Littermate syndrome

I am about to get my puppies, Willow and Kai, this weekend. So excited!

Thank you for all of the people who warned me of littermate syndrome. Although we had made some plans to avoid this, I took your advice to heart and we are taking things as far as possible to prevent this. My husband and I both work from home, so we will split the dogs up during the day and have them in separate areas of the house with us while we are working. We will take them on separate walks (my husband marches around the neighborhood while he makes business calls on his headset, so this will be on top of the regular walks) and train them separately. We also have them signed up for separate puppy kindergarten classes. Their crates are both downstairs, but in different areas.

That's how we are doing it. From what I have read, we should be in great shape - littermate syndrome seems to occur when people get two dogs to "keep each other company" and leave them together all the time. Usually, they do this because they won't be able to spend enough time with one dog and feel guilty, so they inadvertently create this mess by getting two.

Anyone out there who has successfully raised littermates, is there any other advice for us? We are ready to roll up our sleeves and do this right.

Thanks in advance,

Julie

PS We also have human twins (6-year-old girls), so double work doesn't scare us. They have been working hard on "training" their stuffed animals, according to Sophia Yin's method. They each strap on a bait bag and practice the quick treat handoff. I think those stuffed dogs are almost under control and they surely don't get a treat unless they are sitting down.

I think that training them separate and separate walks, separate classes is a good start, but don't go overboardā€¦ I think keeping them apart in work areas is not really a great idea.

And really the crates should be next to each other, not separate, you do want them to communicate....

While my girls are not littermates they are two weeks apart in age and come home together. They play like crazy with each other all the time... they do and can work separate... and I can take one to the Vet and leave the other at home. Their crates are next to each other (in the bedroom) and they eat and sleep in their crates. When they first came home, they would start out in separate crates at night, however I would get them up in the middle of the night for potty time... then I would put them in the same crate for the remainer of the night. (and I have do that before). By the time they were sleeping all night and didn't need to go out, they were fine each in their own crate.

Problem sometimes with littermates of they have spent their entire live competing with each other and if both are dominate that can lead to problems as adults. All depends on their temperament.

If you go to this link you can see the girls at play... (now 2yrs old) and this is what they have always done.

Thanks, Pat. I will move the crates so that they are next to each other. I probably overreacted, since I was researching littermate syndrome and posters to a forum were violent about the whole thing, saying that the breeders who will sell littermates, as well as the evil people who would buy them should have their dogs taken away. I do understand why it is not a good idea for many people to get two puppies at once, but we have the kind of situation (two of us working at home and both interested in training/raising the Bs) that allows us to do this now and sustain it for a year at least.

Did you get grief when you wanted to get two at one time?

There are definitely different issues when you have two young puppies and especially if they are true litter mates. When you adopt two puppies that are close in age, they do find it easier to bond with the other puppy rather than humans since the puppy speaks dog and they don't have to learn a new language to communicate. Litter mates come with their own baggage, they already know each and have grown up with each and have not really learned about who they are as individuals. Raising two litter mates can be done but it is a lot of work. Make sure you have researched good trainers and have good resources at hand before problems arise instead of waiting until they are mushrooming into something worse to start looking for them.

We have had several littermate pairs over the years, probably because we seem to be genetically incapable of keeping just one puppy of a litter šŸ˜‰ However, we have never had a problem with littermate syndrome and have never really done anything specific to avoid it. We do have a number of dogs though, and they are very fluid about pairing up and/or spending time in a group. We even, at one point, had 2 boys who were brothers who stayed together for the first 5 years and never had an issue with humans, other Basenjis or each other, even during the dreaded fall seasonsā€¦

Terry

@Amelie:

Thanks, Pat. I will move the crates so that they are next to each other. I probably overreacted, since I was researching littermate syndrome and posters to a forum were violent about the whole thing, saying that the breeders who will sell littermates, as well as the evil people who would buy them should have their dogs taken away. I do understand why it is not a good idea for many people to get two puppies at once, but we have the kind of situation (two of us working at home and both interested in training/raising the Bs) that allows us to do this now and sustain it for a year at least.

Did you get grief when you wanted to get two at one time?

Since this is not the first time I have done this and been in the breed 20+ yearsā€¦ plus bred and co-bred litters... the answer would be no.... about grief. When I first got into the breed I got two, male and female, not related. My breeders of those pups were a bit concerned but it worked out.

That said, it is not something that I would encourage either, but I would not totally discount the possibility either. Nor would I consider a responsible breeders and responsible owners getting littermates, evil! Far from it. Not only that, I would never recommend that people get two of the same sex either. Which since I got Franie and C-Me, both bitches didn't follow my own advise. But I spend many a month looking at different breeders, their dogs and when it came time to pick puppies (C-Me from a litter that I had been co-owner of the Mom) and Franie from a different litter/different breeder, I was very, very careful about temperaments. Much time and thought when into that decision and choice. I have been though the heartbreak of fighting Basenjis in the home... and it is not fun!

Those that have met my girls, I think would agree, dispite all the odds it worked out pretty well

I think that Lisa (lvoss) gave some very good suggestions and also noted in her post what I did. Littermates have different baggage then just two pups at the same time that are not related

About 15 yrs ago I had a person beg for 2 boys, assuring me that one would work and travel with him, the other stay with his wife. This was not an inexperienced personā€“in fact he had a wildlife license to keep and rehab large cats. I agreed but called my stud owner who utterly, totally flipped out on me. His points were valid-- that having the same sex set things up iffy (these were Rottweilers btw, not basenjis) to begin with, and that even choosing temperaments, I still risked one being dominated and fights and WHY would I do that when I had many homes waiting? The people, btw, were not too happy but agreed on one boy and about 6 mos later asked me to help them find a breeder for a bitch (spay/neuter contract).

That said, I know many who have kept 2 from a litter and had no issues, but again, not inexperienced folks. I don't think a breeder is evil or horrible to allow 2 in one home, but knowing that one at a time with some spacing is better for the dog, I probably would wonder about a breeder doing that. Like Pat said to me, why would you compromise chances for great homing and bonding? And if I were a breeder, I'd wonder about an owner so anxious to get their immediate needs met that they would rather get two than wait a bit. It would have to be very valid reasons imho or I'd probably not want that person to have ANY of my pups.

So then I have to admit that we have quite a few of the Wimauma rescues who took 2 at once. NO ONE (we have our own FB group) is having issues because they have done the things needed and because placements were carefully selected and screened. These pups are now all over 2 yrs old. So I am not saying it can't be done and never would, but it would have to be some awesome reason why and they would, like you, have to have truly worked out what the plan was.

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