Litter mate Syndrome
Litter mate syndrome is a word used when someone purchases two puppies from same litter, and has a problem. Or you may of brought similar age and bring them up together. It may be a breeder has two different litters and you have brought one from each litter, or it could be the same litter and two puppies purchased. Or it can even be if you buy one from one breeder and another from another.
Lots of people think if they purchase from two separate breeders this will stop litter mate syndrome. But it does not.
It sure looks cute when you see a litter together and those adoring eyes look up at you, we could easily cope with two you may say to your partner. Surely he/she would love a big brother/sister to live with. This is humans talking with emotion. But dogs do not need to live with its sibling.
The amount of people who say to me they wish they could have the whole litter. I can not tell you how hard work that a litter of 8 weeks old Hungarian Vizsla puppies are. They need their new life.
The training is so difficult when you have two but the behavioural issues which can show themselves can be too much to cope with later on.
We get asked all the time would we please sell two Vizsla puppies together, and my usual response is it will be your worst nightmare. Some people take offence that we wont sell two together.
So what type of behavioural issues are seen?
- Bully behaviour
- Cowardly behaviour
- Separation anxiety
- Will not listen to basic commands.
- Poor training skills.
When you own two puppies they will focus on each other constantly, to the exclusion of listening to you. They will do everything with each other, which can cause huge problems when separated as they can not cope with life on their own.
When puppies are separated from their siblings at 8 weeks it is for a good reason because they are at the start of their new life with owners, and they are ready to start learning, bonding with you. Dog training begins. Good breeders will of laid a base of social skills but now you need to extent those by going out and showing your puppy the world.
Puppies that stay together longer than 8 weeks can suddenly start inwardly fighting, which can cause issues later in life, but if you buy two together your taking that problem with you. One becomes a bully and the other a coward.
The separating of the litter is a shock yes but they now need socialisation thats required by itself. If you have two it becomes too much bother to go out to classes, then they lack social skills as they are going to bond with each other instead of learning boundaries with new dogs.
The two become so dependant on each other separation anxiety and distress can manifest quickly. Training can be impossible. You may well go to training class and two of you go, but the dogs will be pulling to get to each other all during the session, crying, screaming as they can not be apart. You will go to do a basic command and the dog will immediately run to its sibling. They will focus on each other so much that they do not want to play with other breeds of dogs, which is defeating the object of training. Then your dog can suddenly be aggressive if a strange dog comes up to the pair.
Lead walking is impossible as they are weaving in and out of each other the whole time. They may even attack new dogs in the park.
When dogs grow and mature you will find a new set of problems that could occur such as dominance. One dog may become more dominant over the other, the one will could have aggression, and constant fighting can happen. This happens from approximately 8 months of age to 14 months when hormones are changing and the dog is becoming an adult.
You may be reading this and have just brought two puppies. You may suddenly realised this is not what you wanted at all. So what suggestions can we give to help.
Firstly think do you want to let one of them go to a new home? If no then here are some tips.
- Walk the dogs separately in the park/lanes etc.
- Join up to 2 training classes and take one dog to the one class, and the other dog to the next one.
- If your breed is hairy and needs grooming, do two separate days for the dogs grooming sessions. Being a groomer I can tell you it makes life easier if the dogs are happier coming apart from each other. Other wise they will scream to get to each other.
- Have play sessions in the garden singularly with each dog. Put the other dog in a part of the house they can not see other wise they could scream the whole session.
- Try and teach the puppies to sleep separately from each other. Two crates in two different rooms.
- Feed the dogs separately to each other, so that one doesnt bully the other and steal its dinner. As suddenly you find one dog is getting thin and the other is fat.
It is with out a doubt time consuming having two puppies from the same litter. You never know who has messed in the house, it is harder to house train. Because one has messed on the floor, the other will follow making it even harder still.
The ideal way to own two dogs together is to purchase one, then another after you have finished training the other, with some room to breathe ha ha.
Good luck 😀
From Rachel Savage