Breeding Sibling Dogs Can Spell Trouble

We live in a fast-paced world. Waiting thirty seconds for a web page to load or three minutes for coffee to brew can seem like an eternity – there are always multiple tasks and projects that need to be done right now. Giving ourselves balance in this hectic, fast-paced life we ​​live in means that sometimes we just want something or someone who will always be there for us, will always love us, and will never have a day when they just don’t have time. for us Even when we’re busiest, people still bring puppies and adult dogs into our lives, and these new friends can be just what we need when life seems too hard or hectic.

But you are a sensitive adult, who cares deeply about little Sally. You can’t be home to her all the time and you don’t want her to be lonely. You are fully aware of your chaotic schedule and you are not kidding yourself about how much time you could spend with Sally each day. That’s why you not only brought Sally home, you also brought her sister, Molly. The decision made logical sense at the time. Molly and Sally already knew each other from the same litter. There was no need to introduce yourself, and you could keep each other company while you were away at work. In theory, it seemed perfect. But then you started noticing some behaviors that you didn’t like very much.

Does this sound like behaviors your dogs exhibit?
Instead of strengthening each other as they grow, they will become dependent on each other. You’ll see signs of Molly panicking when you take Sally to the vet without her, or even when you leave the room for a few minutes. Instead of two full dogs, Molly and Sally will grow up to be each “half dog”, completing each other and unable to function as individuals. The consequences go beyond limiting their mental and emotional growth. When dogs fail to fully grow mentally and are not allowed to gain independence and confidence, they can become destructive, fearful, or even aggressive. While Molly and Sally are bonding, this will also inhibit her ability to form the lasting bond she hopes for with you and the rest of her human family.

Once someone discovers that a potential problem is brewing, they do what anyone living in the information age does. They consult the Internet and start googling. Article after article written by trainers with several years of experience, describes in detail what you are likely to experience. Among the things that other owners of sisters, brothers or brother/sister puppies raised in the same household have or will experience:

• One is dominant; the other is shy
• Double aggression towards other dogs
• Inseparable, although seemingly neurotic relationship consisting of dominance and submission
• Antagonism on the part of the submissive, which appears to be unprovoked aggression on the part of the dominant

The condition that Molly and Sally experience is called litter syndrome.

That’s a terrifying list of problems that can occur, all the result of not wanting your new pup to feel alone. At this point, you may have only seen that they seem to panic when they get separated from each other. Unfortunately, litter syndrome is not something that will end once they mature into their own unique personalities. You have two options of what you can do to help Molly and Sally grow up to be independent. The first option, and most sources say the best option, is difficult and involves finding a new home for Molly or Sally. Separating them will give each one the opportunity to grow and not depend on each other. If you have a dear friend who is willing to adopt Molly, almost overnight you will see the changes in Sally and vice versa. But this is a difficult choice, and not everyone is willing to choose.

The second option is time consuming, but necessary if you want to keep Molly and Sally under one roof. You will have to perform a ‘double duty’. Basically, this means that you will have to raise them separately. Separate the boxes, take Molly and Sally on separate walks, and take them separately to the vet. They can play together, but whenever you interact with them, it must be individually and separately. This will only last for twelve to fourteen months, at which point they will be sufficiently established in their confidence and maturity to be fully integrated.

The sooner you make a decision about how you will overcome littermate syndrome with your new puppies, the better. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for them to establish their own identities as they age.