Getting 2 Puppies at Once – Littermates

Getting 2 puppies at the same time

There are many hurtles to raising littermates the right way and most people do not have the time or simply do not know about the potential problems. I get several calls a week, sometimes a day, from people asking how to keep dogs from fighting at home. It is absolutely possible to raise two puppies and have healthy and happy dogs if you do it correctly. It is important to know that if not done right there will be aggression issue and fights as they battle for pack structure. Dogs do not have to actually be from the same litter to see each other as siblings. Sibling rivalry can develop between dogs that are several weeks, months and even years apart.

The most important part of raising littermates the right way and to keep dogs from fighting is to keep them separate. Many people get two puppies so that they can play together when the opposite needs to happen. Stan and Lenny are only a couple weeks apart in age, but they did not even meet each other for several months. Your puppy needs to bond to you and the rest of his human pack to understand that even though he is part of the family, he still ranks below the youngest member (even a newborn baby). When two puppies are together they will sort out where they stand with each other. Sometimes, this looks cute, like “playing” when they are young, but if left unchecked this will turn ugly as they enter adulthood.

As the puppies progress in their individual training and maturing process their crates can be moved from separate rooms to being next to each other. I always socialize a puppy with stable adult dogs first. I teach them what is and isn’t appropriate ways to interact. When it is time to introduce them to each other, there will be no toys or other resources for them to fight over. I will either take them both for a structured walk or do open field, but I will continue moving. Movement is healthy for dogs. Stopping and standing still is when you will start seeing unhealthy behaviors like wrestling or inappropriate play. I want my pups to continue to follow my leadership and migrate with me. Never leave puppies together unattended. If you do, one will end up being more dominant and aggressive and the other more submissive and fearful. This can cause major problems down the road. If you take the time, raising littermates the right way from the start will seem like a daunting task at first, but in the end it will save you from problems like dog fights, destructive behavior, fearfulness and aggression. Just remember we want to do what is best for the dog, even if this is harder emotionally for us as their humans.