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What Is Littermate Syndrome? How To Forestall and Deal with It

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You have been so thrilled to get two cute puppies from the identical litter.

However now they’re starting to have some habits issues. So that you marvel what occurred.

Otherwise you’re occupied with getting two younger puppies on the similar time and marvel if it’s advisable. 

On this article, I’ll describe what littermate syndrome is and what you are able to do to forestall or handle it.

Contents & Fast Navigation

What Is Littermate Syndrome?

Littermate syndrome describes what happens when two puppies who’re raised collectively bond an excessive amount of to one another. This will likely sound nice at first, but it surely isn’t. 

They are going to bond to one another greater than they bond with you. 

As a result of the puppies bond so significantly with one another, they turn into so depending on one another that, when separated, they expertise excessive stress and nervousness.

The 2 puppies don’t must be from the identical litter. Littermate syndrome also can happen for those who get two puppies which can be close to in age, akin to inside about six months of one another.

Though littermate syndrome doesn’t at all times happen, it may possibly. 

Behavioral Points that Might Develop Due to Littermate Syndrome

As a result of two puppies with littermate syndrome over-bond, they don’t undergo regular puppyhood growth phases and will have behavioral issues

Puppies experiencing littermate syndrome usually lack social abilities as a result of an proprietor could consider that they’re taking part in and residing collectively is the one socialization they want. Nothing could possibly be farther from the reality. 

Every must develop as a person to flourish. Puppies with littermate syndrome could endure from the next behavioral issues:

  • Worry of individuals and different canines, which might probably result in aggression
  • Excessive separation nervousness
  • Crating points
  • Points when encountering new conditions when with out the opposite pet
  • Leash reactivity
  • A better incidence of the 2 puppies preventing as in comparison with non-siblings being raised collectively

The problems usually aren’t skilled immediately. They develop over time and may intensify when the puppies attain social maturity.

Begin every pet out on the suitable paw.

Indicators {that a} Pet is Anxious or Confused

There are lots of indicators {that a} pet is confused. These embrace:

  • Yawning when not drained
  • Vocalization (whining, barking, howling, whimpering)
  • Resisting getting into the crate if already crate educated
  • Panicking and attempting to achieve the opposite pet
  • Salivating and drooling
  • Panting
  • Lip licking
  • Trembling and shivering
  • Fidgeting or pacing
  • Tense physique language
  • Chewing or licking self
  • Vomiting
  • Inappropriate urination or defecation’
  • Diarrhea
  • Damaging habits

How To Forestall Littermate Syndrome

One of the simplest ways to forestall littermate syndrome is to not get two puppies on the similar time. 

Littermate syndrome could happen for those who get two puppies from the identical litter. However it could additionally happen for those who get two puppies inside about six months or extra of one another.

It’s exhausting sufficient to boost one pet due to their many wants, which embrace home coaching, crate coaching, train, obedience coaching, and socialization.

So assume lengthy and exhausting earlier than deciding to get two younger puppies collectively. 

After I bought my sheltie pet Amber from an awesome breeder, my husband needed to get one other pet from the identical litter. In any case, they have been cute. 

However cooler heads prevailed and we solely went house with Amber. 

The breeder knew how troublesome elevating two puppies is. And I additionally knew the potential issues that might develop and the huge quantity of labor it might be to efficiently elevate two puppies.

Typically, good, conscientious breeders, rescues, and shelters gained’t undertake two younger puppies out collectively to keep away from littermate syndrome.

How To Handle Littermate Syndrome

If you have already got two younger puppies, there are measures you may take to make the scenario work. However I gained’t child you, it’ll take a number of dedication in your half. 

You want for every pet to believe when separated from the opposite and that nice issues occur after they’re aside. Regularly get them used to being impartial. 

And also you additionally want to show them to have good habits after they’re collectively. 

Some puppies expertise littermate syndrome better than others. Typically one of many two puppies experiences extra stress and nervousness than the opposite does.

To assist keep away from or handle littermate syndrome, you are able to do the next:

Crate every individually. 

It’s essential to not crate them in the identical crate. As cute as they might look collectively, being collectively too usually will simply promote littermate syndrome to happen.

Begin with crates subsequent to one another, shifting them aside over time. 

It could take days and even weeks to maneuver the crates to reverse ends of a room and ultimately into separate rooms.

At first simply transfer them inches aside, then additional and additional aside over days or perhaps weeks with out stressing the puppies.

Set them up to achieve their crates. 

Train every pet earlier than getting into his crate in order that he’s much less prone to be concerned. And make the person crates an awesome place to be.

Put a frozen stuffed Kong that every will get solely when he’s within the crate. Practice every to like being alone in his crate.

Plan separate time alone with you. 

Take every pet in an space of your home away from the opposite pup. Make it a celebration to be with you and away from the opposite pet.

Play video games with particular toys. Give him particular treats. Have him fetch and play tug. You need every pet to see that you’re a lot of enjoyable to be with–much more enjoyable than being together with his brother or sister. 

You additionally wish to have some calm time with you. After the pet’s had a adequate quantity of train, have him chill out with you. Pet him and gently therapeutic massage his again. Reward and reward calm habits.

PRO-TRAINER TIP: Have a provide of nice, yummy treats that your pet can’t resist prepared as a reward. They need to be small, no bigger than a pea. At all times have your reward treats prepared earlier than giving your obedience cue. Utilizing a particular deal with akin to small items of cheese or boiled, deboned hen may also help a canine have a optimistic affiliation with one thing.

Plan separate outings with every pet.

Make it possible for every pet is taken out on walks and to new locations to socialize and train them individually.

Generally take every completely individually the place the opposite isn’t even conscious of his sibling’s journey. 

Have them greet new individuals and pleasant canines when alone. You can provide the individuals particular, high-value treats that you just present for them to provide to the pup. It’s essential that every sees individuals as welcoming beings. 

On some outings, take the puppies along with separate handlers, ultimately separating and taking totally different routes from one another. 

After all, you may stroll them collectively typically and take them locations collectively often. However on most outings, take them individually.

Get them used to a automobile trip individually. 

Every must study to like to journey alone. In the event that they’re at all times taken collectively, they might have automobile nervousness after they’re aside.

Practice them individually. 

Train every pet all essential coaching instructions throughout classes after they’re aside. Every ought to study to concentrate, stroll on a free leash, come reliably, sit, down, keep, depart it, and drop it. 

After every has discovered these habits cues individually, you are able to do some coaching classes with the puppies collectively. However nonetheless proceed to do some each day coaching classes after they’re aside.

Feed them individually. 

You need them to be impartial and never attempt to take one another’s meals–or probably guard their meals as they enter social maturity. And have a feeding schedule.

Home practice every individually. 

Take every out individually when educating them to potty. In any other case, they might study to go to the toilet solely when the opposite is current.

And that may result in avoidable accidents as a result of they might want to go to the toilet even when separated. 

Groom every individually. 

Getting a pet used to dealing with and grooming is essential. However with two puppies, you need every to believe and settle for–and even get pleasure from–being groomed after they’re aside. 

Have a routine schedule. 

Canine are creatures of behavior and do nicely with a schedule. So plan their feeding, crating, train, socialization, and coaching. This may assist every canine believe in his world.

Use holistic aids. 

For something they may ingest, first examine together with your vet if it’s alright for them to take the help. There are lots of holistic aids that you need to use to assist a canine really feel much less nervousness.

There are calming tabs, CBD oil, and Rescue Treatment

There’s additionally a product referred to as Adaptil, which mimics a canine mom’s pheromones and is available in a collar, spray (for objects, not on the canine), and a plug-in for the house. You too can strive the ThunderShirt, which is sort of a hug and, when launched correctly, may also help alleviate a canine’s nervousness.

Play calming music. 

Calming sound may also help reduce a canine’s nervousness. There’s even a product referred to as By means of a Canine’s Ear that was developed to assist alleviate a canine’s stress.

Stay calm. 

Canine learn our physique language, tone, and odor. So if we’re confused, they’ll feed off of that. I do know that it’s simpler stated than finished once you see that your pet is anxious.

But when your physique language isn’t confused and you employ a peaceful tone of voice, it’ll assist your pup additionally stay serene.

Get skilled assist.

Littermate syndrome can result in some extreme behavioral points. I counsel that individuals get any help wanted sooner moderately than later.

When you’ve tried the above strategies and your puppies are nonetheless confused, get assist from a certified optimistic reinforcement coach or behaviorist who has efficiently handled puppies with littermate syndrome.

Rehome one of many puppies. 

If the puppies aren’t making progress being aside, it’s usually finest to rehome one. I notice how troublesome this may be since you’re hooked up to each.

However, for their very own good and in order that they don’t develop behavioral points, it’s finest that they develop to their full potential aside.

What NOT To Do: Don’t Attempt This at House

There are specific actions that you just shouldn’t take when working by means of the littermate syndrome problem. Doing so gained’t assist the problem–and will even do a number of hurt.

Don’t transfer too shortly in separating the puppies. 

After all, it’s best to make fixed progress. However pushing them too far too quick could make them anxious and panicked.

So, for instance, when separating their crates to totally different areas of your home, transfer every aside slowly.

Don’t simply transfer a crate to a different room with out first shifting the crates aside over days or perhaps weeks whereas in the identical room at first.

Don’t appropriate them for his or her nervousness. 

If one or each appear confused, don’t appropriate them verbally or bodily. Doing so will inevitably make the matter worse and may even result in different behavioral points–together with aggression.

Don’t pressure them to socialize with new environments, individuals, or canines. 

When taking every out individually, don’t pressure the pet to work together with new individuals or canines. And don’t pressure them into scary environments. 

One of many puppies could also be extra outgoing than the opposite. Socialize every at his personal tempo. You need them to know that the world away from one another is a optimistic place that he needs to work together with.

And don’t take them to environments that may overwhelm them or be too disturbing, akin to a loud road if that bothers them. You need your pup to see the world as a optimistic place.


I’m occupied with adopting two younger puppies? Ought to I? 

Typically not. They might develop littermate syndrome wherein they bond too carefully to one another. If this happens, they aren’t prone to correctly bond with you or different canines or individuals.

And they’re going to develop behavioral points starting from stress, extreme separation nervousness, crating points, leash reactivity, and points when encountering new conditions.

It’s finest to get puppies a minimum of six months aside, the place you’ve educated one after which practice the opposite, after which practice them collectively. And get every used to being alone in separate crates and areas of your home.

I’ve adopted two puppies, they usually always cry after they’re aside. What ought to I do? 

You must slowly get them used to being aside. This implies coaching, pottying, crating, socializing, feeding, and strolling them individually the vast majority of the time.

Additionally spend some stress-free and taking part in with every individually. If the problem is extreme, get skilled assist from a behaviorist or optimistic reinforcement coach who has expertise with littermate syndrome.

I’m getting a lab pet. The breeder has two puppies left and can give me a reduction on every if I take each. Ought to I get each puppies? 

No! They might develop littermate syndrome wherein they over-bond to one another and never bond sufficiently with you and others.

They might additionally develop many behavioral points akin to: fearfulness of recent individuals, animals, and conditions; extreme separation nervousness; and leash reactivity.

Additionally, analysis any breeder that you could be get hold of a canine from to make sure that they carry out beneficial well being clearances on the breeding dad and mom and have expertise with the breed.

Closing Ideas

It’s finest to not get two puppies on the similar time. When two puppies of roughly the identical age are raised collectively, they might get littermate syndrome. 

Which means they may turn into too bonded with one another and will not bond as nicely with you as they in any other case would if alone. They’re additionally prone to develop behavioral points that you’ll have to cope with. 

Have you ever ever gotten two puppies on the similar time?

If that’s the case, did they develop littermate syndrome?

What did you do about it and was it profitable?Please inform us about it within the feedback part beneath. 

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What Is Littermate Syndrome? How To Forestall and Deal with It was final modified: March 14th, 2023 by Debbie DeSantis



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