We gots a subject that keeps a croppin’ up round here and that’s ‘raising littermates together‘. There seems to be lots of questions around the subject. Some folks say it’s fine, while others are totally against it. We have littermates in our family (my brother Ozzy and sister Brandi). Fer me, they are my brother and sister and they know I’m the boss WOOF! After all, I helped take care of em when they were just wee babes! Long as they remember that, we’ll be just fine and dandy. But, I’m a dog and I know humanz has other worries ’bout it. I’m gonna let my brother Ozzy and my Lady take over the blog today and give ya their thoughts on the matter.
My brother Ozzy says…
Ask anyone with a brother or sister an’ they’ll tell ya – there is no love deeper or no hate stronger than what can develop ‘tween family. A strong momma or pappy makes all the difference in what happens. I’m let my Lady tell her side, then I’ll tell ya what I think. Might be I’ll even let my sister tell what SHE thinks (but she’s wrong!)
Here’s what my Lady’s says about Raising Littermates Together:
Most vets agree that raising littermates is not a good idea. Some will flat out refuse to let you even try, but if you do find yourself with sibling puppies either by choice or because you find them in your shed in a snowstorm like we did, know that it can be done but it’s hard. It’s not twice as hard, it’s probably three times as hard. You still have to do all the things that you would do to train a single pup, but know you have to do it for each of them individually, then for both of them together. It also means twice the food, twice the poop, twice the vet bills…you get the picture. Also, know that those cute little fluff balls will eventually grow up!
I’ve raised littermates twice and have had good luck with it, but even if you do everything right, there’s a chance that they will never get along and you are forced to re-home one of them, for their own safety. So, if you are thinking about it, here are a few things to keep in mind.
A few things to keep in mind when raising littermates:
• They need their own space (and toys). Separate toys, food bowls and most importantly, crates. This will prevent them fighting over things and teaching them to sleep apart will reduce the chance that they will develop separation anxiety.
• Train them individually before you even attempt to train them together. Training them individually serves two purposes. It lets you train them better, because the other will not always be around to distract them, meaning they will focus on you and learn better. It also encourages them to bond with you and not just each other. It will also teach them it is ok to be apart, also reducing anxiety. Once they are trained by themselves, work on teaching them to obey individual commands while they are together.
• If you have a choice, get opposite sexes and have them spayed or neutered. Two males are more likely to fight each other than two females, but if the females do fight, it’s more likely for the fight to end in serious injury or even death. With opposite sexes, you are less likely to have behavioral problems.
• VERY IMPORTANT: Give each of them ONE-ON-ONE time with you, even after the training period ends. This is important for them to grow independent and learn to socialize with other dogs and people.
Raising littermates is hard work, but if you know what you are getting into and do it right, it can be done. I have had good experiences with it, but I also put the extra work, training and spent individual time to make sure they bonded with me. In both instances of me raising littermates together, they grew up to well behaved dogs who are the best of friends. Ozzy and Brandi are all grown up now and are doing very well! It has been an exhausting time, but we now have double the fun!
Ozzy wanted to say a few more words…
Tha’ thing is, in the dog eat dog world that us dogs live in, you need ta know where ya stand. Our Lady did a good job and we both love her lots and know she’s the boss. When she can’t be ‘round here, my sister is always here with me, ‘cept sometimes she has to go see the lady in the white coat without me. I might still yell and complain while she’s gone, but for the most part I’m alright with it. I know they’ll be back and I don’t totally get messed up ’bout it. I’m right proud my Lady decided she would tackle raising littermates together! Sometimes, my sister steals my food when I’m not lookin’ and sometimes I like to hide her toys, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.