Today’s topic is raising littermates. So do you have littermates, or are you considering it? If you are, let me save you a little bit of trouble.
Don’t Do It
Do not get two dogs from the same litter because it is generally challenging to deal with. Now, that doesn’t mean that some people don’t do it successfully, but I’m telling you that it’s very likely more trouble than it could potentially be worth. However, I’m a dog trainer, and I want to help those who have found themselves in a position where they have two dogs from the same litter.
What Can You Do
So I think the first tip when I think about litter mates is you have to make them individuals. One of the problems is dogs sometimes, depending on their genetics, can have exceptionally high pack drive. The drive helps the dog become social with other dogs and especially dogs that they’re going to spend a lot of time with.
Now, every puppy, to some degree, is going to be together with its littermates. Anywhere from, let’s say, seven to eight weeks of age. Eight weeks is about a good enough time for your puppy to leave its littermates. Even if two littermates or more, heaven forbid, are coming home. Once they come home, it becomes imperative for the dog to get acclimated to the other dogs in the pack. And most importantly, to become acclimated to their humans.
Some Practical Tips
When you are raising littermates, it is essential to have separate crates for these dogs. They cannot spend any more time together in the same crate. And to the degree that you guys can, if you’re getting littermates and you have multiple people in your home, make each dog become the primary care of one person or another. This way, it can help the dogs to understand that their humans are more important than each other.
The next tip will be a little tricky, but I think it can pay off for some of you. Don’t let these dogs play together too much. They’ve already been playing together for some time, but I feel that they should really get as little play as possible and as much play with some of the other dogs in the pack and then, even more, play with humans.
I don’t know if you guys know this, but I make it a point that my dogs do not get a lot of play with each other. They get a massive amount of play with me daily, and it’s pretty challenging to do that, but it’s worthwhile because of the amount of attention that I’m going to get from my dogs.
So use separate crates for the dogs. No more play with the littermates and more play with the other pack members and especially the humans.
The third tip, I think this one is one that I use quite a bit, and it doesn’t have to be applied to littermates necessarily. But maybe you have two young dogs that you’re raising simultaneously, which is also challenging.
Place Stay Is Not Always The Solution
I think you should have them be together in the same room and with you. But understand how to respect and stay away from each other while doing things like the place stay. Look, I don’t want you guys to think that the place stay is the solution for every single thing that you do. It’s not. It’s a great way to train a dog and have them understand where there are boundaries and where you want them to stay.
But it shouldn’t be the only thing you teach the dog to do, and I don’t think you guys are doing that. I’m trying to say here that I think there should be circumstances where you have the dogs together, but that they’re not interacting, but where they are interacting with you. And then, if you decide that you’re going to interact and play with one, the other one has enough self-control to stay out of it and vice versa.
Okay, so those are my tips for now. I’m going to think about this once more, but those are my tips for now.