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03-30-2012, 09:59 AM
Dogs Name: Shanoa; Richter (Glengate's Mountain Fortress); RIP Simon
Titles: CGC, Daddy's herzhund; best puppy ever
Dogs Age: d.o.b 11/28/2008; d.o.b. 7/13/2012
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Absolutely excellent article on littermate syndrome
Below is an article written by my trainer on littermate syndrome. I thought it was great, so I'm sharing it. You can find the original here: Littermate Syndrome | Paws Abilities
Getting two dogs at the same time seems like a great idea. Dogs are social animals, and a dog who will be alone all day can easily turn to destructive behavior or become anxious. Two puppies can entertain each other and keep each other company. So, what’s the problem with bringing home two puppies at once?
Professional trainers like myself recommend against getting bringing home two puppies. While this sounds like a good plan in theory, in practice it often causes quite a bit of heartache and trouble.
In addition to the problems one might expect with bringing home siblings such as double food and vet costs and double the potty training work, we need to focus on how the puppies will develop. Puppies’ brains continue developing until they hit sexual maturity (and even a bit beyond that), and there’s some convincing research out there that bringing two puppies home at the same time prevents one of the puppies from reaching his or her full potential.
Luckily for us, this topic has been researched extensively by someone who knows all about creating behaviorally sound puppies: guide dog organizations. One of the biggest problems that guide dog organizations run into is that puppy raisers are hard to come by. Puppy raisers are families who agree to raise future guide dog puppies, socializing them and teaching them basic obedience. This isn’t an easy job, and the emotional impact of giving up their puppies after a year of bonding and hard work means that many families are reluctant to repeat the experience.
In order to maximize the use of their volunteer puppy raisers, one guide dog organization decided to try an experiment. Willing homes were given not one, but two puppies to raise, thereby doubling the number of puppies the guide dog organization could work with. Puppies born to these organizations are tested before being placed and are tracked throughout their growth and development. What the organization found was startling. Placing two puppies in the same household always caused one puppy to become temperamentally unsuitable for work, even when both puppies started off as perfect candidates.
When two puppies are placed together, they learn to rely on each other. One of the puppies always becomes shy, even when both puppies started off as bold and outgoing. This is a huge problem, since it means that the shy puppy never reaches his or her potential. In fact, this was such a major issue that the guide dog experiment was quickly halted, and to this day guide dog organizations only place one puppy at a time in puppy raisers’ homes, even when the homes are highly experienced.
In addition to one puppy becoming shy, there are other behavioral implications for two puppies who are adopted at the same time. Oftentimes even the “bold” puppy turns out to be quite nervous and uncertain when separated from his or her littermate. Furthermore, the puppies frequently become incredibly co-dependent, exhibiting heartbreaking anxiety when separated from one another. They often fail to bond to their human family as strongly as they otherwise would, or sometimes at all. At social maturity, these puppies may begin fighting with one another, sometimes quite severely.
Even puppies who are not related can exhibit littermate syndrome when placed together. Professional trainers recommend against getting two puppies within six months of one another, because the risks are just too high. This doesn’t even take into consideration the other practical considerations, such as the increased costs of vet care, food, supplies, and training; the extra work of training and caring for two dogs; or the time requirements of two active puppies.
Can littermate syndrome be prevented? Theoretically, yes, however it’s so difficult as to be nearly impossible in practice. Remember, even experienced guide dog puppy raisers aren’t expected to be able to prevent this issue from developing. At a bare minimum, the two puppies would need to be crated and cared for separately, including separate walks, training classes, and playtime with their owners. The puppies need to have more one-on-one time with their new owners than they have with each other, effectively doubling the work and negating any of the possible benefits (i.e. companionship) that they were adopted together for in the first place.
The bottom line is that puppies do best when brought home separately. If you want multiple dogs, consider purchasing or adopting adult dogs who are already done developing instead.
Richter & Shanoa
“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common.
Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
― Martin Luther
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(03-30-2012), Baptis Ridge Dobermans
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03-30-2012, 10:20 AM
Owned by Dobes since 1975
Location: BC, Canada!
Dogs Name: Pearl and Charlie
Titles: BPBIH, BMC, BDIH, BND!
Dogs Age: 9 and 3
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information like this should really be stickied here on DT.
so many need to read it.
Thanks for making this signature for me Amelia!
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09-18-2012, 11:43 PM
Location: Las Pinas City, Philippines
Dogs Name: Bruno, Steph
Dogs Age: 6 months
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OMG I just read the article and never occured to me I would experience same problems. I just got 2 litters - steph n bruno, both 5 months old and are more than a month with me now. They are showing agression when they are walked together, sometimes barking at each other at a distance. Fighting happens once in a while. They are in separate cages but they can see each other. The male dobe shows aggression and dominance. The female litter is more submissive and restive compared to the male dobe. I know I got the puppies too late (5 months and ears not cropped) but I'm beginning to wonder if I will proceed having them together. The first 3 days was a nightmare - we couldnt sleep due to the male litter's excessive barking. It's more contain now. After reading this article - I should perhaps decide soonest. The breeder wasn't aware too. I beginning to love them both, especially the male litter, Bruno. Aren't they adorable? Huhuhu.
11-09-2012, 05:34 AM
Dogs Name: Dixie and Trixie
Dogs Age: 18 months
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very interesting reading, since exercising my 2 separately and feeding them separately they have improved seven fold, much calmer, the boy one was the runt of the pack so to speak when we got him and was and still is timid, the girl found me so to speak and is the boss so much better just 24 hours later thanks for all advice given
11-09-2012, 07:09 AM
Location: NW suburbs, IL
Dogs Name: Bruda Weekend Warrior, aka "Rowan"; Bruda Pure Seduction, aka "Monroe"
Titles: UKC Ch, CGC, TDI; AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy
Dogs Age: DOB 2/11/11; DOB 12/12/12
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Great article...thanks! I think I will share with my foster group.
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." --Josh Billings
UKC Ch. Bruda Weekend Warrior, TT, CGC, TDI "Rowan"
Bruda Pure Seduction, S.T.A.R. Puppy "Monroe"
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02-24-2013, 08:43 AM
Location: St. Thomas, Ontario
Dogs Name: Kelly
Titles: CD Obedience & Therapy
Dogs Age: puppy
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Great article MeadowCat, an easy read that makes total sense.
Several years ago, I trained 2 boxer pups once a week from 8 weeks old, for less than a few months, instilling off-leash perimeter control & general commands - one pup was actually their sons, and was there most of the time.
The couple was a dog food customer of mine, so for the next few years I got to see the adult dog interactions, in the family house.
Somewhat neurotic...always came into my mind when I entered their front door, and saw the big dogs.
The pair came to me easily as I always had a large bag of kibble over my shoulder, but soon the dogs were happy just fighting constantly on the couch. The owners thought this non-stop out-of-control together activity was cute (human bond noticeably lacking IMO),
I though the two would quickly drive me nuts - littermates...no thanks.
__________________ ------------Kelly & (Amy - RIP @ 11.7 y/o)
Last edited by Beaumont67; 02-24-2013 at 09:03 AM..
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