Especially among siblings of the same sex, fights can become severe, even dangerous, as they reach maturity. Brothers often play hard and fight harder. Because many sibling puppies only socialize with each other, they may develop aggression or fear towards other dogs. Why is raising littermates so much more difficult? How do you prevent your dogs from fighting each other? There are many obstacles to raising littermates and most people don't have the time or even know the potential problems.
I get several calls a week, sometimes a day, from people who ask me how to prevent dogs from fighting at home. It's absolutely possible to raise two puppies and have healthy and happy dogs if you do it right. It's important to know that even though they get along well as puppies, when they enter adolescence it's very likely that even best friends will fight. Dogs don't have to be from the same litter to look like siblings.
Sibling rivalry can develop between dogs that are several weeks or months apart. Sometimes, littermate syndrome can take the form of non-stop fighting between dogs. Since childhood, the two puppies have formed a very strong bond, learning and feeding on the emotions of others. Training two littermates is not just a matter of duplicating the work, but also the level of difficulty that results from puppies constantly distracting each other.
I've had all the problems you've said with a couple of husky mixes I took, at first I took one and she was a great puppy, then I ended up with a second one from the same litter. Another solution if you must have two puppies? Consider adopting unrelated puppies a few weeks or months apart, Graddy suggests. Placing two puppies in the same household always made at least one puppy temperamentally unfit for the job, even when both puppies started out as perfect candidates. Trisha, it is interesting that you say that the relative ease of littermate puppies may be affected by whether there are other dogs in the home.
Puppies with littermate syndrome only interact with each other and become highly dependent on each other for a sense of security and normalcy. Especially in delicate breeds such as Danes, there is a possibility that a person who adopts puppies from the same litter will not suffer one case of genetically related health problems, but two. I suppose one of the biggest concerns (aside from the risk of preparing for genetic health bombs) that I have about the practice of raising littermates has to do with the commitment to raise puppies in the first place. Professional trainers recommend not having two puppies six months apart, because the risks are too high.
If you have misbehaved sibling puppies (or are thinking of training two puppies from the same litter together), keep reading to learn everything you need to know about littermate syndrome in dogs. I had two Yorkies from the same litter and it was a great experience, they had some problems when they were little, but they grew up.