Posts Tagged ‘separation anxiety’
Pet parent reasons for buying littermates;
1.They were so cute and I couldn’t resist or I could not decide on which one so bought two
2.The breeder suggested I take two
3.I feel guilty because I am away from the house at work and don’t want the puppy to be lonely
Most breeders will not sell an owner littermates no matter how much an owner begs and opens the almighty checkbook. If the breeder recommends you buy two littermates, run don’t walk from that person.
Responsible breeders may on a rare occasion consider selling two littermates to someone they know has the experience and knowledge to raise littermates correctly.
Most trainers, including myself discourage raising littermates or two pups together. They can become what some call “doggie” or develop what is classified as “littermate syndrome.” This is where the dogs rely on each other and do not bond as well with the owners as they become become overly dependent on each other. They can feed off of each other’s behavior, model both good and bad behavior and can develop severe attention seeking behaviors.
cDiane Rich 2012
The two dark pups are littermates and we first trained privately which proved successful. The barking issues, which started as attention seeking behavior stopped along with other problematic behaviors. Then, after graduating my private program, the owners wanted to attend one of my puppy classes together and I agreed assuming they were still applying the strategies outside of class. In this photo, one pup is hiding by one parent while the more confident one opts to socialize. Once class was over, I had heard that the more confident pup modeled the other pup’s insecurity and both became very fearful of other dogs. Sadly, the owners opted out of continuing strategies to help build the pup’s confidence and no longer separated the pups. The severe barking and anxiety returned with a vengence along with other behavioral problems.
cDiane Rich 2012
If owners of littermates or two young dogs do not take the time to bond and train each pup separately, the pups do not usually reach their full potential and their emotional growth can be stunted.
If the pups are always together, separation anxiety as mentioned above develops when they are separated. Something to think about; What happens if one dog needs to stay over at the Vet or is just sick and cannot be around the other dog?
cDiane Rich 2012
Should you opt for littermates it is best to get one male one female and supervise interactions. If you buy two like genders, then you must step up to the plate and make sure you supervise interactions to address any fights as they mature through adolescence.
To raise littermates properly takes time. Unfortunately, the guilt of an owner’s lack of time is one reason why many well meaning pet parents get two in the first place. Keep in mind, that it is important to fulfill a dog’s needs.
For the first 12 months in raising littermates, I strongly recommend
2.Separate food bowls, feed separately so each dog can relax and finish their bowl of food
3.Train one at a time and train together so each puppy listens to you when alone or together. If you choose classes over private training, it is best to take them to different classes
4. Play with each pup separately. They need 1:1 interaction with their human.
5. Exercise/walk one at a time. They can certainly play together with supervision and best to allow this after exercise.
6. Socialize each pup separately with other dogs. You will notice one dog will be the more assertive one and the other pup will defer to that leader.
These suggestions are very time consuming but think of the guilt you will feel if after not doing what is right by the dogs, they cannot do well together or separately and you may have to consider rehoming one of them?
After a good 12 months of 1:1 bonding time, 1:1 training, separate outings, supervised play time, training the pups together, socializing the pups with other dogs separately, living harmoniously with littermates may be attainable. You then, hopefully have created two secure, confident dogs. Should you choose to still buy littermates I sincerely wish you the best of luck and hope it works out well.
Supervision during play is suggested through a dog’s adolescence and in some cases for life.