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


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

You had 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 marvel what occurred.

Otherwise you’re eager about getting two younger puppies on the similar time and marvel 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 will sound nice at first, however it isn’t. 

They’ll bond to one another greater than they bond with you. 

As a result of the puppies bond so vastly with one another, they change into so depending on one another that, when separated, they expertise excessive stress and nervousness.

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

Though littermate syndrome doesn’t at all times happen, it may possibly. 

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 growth phases and will have behavioral issues

Puppies experiencing littermate syndrome usually lack social abilities as a result of an proprietor might imagine that they’re taking part in and dwelling collectively is the one socialization they want. Nothing could possibly be farther from the reality. 

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

  • Concern of individuals and different canine, which may 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 combating as in comparison with non-siblings being raised collectively

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

Begin every pet out on the suitable paw.

Indicators {that a} Pet is Anxious or Pressured

There are lots of indicators {that a} pet is harassed. These embody:

  • Yawning when not drained
  • Vocalization (whining, barking, howling, whimpering)
  • Resisting coming into the crate if already crate skilled
  • Panicking and making an attempt to achieve 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 Forestall Littermate Syndrome

The easiest way to stop littermate syndrome is to not get two puppies on the similar time. 

Littermate syndrome might happen when you get two puppies from the identical litter. However it could additionally happen when 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 embody home coaching, crate coaching, train, obedience coaching, and socialization.

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

Once I obtained my sheltie pet Amber from an amazing breeder, my husband wished to get one other pet from the identical litter. In spite of everything, they had 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 might develop and the large quantity of labor it could be to efficiently elevate two puppies.

Typically, good, conscientious breeders, rescues, and shelters gained’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 gained’t child you, it’ll take quite a lot of dedication in your half. 

You want for every pet to trust when separated from the opposite and that nice issues occur once they’re aside. Step by step get them used to being impartial. 

And also you additionally want to show them to have good conduct once 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 essential to not crate them in the identical crate. As lovely as they might look collectively, being collectively too usually will simply promote littermate syndrome to happen.

Begin with crates subsequent to one another, transferring 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 even weeks with out stressing the puppies.

Set them up to reach their crates. 

Train every pet earlier than coming into his crate in order that he’s much less prone to be concerned. And make the person crates an amazing 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 own 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 need to have some calm time with you. After the pet’s had a enough 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 similar to small items of cheese or boiled, deboned rooster might help a canine have a optimistic affiliation with one thing.

Plan separate outings with every pet.

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

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

Have them greet new folks and pleasant canine when alone. You may give the folks particular, high-value treats that you just present for them to offer to the pup. It’s essential that every sees folks as welcoming beings. 

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

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

Get them used to a automobile trip individually. 

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

Practice them individually. 

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

After every has realized 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 once they’re aside.

Feed them individually. 

You need them to be impartial 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 educating them to potty. In any other case, they might study to go to the lavatory solely when the opposite is current.

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

Groom every individually. 

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

Have a routine schedule. 

Canines are creatures of behavior and do properly with a schedule. So plan their feeding, crating, train, socialization, and coaching. This may assist every canine trust in his world.

Use holistic aids. 

For something they are going to ingest, first test along with your vet if it’s alright for them to take the help. There are lots of holistic aids that you should 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 can even attempt the ThunderShirt, which is sort of a hug and, when launched correctly, might help alleviate a canine’s nervousness.

Play calming music. 

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

Stay calm. 

Canines learn our physique language, tone, and odor. So if we’re harassed, they’ll feed off of that. I do know that it’s simpler stated than finished once you see that your pet is anxious.

But when your physique language isn’t harassed and you employ a peaceful tone of voice, it’ll 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 relatively than later.

In the event you’ve tried the above strategies and your puppies are nonetheless harassed, get assist from a professional optimistic 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 usually greatest 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 greatest that they develop to their full potential aside.

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

There are particular actions that you just shouldn’t take when working by means of the littermate syndrome subject. Doing so gained’t assist the difficulty–and will even do quite a lot of hurt.

Don’t transfer too rapidly in separating the puppies. 

In fact, you must make fixed progress. However pushing them too far too quick could make them anxious and panicked.

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

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

Don’t appropriate them for his or her nervousness. 

If one or each appear harassed, 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 canine. 

When taking every out individually, don’t drive the pet to work together with new folks or canine. 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 optimistic place that he needs to work together with.

And don’t take them to environments that may overwhelm them or be too anxious, similar to a loud avenue if that bothers them. You need your pup to see the world as a optimistic place.


I’m eager about adopting two younger puppies? Ought to I? 

Typically not. They might develop littermate syndrome by which they bond too carefully to one another. If this happens, they aren’t prone to correctly bond with you or different canine or folks.

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

It’s greatest 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 own home.

I’ve adopted two puppies, they usually continually cry once they’re aside. What ought to I do? 

It’s best to 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 stress-free and taking part in with every individually. If the difficulty is extreme, get skilled assist from a behaviorist or optimistic 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 might develop littermate syndrome by which they over-bond to one another and never bond sufficiently with you and others.

They might additionally develop many behavioral points similar to: fearfulness of recent folks, animals, and conditions; extreme separation nervousness; and leash reactivity.

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

Closing Ideas

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

Which means they are going to change into too bonded with one another and will not bond as properly with you as they in any other case would if alone. They’re additionally prone to develop behavioral points that you’ll have to take care of. 

Have you ever ever gotten two puppies on the similar 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.What Is Littermate Syndrome? - Two Golden Retriever puppies in a box.

Prime Picks For Our Canines

    We Like: Calmeroos Pet Toy w/ Heartbeat and Warmth Packs – Excellent for brand 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 – Considered one of 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 contemporary 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 Forestall and Deal with It was final modified: March 14th, 2023 by Debbie DeSantis


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *