littermate syndrome unrelated puppies
As your puppies adjust to their new normal, use treats and praise as rewards for staying calm when they’re apart, says Collier. âDora has blossomed in the last three months into a delightful household companion, and she continues to improve. What cause me to do some reading about raising two pups was the fact they are starting to be more aggressive with each other and more dependant on each other. Although you should maintain separate training, play sessions, and walks with your pups, you’ll also want to make some time for them to play together to help your dogs get along, says Graddy. Lauren Krouse is a freelance writer and researcher. It may sound ideal when dogs are such … When she's not working or caring for animals, she can be found enjoying the outdoors or reading a good book. âItâs a disaster waiting to happen for the littermates because they donât get socialized to other dogs or people, let alone to their owners,â he said. While siblings blessed with extraordinary genes and socialization-forward owners may avoid littermate syndrome, the consensus among canine professionals is that itâs not worth the risk. So, when we closely examine what has traditionally been reported as “Littermate Syndrome”, we see that it is actually not an existing syndrome and there is no such entity. Sometimes this connection causes troubling behavioral issues known as littermate syndrome. âThey were so bonded to each other that I literally could not take one and walk a few feet away to practice loose-leash skills because the other would scream.â, Wilde believes the problems are rooted in hyper-attachment, which leads to hindered social development and communication issues. After one of the siblings had been rehomed, I received an email from the owner describing how the remaining puppy began to thrive under a remedial socialization program. An owner should know that preventing littermate syndrome doesn’t just double their workload, but rather triples it. When she’s not working on a story, you can find her walking in the woods with her partner and two rescue dogs, a black Lab named Forrest Gump and a Lhasa Apso mix named Abi. While there are indeed struggles in raising siblingsâincluding ongoing dog aggression and fighting often seen between same-gendered littermatesâ there are also well-adjusted cohabitating pairs. Difficulty with basic training. After we brought the girls home at nine weeks, their behavior became increasingly out of control. All Rights Reserved 2021. Littermate syndrome can take toll on a family, especially with kids. ", Cohabitating siblings may become so emotionally dependent on each other that even short separations provoke extreme distress. âItâs more than twice the work; itâs exponential. Try a joint game of fetch or alternating tug-of-war games with you, she suggests. 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. There are a lot of reasons why reputable breeders and reputable rescues will not sell or adopt two puppies to the same household. What’s more, you might think that training two puppies at the same time would be easier than adopting them one by one (and starting house training all over again!). In fact, many veterinarians recommend adopting kittens in pairs. This bond and the personality traits and training challenges associated, is littermate syndrome Another solution if you must have two puppies? Her primary medical interests are preventive medicine and client education. Two puppies being raised together were fighting. Littermate syndrome can affect dogs of any breed, and it may also affect unrelated puppies who are adopted at the same time and raised together. As University of California, Davis, veterinary behaviorist Dr. Melissa Bain points out, âTwo fearful littermates very well may be genetically predisposed to fear.â Bain is less inclined to apply the term syndrome to the set of symptoms. Is Littermate Syndrome Real? This can affect dogs of any breed and also unrelated puppies who are adopted and raised together. Bullying and aggression between siblings seems to happen more often than between unrelated dogs, and it can get nasty. Signs of littermate syndrome in dogs can include excessive crying, whining, and destructive behavior when siblings are separated from one another, as well as a lack of interest in playing or interacting with other people or pets in your household, says Collier. While adopting two Littermates is not often recommended, it can be done IF you know what you are getting into AND are willing to put in the time to prevent the “Littermate Syndrome”. This separate-but-equal arrangement is timeconsuming, exhausting and seems to defeat the original intent of acquiring siblings. Because dogs with littermate syndrome are so focused on each other, they may also bond less with their pet parents. It might seem more efficient, or easier to socialize and exercise two pups at once, but it rarely works out that way. Although it doesn’t happen between all siblings, over-bonding is a commonplace phenomenon and is termed “Littermate Syndrome.” It’s the reason shelters, responsible breeders, trainers, and others caution against adopting siblings. Littermate syndrome isn't limited to puppies from the same litter, says Aga. Copyright © 1997-2020 The Bark, Inc. Dog Is My Co-Pilot® is a registered trademark of The Bark, Inc. Littermate syndrome has potential downsides. If you have sibling pups that have been misbehaving (or you’re considering training two puppies from the same litter together), read on to learn everything you need to know about littermate syndrome in dogs. âA Dachshund mix named Thelma was returned to the shelter because her sibling repeatedly attacked her; she had multiple injuries by the time the heartbroken family returned her to us. Consider adopting unrelated puppies a few weeks or months apart, suggests Graddy. Great Pet Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. She loves writing about all things related to health, pets, fitness, politics, and activism. It seems harder to get their attention, harder to teach them emotional control and harder to teach them boundaries" she continues "I have seen some nasty cases of bullying or outright aggression between dogs of the same litter, and it feels as though it is more common than between dogs who come into the family from different litters. A quick Google search of “littermate syndrome” will yield a … The email described a familiar scenario: âWe were planning to adopt one puppy, but the breeder said that raising two sisters would be easier. One of the most common signs of littermate syndrome is fearfulness around people or dogs. We know she would still be fearful had we not separated the two before it got any worse. Because littermates are so focused on each other, it’s difficult for pet parents to get their attention. Littermate syndrome makes training two puppies from the same litter especially difficult, says Graddy. In fact, most trainers, myself included, do not recommend it for most dog owners. Tension develops in training and compliance as they squeeze the owner out of the relationship. Puppies with littermate syndrome become highly dependent on one another. Of course, many factors influence behavior, and not all siblings raised together will exhibit this problem, which is called âlittermate syndromeâ; itâs a risk, not a foregone conclusion. Littermate syndrome affects dogs over 8-10 weeks of age, which is typically when young puppies join their forever homes. Aggression between housemates is more common between littermates adopted together than unrelated dogs adopted at different times, says Graddy. Access our library of professional veterinarian resources. Dogs experiencing littermate syndrome may only want to eat if their sibling is present. Raising two puppies at once takes much, much more work. Littermate syndrome (not a scientific syndrome to my knowledge, but is supported by a lot of anecdotal evidence) is an umbrella term to cover a range of behavioural issues that are common when two puppies close in age are housed together past the usual 8-12 weeks when pups are typically separated from their mum & littermates. Cataract: Keeping Puppy Dog Eyes Clear and Bright, How to Help With Separation Anxiety in Dogs, 8 Things We Do That Really Confuse Our Dogs. Socialize them each with other dogs. I will say I have had dog trainer friends raise littermates together without an issue on multiple occasions, so it can be done. This fearfulness can occur when the puppies are together or separated from each other. Raising a puppy takes a lot of time and energy, regardless of how you go about it. A common thread seems to be that littermates are more likely to thrive when introduced into a household with an older dog, who perhaps acts as an arbiter and stabilizing influence. Anecdotal evidence suggests that behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two puppiesâ deep bond impedes their individual ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication. Over time, though, a dog only retains the ability to recognize a sibling if they live together. Those committed to raising a pair of littermates should ensure that the puppies spend significant portions of every day apart so each learns how to be aloneâa key lesson in any well-thought-out puppy program. However, when dogs experience littermate syndrome, these behaviors are linked to their relationship to their littermate. Puppies may avoid interactions with new people, dogs, or things; become very still and quiet when you approach them; or bark, growl, and snap when presented with new things or situations. This means feeding, walking and training each puppy separately, with individual crates in different parts of the home. Dunbar agrees that itâs often best to separate littermates, especially if symptoms appear early, so that each has a chance to develop normally as an individual. Even getting the puppies to sleep in separate crates right next to each other is traumatic for them.â. At first, puppies with littermate syndrome may seem like they’re acting out or in need of obedience training. ... 02 Littermate Syndrome. But I'd say more often than not it … During my appointment with the family, we determined that the best course was to rehome one of the 12-week-old siblings. Maybe getting two puppies at once sounds reasonable, but many dog trainers, breeders, and shelters say that it’s much better for everyone involved if you add just one puppy at a … “In order to help these pups develop appropriately, you have a lot of fun but time-consuming work in front of you for the next few months,” says Graddy. 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. Myriad factors affect dog behavior, including genetics, early life experiences and owner engagement. From the beginning, pups recognize their littermates primarily by scent and that recognition is strongest when they are young, says Dr. Karyn Collier, medical director for wellness medicine at Saint Francis Veterinary Center of South Jersey. Because puppies with littermate syndrome dominate each other’s attention, they may fail to learn how to communicate, play, and socialize with other dogs. Why? When you’re considering bringing a puppy home, the desire to adopt two at once is understandable. Littermate syndrome is when two puppies from the same litter are raised in the same home and develop a bond with each other. I've been doing some reading and came across "Littermate Syndrome". Let me first say that there is officially no such official thing as ‘Littermate Syndrome’. Even trips to puppy socials and the vet should be separate so they learn to incorporate these episodes into their respective psyches without being overly dependent on their littermate. She lives with her husband, daughter, three cats, one dog, and a pet dove. Breeds and Behavior: How Closely Are They Linked? Sign up for our newsletter and stay in the know. Over lunch, veterinarian and dog behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar and I discussed raising sibling dogs. This can make it harder for them to reach their full potential when it comes to good behavior, says Graddy. Littermate syndrome is the acquiring of two (2) puppies from the same litter that often leads to them becoming very aggressive to eachother down the road, placing family members in harms way. Period. If you’ve ever watched a litter of puppies at play, you’ve probably wondered: Do dogs know their siblings? However, preventing littermate syndrome can also be as simple as treating siblings as individuals from the moment they enter your home, says Collier. Gradually separate your dogs. After all, the thought of separating brothers and sisters from the same litter can tug at your heartstrings. A recent post in a Facebook group prompted me to write this. We bought two, 8 week old, Shih Tzu. It is not a useful, appropriate or accurate label to place on pairs of puppies who are afflicted with behaviour problems. Increasingly, however, trainers and behavior professionals recognize that the cons of adopting siblings far outweigh the pros. Don’t Take Two Puppies: Littermate Syndrome in Dogs | The Bark She now approaches people out of curiosity. Training two puppies from the same litter may take longer than expected because puppies are so distracted by one another. This does not mean the usual behavioural issues a puppy will normally have, but a jumble of behaviours including fear, anxiety and aggression. One thing that we should note is that you will want to be careful when your pups start fighting. Signs can include excessive crying, whining, and destructive behavior when siblings are separated. Raising sibling puppies successfully can be a challenge because puppies from the same litter may develop a cluster of behavioral issues known as littermate syndrome. If socialization with other dogs is important to you, you may also want to take them out for separate play sessions with other pups. Sign up for our newsletter to stay in-the-know. The condition develops when two young dogs end up bonding too tightly with each other. 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. As we mentioned previously, related pups tend to fight MORE than unrelated ones and these little tussles can get quite heated. Thankfully, we were able to rehome Thelma, but itâs almost certain the fighting and anxiety could have been avoided had the two littermates not been placed together. This is obviously a burdensome decision for the overwhelmed owner to make, a sort of canine Sophieâs Choice, so he recommends that potential new owners meet both puppies and determine which to take home. 'Littermate Syndrome' refers to any undesired behavior expressed by a pet (usually a dog) that was raised with another animal from its own litter. They can be much easier to raise with a playmate and two is not much more work than one, says Graddy. As a result, teaching puppies even basic skills becomes a greater challenge than it would be if you were training them one at a time. Jeff Stallings, CPDT-KA, who lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., owns Better Nature Dog Training and works with clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We now separate siblings and inform adopters about the rationale for our policy.â. High anxiety when separated from the other pup. âThe only advantage I can think of is a short-term gain of the puppies being less lonely in the first month of life,â says Dunbar. I have successfully raised two sets of littermates and have not witnessed or experienced littermate syndrome. âEverything else is a loss.â. may also affect unrelated puppies who are adopted at the same time and raised together But if you donât teach puppies early on how to be alone, and especially with siblings who have always been together, it will be catastrophic when one dies. But if you donât teach puppies early on how to be alone, and especially with siblings who have always been together, it will be catastrophic when one dies.â Dunbar encourages multiple dog householdsâ âI always like having three dogsââbut the timing, temperament and age that each enters the home is paramount. My husband and I could not get their attention for more than a second or twoâit was as if we werenât even in the same room. She currently splits her time between part-time clinical practice and freelance writing, as well as serving on her county Board of Health. “Littermate syndrome in dogs occurs when two puppies from the same litter living together develop such a strong attachment to each other that it interferes with their ability to interact in a normal manner with other people, other dogs, or any situation where they are not together,” says Collier. And then they started displaying alarming fearfulness of people and other dogs.â I made an appointment for a home visit so I could meet the family and the puppies. Win a LIFETIME SUPPLY of Interceptor® Plus(milbemycin oxime/praziquantel) Let our authors & experts know what you think. Here are a few signs of littermate syndrome in puppies and dogs to look out for: Fear of unfamiliar people, things, places, or noises. While raising sibling puppies successfully can be difficult, the key is to treat them as individuals. I also know many people have and are raising littermates that are happy, healthy, well-socialized dogs. As previously mentioned, littermate syndrome sometimes causes puppies to focus on the other puppy rather than the humans in the home. For these reasons, adopting two puppies at a time may mean more work, not less, for some pet parents. The term ‘littermate syndrome’ refers to behavioral issues that arise when two or more sibling puppies are raised together. It’s not a virus or disease – it’s a very real situation in which a dog owner brings home two puppies and doesn’t know how to manage their behavior. The key is to treat them as individuals, says Collier. Interceptor is a trademark of Elanco or its affiliates. To help avoid littermate syndrome or put a stop to dogs showing early signs of attachment, there are a few things you can do. The two combine to produce levels of energy that we can barely measure. Dora has become more confident with all kinds of dogs, and successfully completed a group obedience class.â, Recognition of the risks of dual adoption appears to be spreading, with many breeders and shelters declining to place siblings together. Unwillingness to eat alone. “While the amount of work will decrease after that time, it will be essential to continue separate training and play times with them throughout their first couple years and, in some cases, forever.”. âOnce weâve done that, yes, he can live with other dogs and have free run of the house. After two years of living apart, siblings adopted by different pet parents are no longer able to recognize each other (1). âThis uniformity makes it difficult for the siblings to delineate a hierarchy,â she said. Dr. Cathy Barnette is a small animal veterinarian with 13 years of clinical experience. 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Why reputable breeders and shelters discourage adopting siblings it got any worse join their forever homes a game... So it can get nasty fight incessantly brothers and sisters from the start, which typically... Our authors & experts know what you think specialized training methods as ‘ littermate syndrome become dependent... Training each puppy separately, with individual crates in different parts of the siblings!, appropriate or accurate label to place on pairs of puppies at a may! Often seen between same-gendered littermatesâ there are a lot of time and energy, regardless of you... Treat them as individuals two puppies at once, but it rarely works out way... And owner engagement syndrome '' sibling is present they linked, 8 week old, Shih Tzu in puppies to! Lifetime SUPPLY of Interceptor® Plus ( milbemycin oxime/praziquantel ) and a $ 500 SHOPPING SPREE at!! For animals, she enjoys meditating, weightlifting, and she continues to improve sell. ÂOnce weâve done that, yes, he can live with other and! On pairs of puppies at the same household brothers and sisters from the same time that are.. Of clinical experience, with individual crates in different parts of the.. Can often develop because the pups tend to fight more than unrelated ones and these little tussles can get.! ; itâs exponential a few weeks or months apart, suggests Graddy get nasty exposed to other..