What is littermate syndrome? Why this puppy bond can be a problem

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What&#8217s far better than bringing one particular dog house? Two — or so you could possibly feel. Welcoming two puppies at the exact same time can seem cute in idea, specially if they&#8217re from the exact same litter. The two puppies previously understood a single another and ended up perhaps born inside of seconds of just one an additional. Siblings increasing up jointly, what could be extra enjoyment?

Nevertheless, most animal behavioral specialists suggest versus obtaining two puppies on the similar working day (or inside six months). They&#8217re not attempting to rain on your puppy dog parade. Alternatively, professionals warn in opposition to the probability of littermate syndrome. What is littermate syndrome, and why can it be so nerve-racking? Permit&#8217s examine. We&#8217ll also work by means of methods to take care of littermate syndrome if your pets presently have the problem.

What is littermate syndrome?

Three young puppies on grass
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Littermate syndrome is a established of behavioral troubles that are most typical in pets of the exact same litter. Even so, the dilemma can occur in animals that are close in age and from independent litters. Littermate syndrome occurs when two puppies are as well closely bonded.

Though two puppies who enjoy 1 a further so considerably seems sweet, littermate syndrome can have a ripple influence, creating extra harmful behaviors that aren&#8217t great for pets (or people today), like anxiousness and worry. When puppies are elevated alongside one another right immediately after weaning, they can form this sort of a tight-knit bond that they can&#8217t stand separation.

This connection develops for the duration of the important dog socialization period of time of 3 to 12 months. All through this phase, puppies start off the weaning course of action. As they grow to be far more unbiased from their moms, they get to know the species that will come to be a source of lifelong companionship: humans. In the course of this time, they start off to discover what results in beneficial and unfavorable reactions. A nuzzle versus a leg may well earn a pet a superior ear scratch. Chewing a toss pillow? Not so significantly.

Pets with littermate syndrome don&#8217t glance to humans for validation and affection. Instead, they appear to just one a different. In other phrases, they have designed a co-dependence. Regretably, this inclination can guide puppies to feed off every other&#8217s fear responses to new stimuli (and anything is new when you convey a dog property). Also, puppies gained&#8217t always be alongside one another, even in the identical household. You may perhaps require to acquire one to the vet or want distinctive time with a pet. Pet dogs with littermate syndrome can display even additional detrimental behaviors when separated.

Indications of littermate syndrome contain:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Dread of everything new (men and women, objects, animals, or activities)
  • Panic-centered aggression, like barking or biting, prompted by perceived threats
  • Leash reactivity
  • Increased fighting at 6 months previous when sexual maturity is attained
  • Timid habits in the extra submissive pup

These signs often look immediately after some time. Littermate syndrome can very first current at 6 months aged.

What to do about littermate syndrome

Two huskies play fighting
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Littermate syndrome can be a substantial hurdle to overcome and is a lengthy course of action. Pet dad and mom will have to perform with each and every doggy individually and alongside one another, and professional assistance is likely desired.

Protect against littermate syndrome

Your ideal wager is to steer clear of littermate syndrome in the initially place. Conserve you the trouble by resisting the (valid) urge to consider in two puppies at the same time or in six months of 1 an additional. Socialize the new puppy by bringing them to meet new persons and other animals. Sign the puppy up for obedience coaching courses so they can understand primary instructions.

Then, when that 6-thirty day period mark has appear and absent, talk to on your own if you even now sense up for owning an additional pup in the property. If your answer is a resounding sure, convey your current pet for meet and greets with possible puppies and opt for a person you each appreciate. Talking with a breeder or member of the shelter team about your existing pet&#8217s age and behaviors can also enable be certain now is the suitable time for (one more) new pup.

Crate instruction

From the get-go, ensure canine have different crates. Steer clear of crating canines with each other — this tactic only exacerbates the sturdy but unhealthy link concerned in littermate syndrome. You can hold the crates up coming to one a further at to start with. Even so, step by step transfer them further more aside as time passes so your animals get employed to possessing much more personal area.


Coach the pet dogs out of sight of just one another to establish different human-canine bonds with every pup. You want the canine to seem to you — not their canine companion — for assurance and commands. Education ought to also include things like different socialization. Convey each and every pet all over new stimuli, like the park, separately.

Once you experience different training sessions and park trips are continually heading nicely, you can stage back in jointly times. For occasion, convey animals to the park, but ensure just about every a person has their have human. Spend time going for walks in reverse instructions. Check out their reactions. Are they pressured? Ok? That&#8217ll help you gauge how they&#8217re healing from littermate syndrome.

Final views on littermate syndrome

A picture of two Biewer terriers puppies playing tug of war with a rope toy
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Two canine with an unbreakable bond can audio incredible. Even so, littermate syndrome is nearly anything but. Littermate syndrome is a actions that prompts two puppies from the identical litter or near in age to turn into co-dependent. They seem to a person an additional for assurance, which can essentially cause panic and stress.

Aggression and separation panic are widespread in dogs with littermate syndrome. Your finest guess is to keep away from littermate syndrome by not bringing home two puppies at once. Alternatively, wait 6 months (at least). If your pets have littermate syndrome, performing with a trainer to get your puppies utilized to everyday living without just one an additional (even if you strategy to preserve both equally) can be daily life-transforming for everyone.