The 3 Main Reasons I Don’t Recommend Littermates
The 3 Main Reasons I Don’t Recommend Littermates
I have been a professional dog trainer for over 20 years and there are a few things that I unequivocally do not recommend.
One is getting a puppy when you are pregnant. At some point I would like to do a study on this phenomenon and why it occurs so frequently.
The truth is in 8 or 7 months you will be too busy to adequately care for your puppy.
The other is adopting or getting littermates.
Please Don’t Go on the Attack
Please don’t hurt me 😉 I am aware that some people have wonderful experiences with both cases.
However I tend to see the bad and the aftermath of what can later be considered a bad decision.
First of all I am not a hypocrite. I would do neither, even with my 20+ years of experience.
So I want to share with you the 3 main reason (yes there are more but these cover the big reasons) why I would not get nor recommend littermate puppies.
#3 – It is Twice the Expense
I know that sounds obvious.
Of course it is twice the expense… DUH
But have you really sat down and calculated out how much puppy exams, vaccines, and spay and neuter cost.
The AKC estimates the costs of the first year for
- A small dog $2,674
- A medium dog $2,889
- A large dog $ 3,239
- A giant dog $ 3,536
And the cost of a dog over it’s lifetime averages $23,410
And interestingly enough that does not include dog training.
To read the article yourself click here http://www.akc.org/learn/akc-training/cost-to-raise-dog/
Now double those costs or in my opinion multiply by at least 2 and ½ .
Why 2 and ½ ?
Because littermates get into significantly more trouble than one puppy, therefore are more likely to incur more vet bills and more expenses when it comes to shredding items and soiling the house. More on that, later in the article.
But, if you just look at the numbers alone you can probably muster the expense of one puppy but the significance of twice the cost is impressive when it comes to dogs. $7,000 to $50,000 is a lot of money.
And, remember if you have littermates, spay and neuter is not even something you can put off until you can afford it.
#2 – It Is More Than Twice the Work
Most people who embark on two littermates think it will be easier.
The puppies will teach each other.
The puppies will entertain themselves.
The truth is they will likely teach each other naughty things and entertain each other in less than appropriate ways.
It seems dogs, especially young puppies, never teach each other the good and appropriate things we want them to learn.
One puppy rarely sees another laying down and then chooses the same good behavior.
Most often one puppy starts digging or chewing on something and the other puppy follows in stride almost feeding the negative behavior.
Digging is fun for a dog that is solo, digging in tandem and kicking up dirt together is even more fun and desirable.
As you can imagine the hole would be substantially bigger with two active diggers feeding off of each other.
Having two puppies is twice the puppy training, it is twice the potty training, and it is twice the monitoring.
I, personally, think it is challenging enough to keep an ever watchful eye on one puppy and as you can imagine it is even more problematic to make sure you are watching two.
Everything will be more difficult with two mouths, two rumps and eight furry paws to watch.
#1 – They Bond to Each Other
This doesn’t sound like a horrible thing, right?
I mean, a lot of people get two dogs as I mentioned because they think it will be easier and the dogs will entertain themselves.
Even I like my dogs having each other to play with and to bond with when I am no around.
But make no mistake
But make no mistake, I want my dogs to bond first and foremost to ME.
I have learned that to get the most obedient dog, the most well behaved dog, and the happiest dog that the dog must think that I control all good things.
I control his food, I control his toys, I control his fun and we play together.
This allows me to easily shape his behavior and teach him that with good behavior comes fun games and rewards.
Just like it is nearly impossible to convince your dog that spending time with you is more fun than running off leash, or playing at the dog park (unless you have taught him how fun you are first), it is also often nearly impossible to compete with his littermate when it comes to listening and entertainment.
Quality of Life
And, I think it is sad when two littermates literally cannot function alone without the other.
Not all dogs have the same life expectancy. Even littermates don’t live the exact same amount of time. I want my dogs to be able to function without each other both for training purposes and their own sanity.
Eventually your littermates will have to be separate for grooming, vet visits, training or simply mortality.
If you do get two littermates, please do them a favor and allow them to be separate and individual.
Trust me, you will thank me some day.
If You Want 2 Puppies
If you want two puppies, I suggest you consider getting them a few months apart.
Those months allow you to potty train and ingrain dog training, fun and games into the first puppy before getting the second.
It allows both puppies to bond with you while also enjoying each other.
I adopted a second puppy when my first puppy was 9 months old.
She, the first puppy, was already mostly trained and had forged a great bond with me when the new puppy came into our life.
When I would ask them to stop (playing, chewing, etc.) she already had a basis of knowledge and understanding and could therefore help him understand my cues and rules.
I didn’t have to watch them both constantly. She already knew to stay with me and therefore it allowed me to focus on the new puppy.
I am all about having multiple dogs (provided you actually have time for them both) but I have learned through experience how to set my dogs and my household up for success.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.