Are getting littermates a good idea??

What do you all think?? Feel free to chime in on this question on our Facebook Page, but read ahead to see what Unleashed says…

I wish more people asked us this question before they get the dogs. Unfortunately, we usually get this comment after they’ve hired us to help them…”I wish someone told me this wasn’t a good idea!”

Getting littermates isn’t all-bad. The dogs are usually very nice dogs! And, you only need to go through the potty training and puppy-chewing phase once. Those are some pretty big pros.

The problem is that there are two of them! Many owners are under the false impression that two dogs are easier than one…”they have each other to play with.” The fact is that we never recommend that someone gets another dog unless they want another dog and have twice as much time to commit to another dog. Don’t get another dog to keep your first one company! The novelty can wear off quickly and then you have two dogs that are chewing things up in your yard or barking excessively.

The three biggest things to consider when you look at getting littermates is your relationship with your dog, training and socialization. Relationship is probably the most important part of having a well-behaved dog. Dogs are pack animals and need to feel part of a pack. Ideally you want your dog to be totally and completely bonded to you. With littermates, it’s much harder to achieve this relationship because they already have their pack, with their littermate. Littermates don’t “need or want” their owners company as much as each others’. To remedy this, make an effort to separate the puppies for a short time on a daily basis in order for them to learn how to be alone. This is an important life skill. It also gives you a chance to bond to the other puppy.

Training is tricky with littermates. Take it from us, training two dogs together can be almost impossible.
Effective obedience training requires consistent reward and impeccable timing. The ideal thing to do is to separate the dogs when they are learning new behaviors. Once the behaviors are solidified individually, then try to work with them together.

Many owners who have littermates don’t realize how important it is to socialize their dogs separately with other dogs and with people. During puppyhood, it’s extremely important to take your puppy safe places and expose them to the real world. Expose them to safe, older dogs, children, shopping carts, skateboards, etc. Let them see the world. This is much harder to do with two dogs than one.

What do we recommend? We always tell people to wait at least 6mos before adding another dog to your pack. That gives you time to bond to the first dog and get them off to a good start from a training standpoint. Then if you feel you are ready for the commitment of another dog, go for it!

Unleash Your Dog’s Potential

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