What Is Littermate Syndrome? How To Stop and Deal with It

This publish might comprise affiliate hyperlinks. We might earn cash or merchandise from the businesses talked about on this publish.

You have been so thrilled to get two lovely puppies from the identical litter.

However now they’re starting to have some conduct issues. So that you surprise what occurred.

Otherwise you’re fascinated by getting two younger puppies on the identical time and surprise if it’s advisable. 

Golden Retriever littermates in a box. Do they have littermate syndrome?

On this article, I’ll describe what littermate syndrome is and what you are able to do to stop or handle it.

What Is Littermate Syndrome?

Littermate syndrome describes what happens when two puppies who’re raised collectively bond an excessive amount of to one another. This may increasingly sound nice at first, but it surely isn’t. 

They are going to bond to one another greater than they bond with you. 

As a result of the puppies bond so enormously with one another, they grow to be so depending on one another that, when separated, they expertise excessive stress and nervousness.

The 2 puppies don’t need to be from the identical litter. Littermate syndrome can even happen in the event you get two puppies which can be close to in age, akin to inside about six months of one another.

Though littermate syndrome doesn’t at all times happen, it could actually. 

Behavioral Points that Could Develop Due to Littermate Syndrome

As a result of two puppies with littermate syndrome over-bond, they don’t undergo regular puppyhood improvement phases and should have behavioral issues

Puppies experiencing littermate syndrome typically lack social expertise as a result of an proprietor might consider that they’re taking part in and dwelling collectively is the one socialization they want. Nothing may very well be farther from the reality. 

Every must develop as a person to flourish. Puppies with littermate syndrome might endure from the next behavioral issues:

  • Worry of individuals and different canines, which might probably result in aggression
  • Excessive separation nervousness
  • Crating points
  • Points when encountering new conditions when with out the opposite pet
  • Leash reactivity
  • The next incidence of the 2 puppies preventing as in comparison with non-siblings being raised collectively

The problems typically aren’t skilled instantly. They develop over time and might intensify when the puppies attain social maturity.

Begin every pet out on the proper paw.

Indicators {that a} Pet is Anxious or Confused

There are numerous indicators {that a} pet is pressured. These embrace:

  • Yawning when not drained
  • Vocalization (whining, barking, howling, whimpering)
  • Resisting coming into the crate if already crate skilled
  • Panicking and attempting to succeed in the opposite pet
  • Salivating and drooling
  • Panting
  • Lip licking
  • Trembling and shivering
  • Fidgeting or pacing
  • Tense physique language
  • Chewing or licking self
  • Vomiting
  • Inappropriate urination or defecation’
  • Diarrhea
  • Harmful conduct

How To Stop Littermate Syndrome

One of the best ways to stop littermate syndrome is to not get two puppies on the identical time. 

Littermate syndrome might happen in the event you get two puppies from the identical litter. However it might additionally happen in the event you get two puppies inside about six months or extra of one another.

It’s arduous sufficient to lift one pet due to their many wants, which embrace home coaching, crate coaching, train, obedience coaching, and socialization.

So suppose lengthy and arduous earlier than deciding to get two younger puppies collectively. 

Once I bought my sheltie pet Amber from a fantastic breeder, my husband needed to get one other pet from the identical litter. In spite of everything, they have been lovely. 

However cooler heads prevailed and we solely went dwelling with Amber. 

The breeder knew how tough elevating two puppies is. And I additionally knew the potential issues that would develop and the large quantity of labor it will be to efficiently increase two puppies.

Usually, good, conscientious breeders, rescues, and shelters received’t undertake two younger puppies out collectively to keep away from littermate syndrome.

How To Handle Littermate Syndrome

If you have already got two younger puppies, there are measures you possibly can take to make the state of affairs work. However I received’t child you, it should take plenty of dedication in your half. 

You want for every pet to believe when separated from the opposite and that nice issues occur after they’re aside. Regularly get them used to being unbiased. 

And also you additionally want to show them to have good conduct after they’re collectively. 

Some puppies expertise littermate syndrome better than others. Usually one of many two puppies experiences extra stress and nervousness than the opposite does.

To assist keep away from or handle littermate syndrome, you are able to do the next:

Crate every individually. 

It’s vital to not crate them in the identical crate. As lovely as they might look collectively, being collectively too typically will simply promote littermate syndrome to happen.

Begin with crates subsequent to one another, shifting them aside over time. 

It could take days and even weeks to maneuver the crates to reverse ends of a room and ultimately into separate rooms.

At first simply transfer them inches aside, then additional and additional aside over days or perhaps weeks with out stressing the puppies.

Set them up to achieve their crates. 

Train every pet earlier than coming into his crate in order that he’s much less more likely to be troubled. And make the person crates a fantastic place to be.

Put a frozen stuffed Kong that every will get solely when he’s within the crate. Practice every to like being alone in his crate.

Plan separate time alone with you. 

Take every pet in an space of your home away from the opposite pup. Make it a celebration to be with you and away from the opposite pet.

Play video games with particular toys. Give him particular treats. Have him fetch and play tug. You need every pet to see that you’re a lot of enjoyable to be with–much more enjoyable than being together with his brother or sister. 

You additionally wish to have some calm time with you. After the pet’s had a ample quantity of train, have him calm down with you. Pet him and gently therapeutic massage his again. Reward and reward calm conduct.

PRO-TRAINER TIP: Have a provide of nice, yummy treats that your pet can’t resist prepared as a reward. They need to be small, no bigger than a pea. All the time have your reward treats prepared earlier than giving your obedience cue. Utilizing a particular deal with akin to small items of cheese or boiled, deboned rooster will help a canine have a constructive affiliation with one thing.

Plan separate outings with every pet.

Be sure that every pet is taken out on walks and to new locations to socialize and train them individually.

Typically take every completely individually the place the opposite isn’t even conscious of his sibling’s journey. 

Have them greet new folks and pleasant canines when alone. You can provide the folks particular, high-value treats that you simply present for them to offer to the pup. It’s vital that every sees folks as welcoming beings. 

On some outings, take the puppies along with separate handlers, ultimately separating and taking completely different routes from one another. 

In fact, you possibly can stroll them collectively typically and take them locations collectively often. However on most outings, take them individually.

Get them used to a automotive trip individually. 

Every must study to like to journey alone. In the event that they’re at all times taken collectively, they might have automotive nervousness after they’re aside.

Practice them individually. 

Train every pet all vital coaching instructions throughout periods after they’re aside. Every ought to study to concentrate, stroll on a free leash, come reliably, sit, down, keep, go away it, and drop it. 

After every has discovered these conduct cues individually, you are able to do some coaching periods with the puppies collectively. However nonetheless proceed to do some each day coaching periods after they’re aside.

Feed them individually. 

You need them to be unbiased and never attempt to take one another’s meals–or probably guard their meals as they enter social maturity. And have a feeding schedule.

Home practice every individually. 

Take every out individually when instructing them to potty. In any other case, they might study to go to the toilet solely when the opposite is current.

And that may result in avoidable accidents as a result of they might want to go to the toilet even when separated. 

Groom every individually. 

Getting a pet used to dealing with and grooming is vital. However with two puppies, you need every to believe and settle for–and even take pleasure in–being groomed after they’re aside. 

Have a routine schedule. 

Canine are creatures of behavior and do effectively with a schedule. So plan their feeding, crating, train, socialization, and coaching. This can assist every canine believe in his world.

Use holistic aids. 

For something they’ll ingest, first examine along with your vet if it’s alright for them to take the help. There are numerous holistic aids that you need to use to assist a canine really feel much less nervousness.

There are calming tabs, CBD oil, and Rescue Treatment

There’s additionally a product referred to as Adaptil, which mimics a canine mom’s pheromones and is available in a collar, spray (for objects, not on the canine), and a plug-in for the house. You too can attempt the ThunderShirt, which is sort of a hug and, when launched correctly, will help alleviate a canine’s nervousness.

Play calming music. 

Calming sound will help reduce a canine’s nervousness. There’s even a product referred to as By means of a Canine’s Ear that was developed to assist alleviate a canine’s stress.

Stay calm. 

Canine learn our physique language, tone, and odor. So if we’re pressured, they’ll feed off of that. I do know that it’s simpler mentioned than performed while you see that your pet is anxious.

But when your physique language isn’t pressured and you utilize a relaxed tone of voice, it should assist your pup additionally stay serene.

Get skilled assist.

Littermate syndrome can result in some extreme behavioral points. I counsel that folks get any help wanted sooner moderately than later.

If you happen to’ve tried the above strategies and your puppies are nonetheless pressured, get assist from a professional constructive reinforcement coach or behaviorist who has efficiently handled puppies with littermate syndrome.

Rehome one of many puppies. 

If the puppies aren’t making progress being aside, it’s typically finest to rehome one. I notice how tough this may be since you’re connected to each.

However, for their very own good and in order that they don’t develop behavioral points, it’s finest that they develop to their full potential aside.

What NOT To Do: Don’t Attempt This at House

There are specific actions that you simply shouldn’t take when working via the littermate syndrome problem. Doing so received’t assist the problem–and should even do plenty of hurt.

Don’t transfer too shortly in separating the puppies. 

In fact, it’s best to make fixed progress. However pushing them too far too quick could make them anxious and panicked.

So, for instance, when separating their crates to completely different areas of your home, transfer every aside slowly.

Don’t simply transfer a crate to a different room with out first shifting the crates aside over days or perhaps weeks whereas in the identical room at first.

Don’t appropriate them for his or her nervousness. 

If one or each appear pressured, don’t appropriate them verbally or bodily. Doing so will inevitably make the matter worse and might even result in different behavioral points–together with aggression.

Don’t drive them to socialize with new environments, folks, or canines. 

When taking every out individually, don’t drive the pet to work together with new folks or canines. And don’t drive them into scary environments. 

One of many puppies could also be extra outgoing than the opposite. Socialize every at his personal tempo. You need them to know that the world away from one another is a constructive place that he needs to work together with.

And don’t take them to environments that may overwhelm them or be too nerve-racking, akin to a loud avenue if that bothers them. You need your pup to see the world as a constructive place.


I’m fascinated by adopting two younger puppies? Ought to I? 

Usually not. They could develop littermate syndrome by which they bond too intently to one another. If this happens, they aren’t more likely to correctly bond with you or different canines or folks.

And they’re going to develop behavioral points starting from stress, extreme separation nervousness, crating points, leash reactivity, and points when encountering new conditions.

It’s finest to get puppies no less than six months aside, the place you’ve skilled one after which practice the opposite, after which practice them collectively. And get every used to being alone in separate crates and areas of your home.

I’ve adopted two puppies, and so they continuously cry after they’re aside. What ought to I do? 

You must slowly get them used to being aside. This implies coaching, pottying, crating, socializing, feeding, and strolling them individually nearly all of the time.

Additionally spend some enjoyable and taking part in with every individually. If the problem is extreme, get skilled assist from a behaviorist or constructive reinforcement coach who has expertise with littermate syndrome.

I’m getting a lab pet. The breeder has two puppies left and can give me a reduction on every if I take each. Ought to I get each puppies? 

No! They could develop littermate syndrome by which they over-bond to one another and never bond sufficiently with you and others.

They could additionally develop many behavioral points akin to: fearfulness of latest folks, animals, and conditions; extreme separation nervousness; and leash reactivity.

Additionally, analysis any breeder that you could be acquire a canine from to make sure that they carry out advisable well being clearances on the breeding dad and mom and have expertise with the breed.

Ultimate Ideas

It’s finest to not get two puppies on the identical time. When two puppies of roughly the identical age are raised collectively, they might get littermate syndrome. 

Which means that they’ll grow to be too bonded with one another and should not bond as effectively with you as they in any other case would if alone. They’re additionally more likely to develop behavioral points that you’ll have to cope with. 

Have you ever ever gotten two puppies on the identical time?

If that’s the case, did they develop littermate syndrome?

What did you do about it and was it profitable?Please inform us about it within the feedback part beneath. 

Save To Pinterest

What Is Littermate Syndrome? - Two Golden Retriever puppies in a box.

High Picks For Our Canine

    We Like: Calmeroos Pet Toy w/ Heartbeat and Warmth Packs – Good for brand spanking new puppies. Helps ease nervousness of their new dwelling.
    We Like: Bones & Chews Bully Sticks – All of our puppies like to chew, nip, and chew. We love utilizing Bully Sticks to assist divert these undesirable behaviors.
    We Like: Loopy Canine Practice Me Treats – One among our favourite treats for coaching our service canine puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer’s Canine – A pair months in the past we began feeding Raven recent pet food and she or he loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Canine.

For an inventory of all of the provides we get for our new service canine puppies take a look at our New Pet Guidelines on the PuppyInTraining.com weblog.

What Is Littermate Syndrome? How To Stop and Deal with It was final modified: March 14th, 2023 by Debbie DeSantis

- Advertisement -spot_img

Read More