Because the singleton puppy has no other littermates, it will bond strongly and bond with humans, but a lack of socialization with other puppies can lead to future problems when it must relate to other dogs. The puppy will not learn the basics of the dog's social language and the important basics of bite inhibition. Since I had never raised a litter before, the decision to raise Rosie was not a decision we made lightly. We had been told repeatedly that, since she was such a wonderful Rottweiler, in health, temperament and ability to work, it would be good to “give back to the breed by allowing it to contribute to the gene pool”.
We took things slow and had their race evaluated, hip and elbow scores, tested their fitness and acquired a V1 rating in the exhibition ring. We chose a companion for her with care: an 8-year-old dog who had never had any significant health problems, still had energy and was in excellent condition as an “older dog” and had a very sweet temper (the most serious breeders approved him as a good match for Rosie from the point of view of the conformation and the aesthetics of seeing). Although rare, these singleton puppies, as they are colloquially known, have unique care needs. Without the opportunity to interact with their litter mates during the first few months of their lives, these puppies can develop a number of behavioral problems.
If you find out soon about a single puppy, any time before the puppy heads to their new home, there are things that can be done. Make sure you work on teaching bite inhibition early and often, and handle your puppy a lot to avoid problems with touch sensitivity. Any gentle and regular manipulation is likely to help. Push the puppy out of the nipple once or twice after feeding to get used to interruptions and handle the resulting frustration.
Have the puppy spend a lot of time with puppies of the same age and as soon as possible. Typical problems in singletons are lack of bite inhibition, inability to calmly and gracefully get out of problems, inability to dissipate social tension, inability to manage frustration, lack of social skills, lack of impulse control, and sensitivity to touch. I knew all the stories about “singleton syndrome” and the reality of being in front of a puppy who would most likely have serious emotional and behavioral difficulties due to the lack of opportunities for normal social interaction with littermates during the most formative period of his life, was simply devastating in the face of all the dreams I had and the plans I had made. Spending a lot of time with another litter allows a single puppy to have a more typical or normal experience when they are a young puppy.
The adorable puppy game, which is so pleasant to watch, is anything but frivolous and carefree behavior: it provides puppies with the basis for normal and healthy social behavior as adults in many contexts and is a fundamental part of a puppy's development and education. If you find out that your dog is a single puppy early, any time before the puppy heads to your house, there are things you can do. Along with lack of bite inhibition, typical problems in singletons include not being able to calmly and gracefully get out of problems, inability to spread social tension, inability to manage frustration, lack of social cues and skills, lack of impulse control, and sensitivity to touch. Puppies crawl on top of each other and are used to the heat, contact, interruptions, and movement that result from being in a pile of dogs.
As a proud owner of a new pet, you may or may not be aware of your pup's start as a single. The problems that singleton puppies are prone to have are the result of not having been raised in this traditional litter environment. However, by looking at their behavior, you may notice some of the common problems that single puppies may encounter. Puppies learn a lot from their littermates in the first few months of life, and if they don't have any littermates, their mother can't teach them much.
Most veterinarians said a singleton was not a bigger, stronger, or smarter puppy than others of the same breed when larger litters were produced. Others said that singleton puppies weren't problem puppies until they started to realize their environment. Therefore, if you encounter a unique puppy, work on teaching bite inhibition from the start, handle the puppy frequently to discourage touch sensitivity, help the puppy experience interruptions and frustrations, and most importantly, encourage the puppy to spend time with other puppies in the same age as much and as soon as possible in those first 12 weeks. .