Why puppy siblings make for double-trouble - AmericaNowNews.com

Puppy siblings make for double trouble

It's a growing trend … picking out two puppies from the same litter. People figure the siblings can keep each other company when nobody's home. But Luciano Aguilar says that it can actually hinder their individual development.

"'Take two, they're small.' It's a common expression. But you better think twice about taking two puppies from the same litter! Littermates can be double-trouble if you always treat them like a pair," says Aguilar.

Between the ages of seven and 16 weeks, a puppy is ready to move on from his litter and develop his own personality. Having a brother or sister in the mix can make it harder for him to bond with his human family.

Luciano first met brothers "Yogi" and "Bear" when they were just two months old. They're pure-bred Golden Retrievers and were born in a litter of nine puppies. Their owner, Eva, called Luciano because they were chewing up everything they could get their teeth on. That was a year ago -- and what a difference a year makes! Eva says she and her husband hadn't planned on getting two puppies.

"Honestly, it was totally just an emotional thing," Eva says. "My husband and I came just to pick up one dog, and when we got there, there were only two puppies left in the litter. And when I saw the two of them I just felt like I didn't want to separate the two, you know. I thought, 'Let's just get two. How much harder is it going to be to raise two dogs rather than one?' But I've learned that it's a big difference!"

Littermates are harder to train and can show more aggression towards their owners. It's their pack mentality at work. They look for one another's approval and feel strength in numbers. There's two of them and only one of you.

"Whatever they want to do, they tag-team. They don't listen to me at all. They will do what they want to do together. But if I have one with me, they'll listen to me," Eva explains. "But when the two of them are together, their bond is to each other and whatever their agenda is. They ignore me. I'm more of a nuisance to them. And they actually won't even look at me. They're still looking to play with each other as if I don't even exist."

If you do decide to go ahead and get a pair of littermates, Luciano recommends that you treat them as individuals from Day One. You should crate them separately. Feed them separately. Walk them separately. Play with them separately. And train them separately. The key word, Luciano says, is separately.

"You want to allow them to develop their individual personalities and sense of themselves," he says. "They'll be easier for you to handle when they're together. And it'll be easier on them when they're apart from each other."

Eva notes that it took more than eight months for her puppies to start bonding with their owners.

"As they're getting older, they listen much better. They're a little bit calmer," she says. "If I were to do it again, I would really consider separating them for a month before bringing them home so that we could work on the bond. Because that was probably the hardest part. I mean, I don't regret for a moment getting the two of them. I just wish I had better prepared myself and my husband for what we were going to have to deal with."

Remember, if you take a couple of puppies from the same litter, you're taking a risk. They may be cute together when they're small. But as littermates grow, they can turn into double-trouble. Think about getting just one puppy and giving him twice as much love!

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