days later the other one is picking it up. They are so sweet 65%of the time and fighting the rest…I thought it was play at first- but now it is getting to a new level- we are a compassionate family- I have read and am trying to train… a big family with lots of visitors, and I have lots of small children nieces and nephew -I am a little concerned I did it wrong…one aggressively grabbed my nephews shorts when he was walking by- did I mention they are only 8 weeks? I am super worried about the future and safety. Any suggestions? Should I separate them now?

    [Reply]

  36. Pat says:

    Our 9 month newf male littermates all of a siddem cannot be walked by one person
    They had been walking together great! Now, after a while the whole walk breaks down. They start roigh housing each other and it is extremely hard to control them. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Neuter if they are not and for sure get into some strict boot camp training and train them separately

    [Reply]

  37. PUZZLE says:

    Your post/blog is inspiring, Thank You for providing it!
    Earlier this year (March), my fiancé & I finally ended a long lived discussion as to whether-or-not we should introduce “A” new dog into the family & FINALLY just took the leap of faith!!!
    We met a litter of four Maltese pups; two male & two female.
    In a moment I was holding the runt. She was teeny-tiny & all kinds of sweetness!
    Appeared to be healthy but much smaller than her litter mates.
    I asked my fiancé if he wanted to hold her…as if…he hadn’t even hardly looked at the others.
    It was “Love-at-1st-Sight”!
    He wouldn’t let her go.
    😉
    Long story short, the next day we went back for her sister.
    My senior male Maltese was curious about them both. Sadly, he lost his own 12 year battle with congestive heart failure a couple of months ago. He taught them very well though. His spirit is reflected through them in many amazing ways.
    It wasn’t until AFTER we had our babies that I came across so many discouraging articles (by respected, respectable and credible experts) online about owning littermates.
    GASP!
    I shared with my fiancé & we couldn’t relate to any of the potential risks or possibilities at all.
    I wish there were more positive articles. I learned a lot by reading the experts but honestly, perhaps just plain ignorantly…these “problems” don’t exist in our home. I say ignorantly because; that negative energy wasn’t in our little universe. We didn’t know any differently than just simply raising babies like we’d done before.
    Like siblings, they communicate, play, fight & everything the same. Each has their own unique personality & behaviors that make them so awesome & completely funny & fun to be around. They are both incredibly loving in different ways. I am so grateful for the advise & instructions from experts but am incredibly blessed to have the seemingly rare experience of NOT having such horrible issues with the two littermates who have completely stolen our hearts & made our home even more happy!!!

    [Reply]

  38. Joy says:

    We are picking up our litter mates on 12/9. We are dog lovers and since our lab passed away we have missed the little paws around the house. We had no idea that taking two from the same litter wasn’t a good idea until a friend suggested that I research the topic today. That being said we are committed to the process and are moving forward. I appreciate the information on this blog, there are so many negative articles on this topic that it was disheartening. I’ve read all of the above comments and am very thankful to hear the positive experiences. We know it will be hard work to train two properly but we’ve got a long, cold New England winter ahead of us so what better time to hunker down and do this right. I’ll be checking this site often for any wisdom/insight I can find!

    [Reply]

  39. Kathy says:

    We adopted boy-girl litter mates from our local humane society in 1999, when were graduate students. They were border collie/Black lab mix. We potty trained them by taking them out frequently and praising them for good work. We had them sleep in a gated off bathroom. Yes they were destructive at times, nearly always because we made a rookie mistake. A few times our boy escaped our 6-ft fenced yard and he’d just sit outside the fence bc the girl was still in the yard. As adults, they were smart, well-behaved and good with any visitors. Our boy dog was not as friendly with other dogs, but we still were able to take them to social events and parks fine. They have both passed away (our girl got kidney cancer in 2011, and our boy had terrible arthritis and GI issues in 2013). We miss them terribly and have waited until now (2018!) to adopt a new pair. We had no idea adopting litter mates was such a “no no”. While we realize our lives are more complicated now (we have two school age kids, 2 cats and both work full time jobs), we have flexible work situations (I can work from home many days of the week) and a secure yard (nearly 3/4 of an acre fenced) and lots of love to give. We hope we will be “allowed” to adopt two — it’s amazing how many rescues put such strict requirements on people such as “must be home at all times” — it’s as if they don’t really want dogs to get adopted. Anyway, I’m glad that some others hear have had similar positive experiences like ours. We are still thinking about what is best for our family and hope to find the right dog(s) in March when our whole family can be home for nearly 2 weeks straight to establish good early habits and bonding.

    [Reply]

  40. Kevin says:

    Great postings here! We are on our 3rd set of littermates and obviously, we have had great experiences. Our first set were a Newfie / Lab mix, second set were English setters, and our newest pups ( 12 week’s now) are a Golden / Hovawart mix. In all cases we went with a brother and sister! I would add, the females have ruled!! It is surely more work, but it has also been 2x the fun! In my lay persons opinion, all the professionals who advise against raising littermates are offering theoretical advice, which is so often in real time, wrong!! Our experiences have been rewarding for both us and the dogs! Clearly the company they provide each other when we are away at work everyday has been of mutual benefit / they play so well together, look after each other and we have never had any of the problems the experts suggest is inherent with raising two siblings!! Yes they are closely bonded, but NOT at the exclusion of bonding with the two of us or difficult to train, or poorly behaved! They have all made such great household companions, along with our 4 Maine Coon Cats. Which, by the way, are also all siblings! 😜. If so inclined, and up for the very satisfying challenge, I say go for it!!

    [Reply]

  41. Carina says:

    Thank you for the positive feedback. Raising pups takes effort. No doubt. But so does doing anything well. Many of us have raised children and we know that each is an individual and that parents need to spend one on one time with each, and respect the differences. So it is with dogs, also. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. They are pups for so short a period. If you tough it out, and be committed to their training, and to raising them ‘right’ you will be fine. When they are older, you will think that this period passed in the blink of an eye. Enjoy it, laugh, cry and appreciate the wonder.

    [Reply]

  42. Thomas says:

    I felt compelled to write. My partner and I adopted two toy poodles (siblings) at 8 weeks of age and we are now 4+ years in and couldn’t be happier. Yes, it was more challenging to train them but both are highly intelligent and each has their own quirks and unique personality. They have socialized and adapted very well. I don’t know if we were simply fortunate but am convinced that we made the right decision.

    [Reply]

  43. Tammy says:

    Wow! I have 2 male, litter mate shihtzus. At first, I read all the negativity about raising litter mates and was freaked out wondering what had I gotten myself into. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least, but even if they fight or battle over me, I’ll catch them curled up with each other and it fills my heart. They have different personalities and I think one is trying to be like the other but they’re 16 mos old and still in the puppy stage. My lil Boys are very smart, loving, and spoiled but they’re mine all mine and make my world go around. Don’t listen to the negativity, listen to your heart.

    [Reply]

  44. Jacqueline says:

    When we shared with my friends and family that we were getting two female Dogo Argentino puppies from my male’s litter, they thought we lost our minds. In reality, we never planned to get two. It just kind of happened. We have two sister’s and the Sire. As I am reading everyone’s stories I am pleased to hear that we are not alone in all our madness.
    Our girls are now 6 months old and beautiful, they do exhibit littermate syndrome signs. In the first weeks one couldn’t be apart from the other. One would cry until she literally came into physical contact with her sister. Now they aren’t as bad, its apparent that one is more independent then the other. We are still trying to figure out who is going to take the hierarchy role, yet to be determined. The girls play hard( sometimes too hard that they leave battle wounds), which I am constantly monitoring. At times I feel so overwhelmed with the tremendous task of raising 2 puppies. That feeling is quickly replaced with warm fuzzy feelings, when they give kisses, because you place their food bowls in front of them or when you bathe them. Yes, we have our challenges but in hindsight, our girls are going to be par of our family. We will survive these moments. They have both stolen our hearts and we are dedicated to making this work. I am grateful to have found a page of support.

    [Reply]

  45. Ann says:

    Ok Minette, I know we are in for a challenge but we did not know it until it was too late. we have brought home two beautiful great Dane standard poodle mix puppies. they are both boys. the parents have great temperament as do the pups. at least so far. I am now scared of what is to come because we had no Idea that litter mates was a no no. We do have an adult son living at home so separating them and training and feeding the separately should not be a problem. My question is how long does that need to last 6 mo. a year 2 years? and does the same thing happen with two pups from separate litters? is it more age or sibling?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Typically it is more prevalent in siblings because they grow up in competition. Just like twins compete for attention and everything they get, littermates often do the same. And time frame will depend more on the dog than anything else.

    [Reply]

  46. Terri S. Koch says:

    We decided to go to our local Humane Society to get 2 dogs. We found 2 female Lab / pointer littermates, 9 months old that we fell in love with. We`re having issues with them not wanting us to have both, but from what I’ve read, their already 9 months old & been in the same kennel there all this time & I feel it would be a nightmare to separate them now anyhow. We know to feed them separately, take each to the vet separately & walk them separately. Our son will be the one training them & he knows to train them separately. If they refuse us, we have decided not to get either as their already 9 months old & been togeather their whole lives.

    [Reply]

  47. Nancy says:

    Thank you all for giving me hope. I’ve had dogs all my life but we are about to adopt 2 bichon frise puppies, male and female. Everyone has been less than supportive and has given me anxiety. Reading everything here makes me think people don’t know what they are talking about and love to give you the negative only. Has anyone ever litter box trained 2 pups? I’ve only ever had one. Thank you again!!

    [Reply]

  48. Andrea Gillespie says:

    Hi there, how are they doing now??

    [Reply]

  49. Andrea Gillespie says:

    Hi there, how is everything? what advice would you give to someone that just brought home littermates?

    [Reply]

  50. Andrea Gillespie says:

    Hello and thank you for your website and comments.
    I also just came home with litter mates and when reading online for advice, I started freaking out with all the negativity.
    We came home with a boy and girl german shepherd puppies.

    I’m so happy to have your website and help from people who have been there!!

    Andrea Gillespie

    [Reply]

    Scott Hoffman Reply:

    Congratulations!!! Do you have lots of pics? You might want to check out our puppy training guide, but make sure that you train them separately: https://thedogtrainingsecret.com/puppy-programming

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Just make sure they have separate time and training so that they can become independent. And watch them and reward good behaviors!

    [Reply]

  51. Mechel says:

    I’m picking up Beagle male littermates in 2 weeks. I recently had to help my 13 year old Cocker Spaniel cross the Rainbow Bridge. He had prostate cancer and the vet couldn’t do any more for him. I was/am devastated. My home is deafeningly quiet without my dog Beemer. My husband and I decided to get a pair of puppies. I did a lot of research about Beagle care, temperament, training etc. but it didn’t occur to me to research littermates. I met my new pups for the first time earlier this week and I am over the moon in love with them. I can’t wait to bring them home. I am up for the challenge of raising these little bundles of joy and most certainly mischief! I will be checking this site often for tips and helpful advice on raising healthy, happy and well-behaved pups!😁

    [Reply]

  52. Ross Griffiths says:

    So here i sit freaking out cause we have two litter mates reading and waiting for someone on the other end not with pups but mature dogs. And here is your post.
    We have two older dogs the pups play with.
    They wrestle at times they are 12kws old leonbergers.
    We lost our last to cancer at 5 yrs she was such a great dog we decided to get another so river …..and then little sully the last one …well we couldn’t just leave him!
    we offer chew toys when they want to bite or chew.
    Did you separate the kennels or crates or crate together.
    All together we have 5 dogs.
    Can you offer any other advice?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Separate to kennel them allow them to be individuals and have individual time with you, otherwise it is unhealthy. Imagine never getting alone time

    [Reply]

  53. Janice says:

    I am so glad that I came across this blog. My husband surprised me with two German Shepherd pups over Christmas and I fell head over heels in love with both of them (male and female). Of course, family and friends have their favourite (the male) as he’s so adorable and loves attention and the female is much more reserved but loves a good belly rub from whomever. They do play fight but I monitor and create diversions to stop any rough play. I was made to feel really bad about our decision to have both when I took them to puppy school and it is a struggle to train them separately I must admit…they whine and try to run to each other during training. I have successfully trained them myself with no issues and will continue to do so but will incorporate separate training schedules for each. When I saw the negative comments on the web about having sibling pups and that the only solution was to give one away, my heart broke…I will never be able to do this as I love them both unconditionally. They have their own personalities and are fine to sleep in separate rooms and to eat separately too. I will put in as much effort as I need to to make sure my pups grow into well adjusted adult dogs. They have both bonded with us…my husband is the pack leader in the household but they are definitely more attached to me as I am with them most of the time, do most of the training and give most of the cuddles. They in turn, have given me their loyalty unconditionally. I have noticed that he is very protective of his sister which is why I will try to do separate activities with them as far as possible. I’m up for the challenge but I am thankful for this blog and the positivity from all the others, as I can now move forward knowing that BOTH of my puppies will thrive with my love and care.

    [Reply]

  54. Louise says:

    Thank goodness for this site. Three weeks ago we adopted two mini Goldendoodles from the same litter. I was really worried after reading all the negative articles. We immediately put them in separate crates to sleep and we separate them to eat. We’ve started daily walks with each of them separately and allow them play time together. They do get a bit over excited when playing and it sometimes leads to nipping. I’m trying to control that as much as possible to avoid it developing in to aggression. They were potty trained in 3 weeks mostly because the female got it right away and helped train her brother. I can’t imagine having to give one away so I’m willing to do what it takes to make this work.

    [Reply]

  55. Pam says:

    I have a nine week old male labrador and my son and his family adopted his littermate, also a male. My husband and I look after both pups during work hours Mon – Fri. So far it’s going well (though it’s hard work!) and we’re looking forward to being able to take them out. At present they play together well but they also play fight a lot seemingly taking it in turns to be the dominant dog. If they get too rough we separate them into their crates after first trying to distract with toys etc
    As we’re going to be looking after my son’s dog for the foreseeable future is it advisable to have both dogs neutered? And if so, at what age?
    I’ve loved reading this as everything else I’ve come across is so negative!
    We’re experienced dog owners but have always had only one at a time so we’re definitely on a learning curve!

    [Reply]

  56. James says:

    We had three dogs and a cat at the same time over the years but we lost the last of them six months ago. We decided it was time to add to our family again and did not plan to get two but someone backed out on one of the litter-mates and we took both, apparently for all the wrong reasons. I had never heard that you should not have two puppies at the same time.

    We have had the two sisters for four weeks now. They are 12 week-old German Shepherds. They are a handful. They fight each other, bite us, tear at the carpet and on and on. There have been a couple of times I thought about finding a new home for one of them but I wouldn’t know which to keep and would always worry about whether they were being looked after properly.

    They are really sweet most of the time and we are working through the nuances of daily life and the unwanted behaviors. They sleep in the same crate at night for now and spend days in a play area in our kitchen together while we are at work. We are fortunate to have a friend come by a couple of times each day to let them out and play with them. They will have completed their shots in a few weeks and we plan to take them to training classes in addition to the training they are receiving at home.

    It has been a challenge but I think it will be worth it in the long run. I am always skeptical of “expert” opinions especially when it comes to the thoughts and behavior of an animal they doesn’t speak the same language. I also have to think that men and dogs (entire litters) managed to live together for thousands of years before we decided it wasn’t a good idea.

    This site has been a breath of fresh air when looking for advice on how to provide the best life for our new babies.

    [Reply]

  57. Tim says:

    Thanks for this article. I have just gotten two mixed breed pit bulls, that followed me home from surfing one day (I live in Taiwan and Taiwanese just drop puppies in the wild here sometimes. Sad, I know). I was first concerned when I heard they were part pit bull and again when I found out it’s bad to raise littermates.

    Glad to hear of your success story, and I really appreciate that you helped put one of my concerns partly to ease!

    [Reply]

  58. Jerri says:

    Ok, time for an honesty check (for myself!). We tragically lost our 6 yo boxer and our 12 yo lab at the beginning of the summer. It’s a horrible event that I’d rather not discuss but it scarred my family, all of us to include my 16 and 14 year old kiddos. They did not want to even be at the house the following week. We’ve ALWAYS had two dogs, but they’ve always been a few years a part in age. Whenever we have lost one to age or illness, we would adopt another to help ease the pain for our other pup. It always worked well for us all.

    After tragically losing both in the same day, we just couldn’t pick ourselves back up. I had surgery about a week later and under some pretty good medication thought it would be a good idea to go see some boxer puppies and lift my kids spirits. We ended up bringing 27 week old boxer puppies home from the same litter, both mail. I had no idea what I was getting in for until I got on the Internet the next day. I had never even heard of littermate syndrome. And I surely didn’t think that raising two puppies from the same litter was going to be that big of a deal since we had always had two dogs. To say that I was absolutely scared, panic, and all-around freaked out is the understatement of the year. I truly think that I became anxiety ridden over it. But after several days went by how in the world was I going to tell one of the kids that I thought it was best we rehome one of the puppies? We have stuck it out for a month now. We have created them at night separately and successfully. They eat separately. But when they play, they play rough and hard nonstop and listen to no one and definitely not any commands. I feel we have done a fantastic job of Orientating them to other dogs and people both together and separately. They seem very happy to be around other dogs and other people with no problems. But again when they are together, all they do is play fight. It gets rough sometimes and they have scarred each other, but nothing that I have not been able to break up it is just a total nuisance and I am very worried that it will get worse as they get older.

    They are 12 weeks now and with the exception of not listening when they are together, and being a complete handful, I feel that they’re developing healthily.

    My true concern is that they are play-fighting too much, and that their training is far behind the curve (one still has accidents throughout the day because he’s always sidetracked by the brother). The play fighting starts as “normal” and then they just keep at it for long periods of time. I have tried to play with them separately, separate their play time, address the biting when it occurs but it is CONSTANT.

    I am to the point I am wondering if one should be rehomed. We have a friend who’d be a wonderful parent and is interested. They were separated this past weekend for two days and they both did wonderfully apart, but were of course happy when reunited.

    I have read the comments, I’ve seen the success stories, I’ve also seen the heart break. I want to do what’s best for these two amazing pups AND my family. I’m so overwhelmed that I’m going nuts. My husband works a lot and the kids have been great, but it’s been hard for them too.

    Not sure if I’m looking for support or suggestions…. but I appreciate either.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    My mother used to say “This is a life decision, I can’t help you”… and to that I would echo her sentiments. You have to do what is best for you and your family. Dogs are resilient and many pups don’t even get a home until after 12 weeks. They would be fine.

    [Reply]

  59. Janice says:

    Hi Jerri,
    I’m not sure if you’ve made a decision since your last post but I just wanted to see if my two cents worth would help you out a bit.
    I have two German Shepherd puppies who are now 10 months old. GSD’s need constant stimulation and when they are not stimulated, become destructive and the fighting with each other starts. Months ago, the fighting was CONSTANT and I wanted to give up and was thinking of re-homeing one of them. However, what I’ve seen lately is that the fighting has definitely dwindled down as they grow up and we try to train and play with them as much as possible to eliminate this issue. I’m no expert but I am an expert on MY puppies and what they require from me on a daily basis. If you can stick it out and keep at it with monitoring them, providing play and adequate training, then I think you’ll start to see the difference months down the line. If you physically and mentally cannot deal, it’s not going to become any easier for you right now so you need to decide what you and your family are capable of handling for the next year or so. My husband also works a lot so it’s up to me to manage the well being of these pups most of the time and to provide the training and discipline. I don’t have kids so I guess it’s probably a bit easier for me than it would be for you at this point as you get pulled in many different directions. If you decide to re home one of them to your friend, at least you’ll know that they’ll be going to a great home and you’ll be able to see them whenever you can (seeing as it is a close friend of yours)…it’s not a complete loss to put it that way.
    It’s hard no doubt…potty training was my absolute worst with two dogs but I’ve gotten through it and I see my pups thriving now. Sticking to a daily routine I’ve found is also key to their development. It is A LOT of work…it’s harder than my actual day job (LOL) and I’ve been pushed to the limits of my physical boundaries. But, I now have well trained and obedient puppies who, when I come home, welcome me like I am their hero and THE most loved person on the planet. It’s so worth it!
    Good luck with your decision! I don’t think that any decision you make will be a bad one…it just has to be the best decision for you and your family for now.
    Janice

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I went to the home on Saturday of two littermates, they are literally going to kill each other if the owners don’t change and maybe rehoming is best. I would never, ever get littermates…so much competition

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  60. Gillian says:

    This is so refreshing to read I have littermate sisters nearly 16 weeks they sleep together play together train together very good with sit stay leave ,look at me paw ,down they both went to training classes together but our last 3 classes am taking only 1 as she is the cheeky one but both were fine as the other stayed at home with my husband we walk them separate some days they look for the other but just play or get their mind occupied and are ok but when IIm on my own and have both they are a bit mad will that settle down ? , they both love everything everyone and all dogs they meet too I put a lot of work in so hope the waking settles down as that’s our mAin hang up ,they are great with everything else

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  61. Aliesha says:

    We’re just over a week and a half in with our littermates, one male, one female, they are rescues and estimated to be about 3.5 months. They naturally love and adore each other, their first couple of nights home we let them sleep together, then separate crates that were close, currently their crates are in the same room but opposite sides. They always go outside without the other to go potty so they don’t distract each other. With playing and training I’d say we do 75% one on one but we do let them have some time together with training and playing, mostly so that we can work on training in the presence of other distractions. So far we have zero aggression issues and anytime my boyfriend or I have to run errands we divide and conquer with the pups. They don’t seem to have any issue being apart. I grew up with dogs but never siblings so I’m so paranoid about Littermate Syndrome, but I’m also a stay at home mom of a 2.5 year old so I’m here to put the time in (and our son loves helping). It’s nice to hear something that’s not so negative. I’m sure a lot of the risks depend on the pups themselves as well as their environment and their training. One on one training is no problem for me-I love working with and teaching dogs so double the time there is great for me 🙂 but I will be SO happy when they’re house broken!!!

    During the day we have exercise pens that we’ve been keeping them in (separate pen for each pup). Does anyone have any tips/advice for how long to keep that up? Eventually I’d like to give them access to the whole house but DEFINITELY not until they’re potty trained… I’m just not sure if I should keep the separate pens longer than just potty training to continue their solo time? If any of you have any experience or advice on that it’d be greatly appreciated ☺️

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    All dogs and humans need solo time and learn how to be an individual

    [Reply]

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