Anyone who has ever acquired a puppy has at some time or another considered getting siblings, or even pups of the same age but from different litters. One puppy requires a huge commitment in terms of extra expense and time. Two puppies, apart from the additional expense and time factor, require extra attention over and above normal training and socialization in order to avoid the problems inherent in two puppies of the same age being raised together.
Buying, or acquiring, two pups the same age, whether siblings or not, would seem to be the ideal solution to our busy lifestyles. They would provide stimulation for one another, and provide companionship. They could learn from one another – in fact, they could become best friends. The reality is far from the truth and, unfortunately, irresponsible breeders and some animal rescue organisations encourage this romantic notion. What actually happens is that their personalities merge, they become more and more withdrawn with the result that they may become fearful of all strange dogs and people, as well as being extremely anxious in any situation where they are separated from each other.
As they get older these problems become more severe and, if this is not enough, the pup’s are not particularly interested in their human companions. Why should they be? They have one another.
However, if you for whatever reason, acquired two siblings, there are some things you can do to ease the situation. What you are trying to do in the next couple of months is to establish each pup as an individual with its own personality and with the confidence to be able to do things without the support of the other. These are the things you need to put in place:
- Walk them separately
- Feed them separately
- Play with them separately
- Limit their playtime to a few short sessions a day
- Train them separately
- Separate their sleeping areas.
If you feel this is all too much for you, find a trainer with some experience with this “Littermate Syndrome” to help you.