When a decision to adopt a puppy is made, it is natural to desire to adopt two puppies at once. Training two puppies together might well seem to be an easy job as compared to training them one after the other. However, being a responsible dog owner, there is something that you should be aware of. That is Littermate Syndrome.
When people adopt two puppies together, many a time, it is seen what they thought should have happened; exactly happened the opposite. They might have thought that the training process will be easy and fast, and the two pups would get along well together, and so on. Understandably, you would not want to separate the siblings and thus desire to bring both homes.
However, the bitter truth is that there are reasons why it is highly advisable not to get two puppies from the same litter. Bringing up two puppies might be quite a challenge for dog owners, as they belong to the same litter. Therefore, they might start showing behavioral issues commonly known as Littermate Syndrome.
When people adopt two puppies, what they thought should have happened, exactly the opposite happens. They might have thought that the training process will be easier and faster, and the two pups would get along well together, and so on.
Although it is much understandable that you would not want to separate the siblings and have the desire to bring both homes, the bitter truth is that there are reasons why it is highly advisable not to get two puppies from the same litter.
Bringing up two puppies might be quite a challenge for dog owners, as they belong to the same litter, they might start showing behavioral issues commonly known as Littermate Syndrome.
Do dogs recognize their siblings?
It is a common question that comes to mind among all dog owners. Do we seldom think that do dogs recognize their siblings? Well, the answer to that is Yes. Since their birth, they recognize their siblings through their sense of smell. To add to it, this sense of recognition is the strongest when they are in the puppy stage.
When two pups get adopted by different families, they tend to forget the smell of their siblings after a period.
When dogs belonging to the same litter live together under the same roof, they recognize each other odor even when they are grown up. Just as in the case of we humans, puppies belonging to the same litter can gel with one another from the beginning. Although the bonding might be tricky, it can strengthen or weaken over time.
The prime reason for the bond weakening and eventual misbehavior in puppies is Littermate Syndrome. The puppies with littermate syndrome will never bond well with their siblings and keep misbehaving. Now that the primary cause of littermate syndrome is explained, it is time to understand what littermate syndrome is.
What is Littermate Syndrome?
Littermate syndrome can also be known as littermate aggression or sibling aggression. It is a non-scientific term used to refer to the collection of behavior problems that have been observed in the case of pups if they are brought into the same house when they are 8 to 10 weeks old.
As mentioned before, the primary meaning of littermate syndrome is behavioral issues occurring in puppies when they belong to the same litter and are adopted by one family. The puppies tend to develop strong attachments to their siblings. The attachment gets strong enough to minimize the dog’s ability to interact with humans or other dogs.
Slowly, the dogs fail to understand what their owner tries to convey. In other words, they start losing the ability to follow commands. They become so dependent on one another. Hence, they do not know how to behave or respond when they are not together.
The prime cause is littermates bond strongly with one another. And, it is this deep bonding that acts as a barrier for them in understanding their owner or dogs of other litters. An intense level of bond develops between the two pups. Hence, that makes it impossible for the pups to reach their optimum level of good behavior. Puppies that suffer from littermate syndrome refrain from interacting with other dogs. They only interact with their sibling and become over-dependent on each other for normalcy and safety.
Littermate syndrome is not restricted to one or a few dog breeds. It can happen to a pup from any dog breed. Surprisingly, it can happen between unrelated puppies too. For instance, pups who do not belong to the same litter. If the pups get adopted, their ages are the same and raised in the same house.
With pups suffering from littermate syndrome, either one of the pups will be shy. It happens even if they were initially outgoing as well as bold. It is indeed an issue. The shy puppy will not be able to ever reach its full potential in training and behavior. However, every story has a positive side. Not all pups raised in pairs develop littermate syndrome.
If the dog owners make extra effort to use specialized training methods, these symptoms of littermate syndrome can be averted.
A usual and recognizable symptom is pups getting scared of other dogs, people, or any unknown stimuli. Puppies of this kind show severe high levels of fear when separated from each other, even for a short period. Puppies with this syndrome will never reach their full potential in following instructions and compliance skills.
Various situations arise wherein the puppies always get into fight mode. Even this, as per experts, is an indication of littermate syndrome. Having said this, proper consultation with the doctors and investing your hours and energy in specialized training will protect your dog from this syndrome.