When two puppies get together, they learn to trust each other. One of the puppies always becomes shy, even when both puppies started out being bold and outgoing. This is a HUGE problem, as it means that the shy puppy never reaches its potential. In fact, this was such a major problem that the guide dog experiment quickly stopped, and to this day Guide Dog Organizations only place one puppy at a time in puppy breeders' homes, even when households have a lot of experience.
Many people have heard of littermate syndrome, but what is it? Littermate syndrome is when a dog can show behavioral and physical changes in response to the presence or absence of other dogs. They can become clingy, depressed, hyperactive, fearful, withdrawn, and even aggressive. This blog will discuss if you are concerned that your puppy has this disorder. As we mentioned in our “Choosing a Puppy” article, littermate syndrome is a serious behavioral condition.
The condition develops when two young dogs end up getting too attached to each other. It may seem ideal when dogs are such close friends, but major problems can arise in the future. The problem is that their relationship with each other can prevent them from creating adequate links with humans and hinder their social development. As the name suggests, littermate syndrome usually exists in two puppies from the same litter, however, it can also occur when two puppies of a similar age are raised together.
Although littermate syndrome doesn't develop every time two puppies are raised together, it's common enough to warn against having two puppies at the same time. Professional trainers recommend not having two puppies six months apart, because the risks are too high. Professional trainers like me recommend not bringing home two puppies of the same age, let alone two from the same litter. This doesn't even take into account the other practical considerations, such as the increased costs of veterinary care, food, supplies, and training; the extra work of training and caring for two dogs; or the time needs of two active puppies.
Willing households received not one, but two puppies to breed, thus doubling the number of puppies the guide dog organization could work with. Another of the many actions you can take to reduce littermate syndrome is to give your puppies one-on-one training sessions. My brother and I (we live in the same house) adopted Rottweiler puppies named Bach and Beethoven (both males) and for the past few days, it seemed that they were having fun playing together until recently they started fighting hard, where both my brother and I were scared that one of them might get hurt. We had never heard of littermate syndrome and immediately the new dog joined one of the oldest dogs.
Littermate syndrome in dogs is a psychological phenomenon in which two puppies from the same litter are more likely to develop an unusually close bond. If you can't seem to overcome the obstacles of caring for two littermates, then you probably want to consider moving one of them to another location. While most young dogs that are bred separately from their litter will indulge in you and socialize with other members of the household, young puppies suffering from this symptom can often have the opposite reaction. Puppies need to spend more one-on-one time with their new owners than they have with each other, effectively doubling the work and denying any of the potential benefits (i.