RAISING SIBLING PUPPIES
DOUBLE DASH OF DELIGHT 🐾🐾.
Sisters Zeus and Ronnie are doing very nicely on their Intensive Puppy Course and are about to join puppy classes.
They came to us at 12 weeks via an online session to help lay strong foundations and build independence from each other. Their mum had carefully researched the possible pitfalls of raising two litter mates and was already putting in place a strong routine and separation training to help build independence.
These beautiful girls have been so calm in our sessions and are turning into two little Thinking-puppies. 😊
Raising Two Young Dogs Together
We have had a number of siblings lately and our vet colleagues are also seeing a rise in litter mates being homed together.
Living with two puppies from the same litter is hard work. Ronnie and Zeus's new family knew that they would have three times the work of looking after one puppy. It isn't a case of doubling the trouble when you have two pups from the same litter. It's a case of trebling the trouble (!) and it takes a lot of time, commitment and patience.
There is double the joy - no doubt about that - but the amount of work with two dogs under 6 months of age should never be under estimated. It takes high levels of skill and organisation to raise two puppies in the same home and there are many potential issues that need careful planning and management to avoid.
Litter Mate Syndrome
As puppies go through adolescence their brains and bodies go through a lot of change. This is all driven by hormones, which can cause a lot of turbulence during their teen months. They're very similar to human teens during this stage - they can get irritable quickly, their emotional regulation can be erratic and they're more likely to take risks. The big plus over teenage children is that teen dogs aren't so likely to come home with tattoos and body piercing.... 😂🐾
Erratic emotions, irritability and risk-taking can lead to conflict and teen dogs rarely have an "off" button. This means that guarding of items, people, food and location can often be an issue between siblings. Much like bickering and falling-out between teenage children, teen dogs can squabble but the difference is that they can quickly cause each other real damage. The bigger they are, the more difficult they can be to manage and lasting conflict between siblings is a recognised phenomenon known as "litter mate syndrome".
It can be avoided but it needs a family who are able to be well-organised and patient and who have strong management skills. Plus the space and time to work separately on each pup's emotional development and self- control.
Our Thinking-Dog training methods are particularly effective when working with two young dogs living together, because the emphasis is on learning self-control. We teach our puppies resilience and the ability to regulate and control their emotions, rather than relying on being controlled by their families. Because families can't always be around to direct their dogs' behaviour, so learning strong self-control is vital when dogs live with other dogs.
Thinking-puppies learn very quickly to manage feelings of frustration. We teach our families to become fluent at reading canine body language, which means they can identify early warning signals of frustration intolerance and can then manage their pups to avoid conflict.
Training and Socialisation
Two puppies need separate training, separate walks and careful independence building from one another. This isn't just because trying to work with two fizzy pups on the end of two leads is a kerfuffle! It's also to teach them to be less reliant on each other.
To raise balanced adults, families with two pups need to understand how to build a close bond with each puppy individually and how to help them reduce their dependence on each other.
Ronnie is a sensitive girl and can be prone to anxiety. As you can see from the photos, she's the smaller pup and can be very uneasy in new places. She relied heavily on Zeus, but by our second session was much more confident because of all the independence training their mum has done.
Their play needs careful management so that it doesn't become overly boisterous and so that they don't learn poor social skills around other dogs. Puppies rarely learn good social skills from each other - they need to interact with older, calmer dogs to work out how to be polite around other dogs.
Structiure and Routine
Raising two young dogs together in a family can be even more complicated because of the time they need - organising a family and building-in time to do everything you need to do with a puppy x 2 can be a logistical nightmare!
Ronnie and Zeus's mum has been remarkable. She's been determined that the girls will become calm, confident and content dogs and she has created a home with very clear structure and boundaries.
The girls' family are doing a lot to help their pups develop as personalities in their own ways, and are making sure they encourage well-mannered play and interactions between them.
Regulation, Regulation, Regulation!
The name of the game is Regulation. Everything is about regulation, from behaviour around toys and food, to playing together, to exercise and socialisation.
thing the family are doing with these two is planned, reflected on and adapted to Ronnie and Zeus's growing needs. They're an amazing team.
They're sweet-natured, highly intelligent pups who are a delight to work with and we're loving watching them learn and grow together 🥰😊🐾