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ADOPTING TWO DOGS AT THE SAME TIME – LITTERMATE SYNDROME

So are you thinking about or have you already adopted two pups from the same litter at the same time?

Just a word of warning, although this may seem like a good idea, sometimes things don’t run so smoothly. Speaking from experience – not all puppies like their brother or sisters just like us humans.

When we adopted Koffi as a pup, a friend also adopted her sister Paige.  These two fight.  We made the mistake of attending the same puppy class – they spent most of the time eyeing each other up from across the room and planning how they would get to each other.

Saying that, I have seen other dogs that remain with their siblings and have no problems. My advice is talk with the pups breeder – check and make sure the pups are currently getting along well, BEFORE you bring them home and find that they aren’t.

Littermate syndrome can result when two pups are brought home together – this can end in fights when they are together and anxiety when the pups are separated from each other.

Plus obviously there will be more toilet accidents, mouthing, chewing and general puppy naughtiness etc. “It’s more than twice the work; it’s exponential. The two combine to produce levels of energy that we can barely measure. Tension develops in training and compliance as they squeeze the owner out of the relationship. They’re always living with an enormous distraction—each other.” Dr Ian Dunbar

So, if you are reading this, more than likely you have already committed to two pups, and giving one up is probably out of the question.  By following the below information, our aim is to ensure that your two pups are raised as individuals.  This will help ensure they have confidence when separated from each other, are not overly dependent on each other, minimize conflict and resource guarding and strengthen their bond with you and your family.

This is what you should do:

Start confinement training – away from each other

This could include the use of two separate crates or pens.  Ideally in different rooms, and if not, with a visual barrier as a minimum.

Training 

Train each puppy every day as you would for any puppy – make sure that this is as a separate one on one thing. Perhaps feed the other pup in its crate using a kong etc during this time so that it is a pleasant experience for him/her at the same time.

Do lots of training that involves rewards from your hands – this will help the pups learn to focus on you and value you as well.  Many littermate puppies left to their own devices and to keep each other company don’t bond as well to their human family members.

Feed Separately

Use enrichment toys and set the dogs up to succeed by ensuring the toy is challenging but achievable.  Feed them separately so that they learn that being apart is a good thing, and this will also help to prevent resource guarding.

Exercise Separately

Ensure that you can remove one puppy from the property whilst the other one stays behind and that they are happy to do so.

So often, when working in the veterinary industry we have to have both family dogs come for a vet check when only one dog needs it, because the time hasn’t been put in to ensure that the dogs are comfortable being left alone.

​Imagine what happens if one pup gets sick or injured and needs to be hospitalised for a period.

Puppy School

All because your pup has a puppy friend, does not mean that you shouldn’t socialise him/her with other pups and dogs.  Think about kids that are in a home environment with mum, dad and a sibling or two, but do not attend family events with other children, kindergarten or school.  How well socialised are they, and what social skills may they be lacking when out and about in the general population?  Could this lack of social learning be a concern?

Attend a well-run puppy school – each puppy should have its own class.

There are many puppy schools available to you, however, you need to do your research, and make the right choice for your puppy.

A check list for a good puppy school is as follows

  • Uses positive reinforcement (reward based methods to train)
  • Has staff that are educated and have qualifications that relate to animal training and behaviour
  • Have small classes (maximum of 6 pups per trainer)
  • Has a set lesson plan and can define what you and your puppy will gain and learn from attending their puppy school
  • Allows both time on and off lead (for suitable puppies) and isn’t solely based on play
  • Play sessions are kept short, and managed to suit individual puppies
  • Focuses on teaching calm reliable behaviours
  • DOES NOT use outdated dominance related theories or techniques such as scruffing, alpha rolls or shooting with water pistols.

Monitor their play

The pups should be allowed to play together for short sessions each day (providing the puppies are both enjoying the play).

Supervise the play, look for role reversal, and even play.  Watch the body language of each puppy and intervene if either pup looks like they are not enjoying the game.

Ensure that they have frequent breaks from play – just like human children, it doesn’t take much for play to escalate and result in a fight.

Play games with each pup

Spend play time with each pup – again whilst the other is separated and busy doing something else enjoyable.  You are going to be making a lot of use of food enrichment toys!

Play games such as Fetch or Tug (with rules) – both these games involve your pup learning that again you are pretty cool, and they will want to be with and bond with you.

What else should you consider?

Budget – a puppy is expensive, two is a lot more expensive.
Do you have the finances to afford double of everything?
Don’t forget Pet Insurance or unplanned veterinary expenses.

Toilet training is twice as hard – you will need to watch each pup closely to ensure you can predict when they need to go out.  They may not always be on the same schedule, which could result in some very broken sleep for you. When there is an accident, will you know who did it?
  
Article Courtesy of Whole Dog Journal

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10 Tips for Finding the Perfect Forever Home for Your Foster Dog

By Katie Shannon

1. Be Patient: Some dogs have a line up for potential applicants and other dogs sit for weeks or even months waiting for a new home. There is the right home out there for every dog, sometimes you just have to wait a little while. Hang in there, it is worth it.

2. Adoptions Should Never Be “First Come, First Serve”: Sometimes the first applicant is not always the right one. If you don’t think its perfect, don’t be scared to wait it out a little bit longer.

3. Trust Your Gut: You have to be their advocate. If you get a bad feeling from an adopter or you just do not feel like it is a match made in heaven, speak up! You know this dog better than anyone else and genuinely want things to work out. They may not be a bad home; they may simply not be the best match for this dog.

4. Be Honest: Not all dogs are perfect. Be upfront and honest about any known history and behaviors. Surprises are not a good thing for new owners and their new pet. If your foster has some issues discuss them openly with potential adopters. You need to know if the new home is prepared and capable of managing them or not.

5. Manners: Great manners is an excellent way to positively portray them to anyone who meets them, and any prospective families. Always put their best paw forward.

6. Ambassador Dog:  One of the biggest reasons a home does not work out with a new pet is behavioral issues, many of which stem from a lack of training. Give your foster the best chance at a successful placement by helping the new family out and getting a head start on training.

7. Social Media: Use it to your advantage; share cute stories and videos and tell all your friends, (and the rest of world), how wonderful (and adorable) they are. Share, share, share. Dogs can have social media too. Set up a Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter account, of their own.

8. “Advertise”:  You need to tell the world that they are available. Rescue groups post adoptable dogs on their websites, but do not simply rely on this alone for exposure. You need to tell the world that they are ready to be adopted and eagerly looking for their family. When in public, or at the dog park, what greater way to attract attention than by sporting one of our “Adopt Me” leashes and collars so everyone knows this dog is looking for a new home.

9.Professional Photos: Capture your dog’s pupsonality with professional style photos.  You do not have to be a pro, but set aside time to dedicate to a proper photoshoot. Take photos outside in sunlight or slight overcast skies to get the best lighting. Snap tons of photos and pick the best. Using a squeaky toy can help capture cute head tilts, perky ears and big puppy dog eyes.

10. Profile: Create a captivating profile by including interesting quirks, personality traits and favorite activities that readers can relate to. Showcase which type of home and setting would be the ideal match so applicants know a head of time if they are a good fit. This will help weed out interest from adoptees that may not suit the lifestyle and needs of the dog.