You CAN adopt two littermates and bring home two puppies from the same litter at the same time. Don’t let those other online blogs tell you that you cannot. You may have landed on my site in tears because they have made you feel so horrible about even contemplating such a canine crime!
While adopting two Littermates is not often recommended, it can be done IF you know what you are getting into AND are willing to put in the time to prevent the “Littermate Syndrome”.
Let me first say that there is officially no such official thing as ‘Littermate Syndrome’. It is not an official, recognized dog issue. Period. There is no scientific or psychologic proof – either way – to date. It can happen or it cannot happen. Some experience it and some do not. There is no rhyme or reason. No one really knows when, if or why! So don’t let it get you down. That is point number one.
Point number two is that it can happen between any two pets, at any age. ‘Experts’ feel the risk is greater with two dogs of the same age because they are going through the same life stages – and have someone to experience that exact stage of life with. It is especially notable in the same litter because they have been hanging out with each other since birth (and technically even before being birthed!) However, it is not a sure fire thing to happen. How do I know? Because I have adopted two puppies at the same time (see my post here) and later adopted two Littermates at the same time. I never experienced Littermate or puppy sibling syndrome.
To make sure it doesn’t happen to you, there are things you can do.
1. Check the temperament of the puppies!
If you don’t know how to do that and you are thinking about getting two puppies at the same time, reach out to a trainer that can evaluate the breed (some are more trainable and pack oriented) and the exact dogs you are considering bringing home. Some dogs are just more needy than others and it could be a problem. A good trainer will not prevent you for getting two puppies but will make sure the two puppies you get will give you the best chance for fur-family success.
2. Start as soon as you get home.
You may want to have them together. (Awww. They love each other. They are so cute together snuggling.) Bad, bad! They need to bond with you and not with each other. So they need to be crated separately where they cannot see each other, but can see you. You need to do things with them separately. One gets to come out and play with you. Then switch. One gets to go in the car for a ride while the other stays home. Then switch. They need to live with YOU! Not with each other. So it does mean double the work – right off the bat!
3. Ask yourself why.
In our lives, many of us are willing to do the work/put in the effort, if it makes sense to do so! So it also applies to why you are getting the two puppies? Knowing the answer is important to know if you should.
While some say they got both puppies or littermates at the same time because they could not decide (more on that in a minute), many say they wanted both so the dogs could keep each other company while they are at work. That is exactly the problem. If that is your goal, get different ages – a puppy and an older dog – or put the puppy in dog day care for playmates. Because, based on what I said above to avoid them bonding with each other, you are doing the exact opposite. So you are not setting yourself up for success. It doesn’t mean it is a failure, but you are taking on a big risk.
Some say they got both puppies at the same time because they could not decide. That is not a great reason. You loved them, but there is more to it than that. All the more reason to bring a trainer with you to help you decide – based on the dog, you, your life style, your family, your kids
4. Getting two doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
If you want two or already have two, then you are in it – now win it. Follow step number three. In addition to that – work with a trainer as soon as the puppies have their shots. Training is key to any well adjusted puppy, but you will need to do the training even more with two puppies.
I hate to break the bad news – they cannot take the training classes together. You need to establish the alpha status. Having them together in training is not going to work. They are both going to want your attention and then they will just end up playing together. So it does mean two training classes, two payments, two times a week.
I also highly suggest dog day care. If you do work, each dog should be in day care and separated throughout the day. Or have one go to day care, with the other at home. Then switch the next day. It allows them to meet and play with other dogs. This helps them not rely on each other all the time for entertainment.
So adopting two littermates is not doom and gloom. However it is a ton of work. If you are up for it time wise and money wise, it can be done. And it may be worth it for the love you have for those puppies.