Littermate Syndrome and training two or more dogs.
#1
I found this great article online:  http://thebark.com/content/dont-take-two-littermates 

The link has been posted before but it was in "Introduce Yourself" so I thought I would bring it up here.  Mattie and Tasha are not littermates.  I got Tasha from a cattle ranch at nine weeks old.   Mattie came from a rescue and we really don't know how old she is.  The vet that the rescue used put her one month older than Tasha but my vet thought Mattie was at least two years older than Tasha.  To keep it simple I just say they are the same age.  I adopted Mattie when Tasha was 1 year-2 months old.

I can't imagine having littermates.  The comments after the article are annoying to me because they put the fault on the owner if the puppies don't turn out but how many people have the time and energy to take care of two puppies at the same time?  I know I don't.  I think it would be better to advise people not to adopt littermates.  The only reason it works for me to have two dogs the same age is that my pups are not littermates and my daughter is in charge of Tasha and I am in charge of Mattie. But it still isn't easy to work with them together.  I recently set up a spare crate in the living room so one dog can be in the crate while I train the other.  Sometimes it is exhausting!  If I want to go outside to work on loose leash walking with Tasha, Mattie gets so upset that I need my daughter to hold her so I can get out of the house with Tasha (I do this while my kid is working on homework so kid isn't available).

So, what tricks do you use to train two dog that are close to the same age?   Or just two or more dogs?
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#2
I would never have 2 pups together, most good breeders would not allow that either.
But I have had dogs the same age. Carter was my daughters pup and Draco I took in when he was nearly a year. There was just a couple of months between them. By the age of 3 Carter also lived with me.
I have a friend who has Dalmatians. They had one and when he was 18 months old, they lost their old dog. They spoke to the breeder and the litter mate of their18month old was looking for a home. So they have littermates but did not raise them together as pups.
Very occasionally my friend who breeds Australian Shepherds keeps 2 pups backs, either because she is undecided or the new home is delayed. I have often taken one of the pups in temporarily. Just because we feel it is easier for her and better for the pup.
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#3
I think it is important to be mindful of symptoms similar to littermate syndrome developing in any situation where a pup is brought in and raised with a more mature dog and I refer to our chat in another post in respect to the similarities between the way Tasha & Mattie and Max & Jasper interact in a game of fetch. While in itself their dynamic within that game doesn't bother me, it does alert me to the fact that Jasper is more focused on Max than me and in the broader picture I do not think this is something that should go without being addressed.
I mean, if they were to be enjoying off lead play somewhere and I recall, do I want Jasper to only recall because Max does or do I want him to be comfortable with acting independently ? To this end we have been doing simple little exercises to address this.
I know what you mean in respect to attaching blame but by the same token ignorance is not a defence. I don't think an act has to be deliberate for it to still be considered a persons fault. I have made many mistakes with dogs in my lifetime and whether they be deliberate or by naivety it doesn't make those mistakes any less my fault. There is no need for people to be judged harshly but you have to own it and in all things you are a better person when you can accept constructive and honest criticism.

TMM- Good move in setting up a crate in the living room, our crates permanently reside there anyway and we often train with one in and the other out. The dog who is in, is not excluded from training because he/she is still practicing being a calm observer and being rewarded for that.
Haha, I know exactly what you mean with training Tash with LLW in your own yard and Mattie getting upset about that. Exactly the same thing happened with Jasper and Max. I used to wait until my partner came home and could spend time with Max while I worked with Jasper in the yard. I also walked them separately for a long time and they have only within the last few months been walking together again. I do however still take them separately at times as I feel it is good value one on one time.
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#4
I rescued 2 littermates, Blue Heelers. One was to be my daughter's dog and one was mine. My daughter had a crate in her room and I had one in mine, so they were separated for a majority of the time. We walked them separately and trained them separately, but down time in the house and yard time were together. They were great little dogs when they were separated, but they never were good house dogs. They could not settle together even after 5 years.
Gotta love 'em.
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