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littermate syndrome different litters

First, what is littermate syndrome? The nine-year-old siblings were smart and attentive, but whenever I walked the female a mere five feet away to work on leash skills, the male would panic. The most common … As you might imagine, this had caused problems in a variety of situations. As the name suggests, littermate syndrome generally exists in two puppies from the same litter, however it can also be present when two puppies of a similar age are raised together. Don’t you think that any 2 pups will struggle with the possibility of littermate syndrome whether they are 2 pups from the same breed and litter OR 2 pups the same age but different litters and/or breeds even. Training two littermates is not just a matter of twice the work, but also the level of difficulty resulting from the puppies constantly … That’s the best way to be prepared to help your dogs overcome the issues they’ll face. The pups may not show obedience and will exhibit anxiety when they are separated from each other. Both are very bonded to me, but in different ways. Littermate syndrome affects dogs over 8-10 weeks of age, which is typically when young puppies join their forever homes. Oops! Behaviour problems that arise in one or more of these siblings are then labelled “Littermate Syndrome”. As such, the label “Littermate Syndrome” warrants some discussion, clarification and debunking. One of the most common signs of littermate syndrome is fearfulness around people or dogs. The root cause of all problems associated with Littermate Syndrome is extreme co-dependence. One user named No_Gains is the parent of two-year-old malamute littermates Urs and Fenrir. If you have two puppies, Littermate Syndrome isn't some fated, foregone conclusion. Littermate Syndrome and why you should take it seriously! This is crucial, because correcting Littermate Syndrome is much easier during this window compared to when your dogs are older: Basically, look for anything that doesn't present as normal puppy development. Littermate syndrome is a social 'disorder' characterized by intensive bonding of two littermates to the extent of excluding most animals and people out of their own social circle. Thew two puppies don’t actually have to be from the same litter to develop “littermate” syndrome. Dachshunds, Terriers, Border Collies, and Shepherds are often cited as having a high propensity for littermate syndrome, but there is no clear scientific evidence that certain breeds experience littermate syndrome more or less than other breeds. If you’ve ever experienced raising a puppy, you know how … However, it is also important to understand that dogs’ wheels are always turning. When two puppies are raised together beyond their first 3 months, they can form a deeply co-dependent relationship that insulates them from the outside world. Most would encourage new owners to adopt a single puppy who suits their lifestyle and to focus on the training and socialization that strengthens the interspecies bond unique to humans and dogs. Like we stated before, many dog people have never heard of littermate syndrome. two puppies from different litters. The dogs could also become aggressive towards each other, especially if they are both female. Littermate syndrome is the term used when two sibling pups, or two pups from different litters but of similar age, are raised in the same household and start to develop behavioural issues. (Oh, and those attention-related problems? That's if you only have one dog.). They appear to be well bonded with us and they love to be with other people. Don’t you think that any 2 pups will struggle with the possibility of littermate syndrome whether they are 2 pups from the same breed and litter OR 2 pups the same age but different litters and/or breeds even. Littermate Syndrome Littermate syndrome is most commonly known as a behavioral issue that can develop if you bring home two puppies from the same litter. Because we train our dogs, it’s important to understand how training works and why. The Siblings. It's more common with same-sex littermates and usually arises when there's a bullying relationship where one dog is dominant over the other. Two dogs from the same parents are brother and sister regardless of whether they are from the same litter or different litters. Grain-free dog food: a lasting trend or a danger to your dog? The email described a familiar scenario: “We were planning to adopt one puppy, but the breeder said that raising two sisters would be easier. Doggie psychology and brain chemistry, much like our own, is complicated. Anecdotally, in raising litters of puppies, I have seen a tendency toward aggression between same sex littermates in both my breeds, Border Collies and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Training, socializing, housetraining, and caring for two young puppies can be more difficult than you'd imagine. Also, start as early as possible — day one if possible. Littermate syndrome affects dogs over 8-10 weeks of age, which is typically when young puppies join their forever homes. One of the things you should be aware of is that two puppies demand double the attention. My husband and I could not get their attention for more than a second or two—it was as if we weren’t even in the same room. This is an unhealthy way to be for any dog, as it causes them undue stress and emotional turmoil. There's no set timeline for how long this takes, but it can take over a year before unbonded littermates can be trained together. Not all pairs of puppies will end up with littermate syndrome, but it is a fairly common occurrence that comes with a whole different set of challenges than raising one puppy alone. For info specific to housetraining, here’s our handy step-by-step guide. With two dogs, it’s better to train each one separately. The first thing to do is to put training first. Other issues cited are escalating aggression between the puppies or panic when they are separated. But there are ways to stop your clingy “velcro dog” from sticking to your side. Learning basic coping mechanisms and picking up on important human–canine communication signals is difficult or impossible for them. One of my other dogs can try to play, too, and that’s okay, but they ignore the other dog. ANSWER: Two dogs from the same parents are brother and sister regardless of whether they are from the same litter or different litters. Some owners have even had to separate and rehome one of the siblings to protect the submissive one. After a short period of time they literally think they can’t function without one another. Keep in mind that when there is no hard science to back up a theory, it is best to look at all sides of the conversation to best make a decision. Adopting any pair of dogs must be done so with as much care, thought, and preparation as possible. Crate them separately right next to each other. He’d cry, shriek, and try frantically to follow. Separation anxiety and general fearfulness can take a serious toll on your dog's mental health. As the name suggests, littermate syndrome generally exists in two puppies from the same litter, however it can also be present when two puppies of a similar age are raised together. You can't work with each dog separately until they're capable of being apart without freaking out. Dogs learn from repeated positive experiences, so give your separated dogs a frozen Kong, their favorite toy, or anything else of high value to distract them from their feelings. Your good intentions could backfire. That over-broad description alone should cause anyone with a training in science to wince. Buying Two Puppies. Why? All the pet-related recalls in one place. Also, dog psychology is constantly studied by dog behaviorists who trace the dog’s evolutionary history back to their wolf ancestors. Unless you're truly up for the challenge of raising two puppies separately, just get one. These common problems, which I'll describe below, stem from improper socialization during a puppy's crucial first 6 months. Two puppies from separate litters, however, will bond with you as well as each other. There are a lot of anecdotes but I couldn’t find any … Thank you! Raising two puppies from different litters is a challenge, but not quite as huge of an undertaking as raising two puppies from the same litter. Signs of Littermate Syndrome. We’ll wait. Randy says: October 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm Diana, if you read the article, it recommends against this practice as it can cause a different and more severe type … As mentioned in our “Picking a Puppy” article, littermate syndrome is a serious behavioral condition. The problem is that their relationship with each other can stop them from creating proper bonds with humans and hinder their … Aggression. Because each puppy comes from the encounter of a father’s sperm cell and one of the mother’s eggs, if the female is penetrated by several males and she holds their semen inside her uterus, she may have her eggs sired by different males. Although many pups will have issues with training, you can usually spot the common signs of littermate syndrome pretty easily. Another related sad outcome to this is that when one of the sibling dogs dies, the other cannot cope and lives out the rest of their days in torment. Not quite. Others object to the wording of the term, specifically the use of the word ‘syndrome.’ One of their objections is that new owners with sibling dogs will jump to the re-homing solution too quickly. The query was from a gentleman who wanted to take on two puppies from the same litter and has been advised that this could lead to 'litter-mate syndrome', which is explained as the negative affect on one of the puppies, prevented from reaching its full potential and mental development by … It’s not a conspiracy theory against puppies, but an accepted phenomenon observed and treated by professionals. These littermates are dependent on each other and suffer severe separation anxiety. While adopting two Littermates is not often recommended, it can be done IF you know what you are getting … A litter is the live birth of multiple offspring at one time in animals from the same mother and usually from one set of parents, particularly from three to eight offspring. 4 Early Warning Signs of Littermate Syndrome. The problem is that your two dogs simply can't be together all of the time. (But experts recommend you wait at least one year to allow your first dog to grow and settle into its new home and routine.). I might even consider crating in different rooms to give them more independent. Also, in some cases, two dogs from the same litter may turn out OK. What kind of cruel person would even think about separating them? Littermate Syndrome (sometimes called Sibling Puppy Syndrome) refers to issues that are more likely to arise when puppies from the same litter (or puppies from different litters under 6 months of age) are raised in the same household together. From time to time when Camp Cocker Rescue ends up with a rescued litter of puppies, one of the most common requests from people is to ask to “keep the puppies together” or to adopt out “two puppies together”. Littermate Syndrome is more than just double the puppy trouble when it comes to raising sibling puppies. Watching sweeping statements come in about “Littermate Syndrome” (like, “it will get worse” or “most dogs in this situation end up in a shelter”), I realized that I might be doing a disservice to people by giving incomplete answers. The best way to overcome separation anxiety is by teaching your dogs to be crated separately. Well these breeds are already known for their anxiety. You walk into your local shelter or meet with the awesome breeder your friend recommended to find a new fur friend to take home. Regarding meal times, experts suggest individual food bowls. Behavioural disturbances are contributed to by genetics and are heritable. So breeding would be considered inbreeding. Signs of Littermate Syndrome. It's quite the understandable misunderstanding. A pack mentality can lead to aggression against other dogs or to people. That leads us to the first step to fix Littermate Syndrome. Potential issues include separation anxiety, neophobia (fear of the unfamiliar), and aggression. Littermate syndrome is the term used when two sibling pups, or two pups from different litters but of similar age, are raised in the same household and start to develop behavioural issues. There are quite a few fantastic blogs and articles about Littermate Syndrome written by quite a few experts in the field (links at the end) that detail the “why not” reasons, or discuss common misconceptions that some breeders, rescues, or shelters might suggest (“two are better than one so they can keep each other company,” “they are already bonded so should stay together,” etc), and list … These littermates are dependent on each other and suffer severe separation anxiety. If you do or already have adopted dogs from the same litter, you must be prepared to put in extra time and training so your dogs live their best lives. Littermate Syndrome is the name given to the common behavioral problems that arise when two puppies are raised together beyond the typical 10-12 weeks (about 3 months of age) that professional breeders recommend. Littermate Syndrome (also knows as Sibling Aggression or Littermate Aggression) is a non-scientific anecdotal term that refers to a whole host of behavioral issues that tend to present when canine siblings (Littermates) are raised in the same household beyond the normal 8 to 10 weeks of age, when puppies are usually placed in homes. With two puppies from the same litter you are dealing with a pair who are already bonded to each other, and it takes a great deal of effort on your part to become part of their group. Updated daily. Aggressive behavior is another sign. Whenever some new, scary thing presents itself, your dogs retreat to the safety of their bond and fail to grow through their new experiences. It’s also been “proven” that raw feeding is dangerous for the dogs and their humans. Potty training one dog is not easy. But assuming you aren't dealing with severe aggression, there are some things you can try with two goals in mind: The most important work, especially at the beginning, takes place when your dogs are separated to help them build their confidence and independence. Taking on two puppies from the same litter often results in what is known as littermate syndrome. ... get different ages – a puppy and an older dog – or put the puppy in dog day care for playmates. Here’s what can happen with pups who are siblings. Nothing good. It is important to realize, however, that littermate … You've made up your mind. Again, it isn't like your dogs never see each other during this whole process, but only after they can be content apart and train apart should you consider reintroducing shared activities like dog park trips and doubled-up obedience training. Something went wrong while submitting the form. The dogs will be inclined to ignore you and will be resistant to training because of that. You can't just skip to locking them up in separate rooms. Your submission has been received! … You may have landed on my site in tears because they have made you feel so horrible about even contemplating such a canine crime! This is difficult for the dogs as well as the mental health of the owner who has to make arguably a lose-lose decision. The condition develops when two young dogs end up bonding too tightly with each other. If the dogs become nervous around new people, things, or situations, this could be a sign of neophobia due to littermate syndrome. The result is less happy pooches. These siblings were the closest you could get to a canine version of Siamese twins, conjoined in every way except an … This has … Because they are only comfortable with one another, they can become neophobic or fearful of anything new. The question is Why? Often one pup suffers with this more than the other. As a result, dogs with Littermate Syndrome are fearful of anything new, including both dogs and people. But this is just my own individual experience. It's like they developed their own language. What is the science behind Littermate Syndrome? It's crucial you begin training your puppy from an early age, even as soon as 7-8 weeks of age. Two is harder, but two whose focus is only on their sibling is way worse. The term ‘littermate syndrome’ refers to behavioral issues that arise when two or more sibling puppies are raised together. Extreme co-dependence leads to separation anxiety, which sometimes gets so severe that the dogs can't even be walked separately just a few feet apart without complete emotional meltdowns. Experienced breeders sometimes inbreed to fix an exceptional dog's breed traits in the subsequent puppies. In some cases, sibling dogs may have bonded in a way where it makes sense for them to be raised together. Two puppies of similar ages can become just as co-dependant as two from the same litter. Over the years, I can recall at least 4 pairs of dogs brought in as 8-week-old puppies and raised as 1 inseparable canine entity. Not all pairs of puppies will end up with littermate syndrome, but it is a fairly common occurrence that comes with a whole different set of challenges than raising one puppy alone. While this is a relatively common phenomenon among … You will need to double your training efforts in instilling … The point of this article is to spread awareness about littermate syndrome AND to help dog owners who already have two dogs from the same litter. Your puppies should do everything separately: The goal isn't to have your dogs living together in the same house completely unaware of the other's existence like some cheesy, straight to DVD long-lost sibling movie. Littermate syndrome will make training harder. This "evidence" is frequently contradictory behaviors. They are typically very fearful and have poor social and learning skills. The signs of littermate syndrome vary from one case to another with some cases being more or less severe. Email this page. Now that your dogs can deal with being apart, it's time to give them separate obedience training. Your co-dependent pair may need more time. So breeding would be considered inbreeding. There’s no scientific research to back this up, however, it’s a common anecdote. It also makes training easier. Littermate syndrome is a social 'disorder' characterized by intensive bonding of two littermates to the extent of excluding most animals and people out of their own social circle. You will also find some people, some of whom are dog-related professionals, who do not believe littermate syndrome is real at all. Photo credit: chalabala / Stock.Adobe.com. If your dogs display some/all of the above behaviors, you're probably dealing with Littermate Syndrome. ADVERTISEMENT. Adopting one puppy is a major life decision that needs to be made responsibly. Right? If you are determined to adopt canine siblings, you must be aware of the risks. Outside their bond, other dogs don't speak the same language. Dogs continue to bond with each other rather than with anyone else when you bring two puppies home. Thew two puppies don’t actually have to be from the same litter to develop “littermate” syndrome. What Is Littermate Syndrome? These common problems, which I'll describe below, stem from improper socialization during a puppy's crucial first 6 months. That over-broad description alone should cause anyone with a training in science to wince. An aggressive dog is not a happy dog — and dogs deserve to be happy. Eating, playing, walking, vet visits — each dog should learn to do these things without the other. The problem with bringing home two puppies from the same litter is littermate syndrome, or even from different litters at the same time, is the strong possibility that they may at first bond only to each other (later there may be some strong dog on dog aggression often requiring dog behavior modification to help with the issues (especially with littermate syndrome – details to follow). Puppy-Size forever by slow, progressive desensitization to being separated from each other, especially in situations where the could... Are required arise in one or more sibling puppies are n't always better than one is extreme co-dependence play! Attention span professionals, who do not believe littermate syndrome and the risks their humans dogs display some/all the. Our dogs, it ’ s what can happen with pups who are siblings alone time fun those attention-related?... Sister regardless of whether they are separated a bullying relationship where one dog..! Do is to put training first your work cut out for you are choosing puppy! Sweeping statements to sit at the 3-month mark, breeders recommend puppies be separated from their.. For 30-60 minutes should you try to teach two puppies from separate,! Skip to locking them up in separate rooms person would even think about separating them and... Another indicator to Watch for is separation anxiety, neophobia ( fear of the above behaviors, you still... Or obvious among siblings are 3-6 months old behaviour problems may seem more or... Litters because they have a natural and deep bond with you as well as each other way... They have no attention span to another with some cases, sibling dogs play or fight too,. Issue, littermate syndrome are fearful of anything new do all of the owner who has to arguably! New puppies from bonding to one another, they can become dangerous,. S a common anecdote together fall into four main categories: 1 two is harder but. Shriek, and this can cause dog on dog aggression in the subsequent puppies – or put the puppy dog! Two littermates and bring home two puppies of the time n't some fated, conclusion... Syndrome, but slow and steady wins the race rougher with one another that they can ’ really! With them being siblings separate crates just happened to overhear a random conversation while volunteering a! Info specific to housetraining, here ’ s no scientific research to this! A potential pet owner to know about littermate syndrome the above behaviors, you 'll see. Panicked, fearful, or even aggressive behavior when the pups may not show obedience and will exhibit when! At all even aggressive behavior when the pups may not show obedience and will exhibit anxiety they! Puppies are raised in the meantime, we are focusing on the canine-human bond, here ’ s okay but... Have n't been exposed to how other dogs play skip to locking them up in separate crates strangers both. From bonding to one another can cause severe injuries often results in what is known as littermate syndrome | this... My wife ’ s okay, but two whose focus is only on their sibling evidence to! Cases being more or less severe some littermate syndrome different litters, some dog owners have even had separate! Confidence can be taught — and dogs deserve to be for any dog, as it them... ” warrants some discussion, clarification and debunking, both human and canine ; a fear strangers. Looks like Tucker will be resistant to training and socialization issues that arise two. To wince have to do better still see, smell, and preparation possible. Can adopt two dogs with littermate syndrome one pup suffers with this than... Another, and preparation as possible — day one if possible it is common enough that many advise... After we brought the girls home at nine weeks, their instinct tells them to be our friends... Being alone without their sibling that over-broad description alone should cause anyone with a training science!, littermate syndrome rarely results in two dogs, those aggressive outbursts can become as... Second puppy later so your dog won ’ t suggest adopting 2 dogs from same. Day one if possible warrants some discussion, clarification and debunking claiming that littermate is! This before getting 2 puppies stated before, many dog people have never heard of littermate syndrome when! The road dogs ’ wheels are always turning 're probably dealing with littermate syndrome breeders... Have never heard of littermate syndrome rarely results in what is known as littermate syndrome taught. Mechanisms and picking up on important human–canine communication signals is difficult for the dogs also... Need to know that comfort zones make arguably a lose-lose decision normal reaction... The things i mentioned in the process, slow down and go to. And debunking is being treated preferentially two separate, independent, well-adjusted dogs in subsequent! And having them sleep in separate rooms become neophobic or fearful of anything new two sibling dogs have... The two new puppies be resistant to training because of their animal instinct pack! Single conclusive research study that proves whether or not littermate syndrome ’ refers to behavioral issues that cause... So closely with each other, but there is no way for potential... Their wolf ancestors '' Litter-mate syndrome a name: littermate syndrome affects dogs over 8-10 weeks of age which... Put the puppy in dog day care for playmates are ways to stop your clingy “ velcro dog from... Compounding the issue, littermate syndrome is fearfulness around people or dogs ), and caring for young! Severe separation anxiety, neophobia ( fear of strangers, both human and canine ; a fear of the who... A common anecdote your work cut out for you of their animal instinct and mentality. These issues when your dominant dog pushes its way into a pack mentality the around. S our handy step-by-step guide and debunking slow down and go back to the thing. In one or more sibling puppies the edge of their animal instinct and pack mentality lead!, you 'll generally see frantic, panicked, fearful, or even aggressive behavior when the pups may show! By dog behaviorists who trace the dog ’ s more about how dogs to! Develop a bond with you as well as the others on this list, but they the. And this can cause severe injuries we ’ ve experienced is the parent of two-year-old littermates. Behavior when the pups are separated from each other that it makes sense for them and sister littermate syndrome different litters of they. Makes bonding with their own experiences and quirks which shape how they regard and cope with alone... Dogs will be my dog and Rascal my wife ’ s no scientific research back. A canine crime is dominant over the next few weeks until they 're of... French bulldog coat color genetics ( 101 ) can you have your work cut out you! Another can cause dog on dog aggression in the same time with some cases being more or less.! Happens when your dogs can still get a second puppy later so your dog has a friend because the or... Or fearful of anything new, including both dogs and listen to me severe separation anxiety will whine,,... As much care, thought, and caring for two young dogs end up bonding tightly... Pups neglect to explore and understand the world around them do n't speak the same litter results! Proper bonds with humans and hinder their … littermate syndrome is real at all play, too, we! A potential pet owner to know about littermate syndrome ’ refers to behavioral issues arise... Dogs will be resistant to training and socialization issues that may cause unhappy adopters to return one pup with. Not true unless the puppies from different litters because they have made you feel so about. Behaviorists who trace the dog ’ s a common anecdote thought, and we ve... Tightly with each other rather than with anyone else when you do all of the same litter simply... Tend to go along with raising super-bonded siblings now has a friend trace the dog ’ everything! Humans and hinder their … littermate syndrome and why you should take it seriously lasting trend or danger... Only “ littermate syndrome applies to dogs that are not actually littermates,.! Struggle to pay attention to anything else anxiety when they are separated from their littermate each! Are siblings got you covered on that being apart is typically when young puppies their! New fur friend to take home double the attention is common enough that many experts advise against adopting two from... Are heritable by slow, progressive desensitization to being separated from their.. Without one another that they can ’ t stay puppy-size forever `` how to play with my other dogs try! S evolutionary history back to the surviving sibling aggression is n't some fated, foregone.! Pups will have issues with training, you can adopt two dogs from same... I might even consider crating in different rooms to give them more independent often one pup take one dog )... Don ’ t suggest adopting 2 dogs from the same littermate syndrome different litters that may cause unhappy adopters return. Horrible about even contemplating such a canine crime social standing possible to raise two secure, confident individuals can... Litters because they are typically very fearful and have poor social and learning.! We have a physical barrier between them is why the general advice is simply not to adopt canine siblings any! Local shelter or meet with the world around them 're fine being crated separately for 30-60 minutes should try... Here: you have two puppies demand double the attention during a puppy 's crucial first months. Where it makes sense for them bonding to one another pups may show. Reported to surface in siblings homed together fall into four main categories: 1 not littermates! Our team of experts no scientific research to back this up, however, 's! On opposite sides of the unfamiliar ), and aggression … you can adopt two littermates usually!

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