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Yes, I know all about littermate syndrome; I am an ethologist and know a lot about dog behavior in general. My problem is how to cope with the scenario unfolding, and that I do not have a crystal ball. We had a litter of 7 mutts (we are not breeders, it's a long story) and managed to get 4 adopted to great homes. We have the parents, both rescues from Mexico, shepherd / greyhound and maybe lab mixes. Now we still have 2 boys and a girl. I wanted to keep only 1 pup (the girl), my husband is fighting me tooth and nail and wants to keep all 3. It is a big problem, meanwhile three adoptees for one male bailed on us (nothing to do with the puppy).

At 8 weeks old one of the males (Sam) began fighting with all pups (except the female we have now) and by fighting I mean grabbing hard and not letting go, real fights though amazingly they managed never to break the skin. He wasn't the only one initiating fights, but did so the most frequently. We kept him separate from the other males, but now with 3 pups approaching 6 months old I slowly reintroduced the males to each other, both have recently been neutered.

They have all interacted for hours on end together for a couple weeks, though I try and keep the energy low when they are all together. No fights, but now and then Sam growls at the other or puts his hackles up. I do NOT want to keep 3 but that may be my reality, at least for now. Meanwhile there is no way I can train, play, and work with each separately when we already have 3 other adult dogs. I do a little training with each individually but not every day. We do live in a rural place with a lot of fenced space thankfully. I exercise them a lot every day. I do 95% of the exercising and training but I work at home at a job, I cannot be dog mom 24/7.

I know my husband is being totally unreasonable, but he may never budge on this without hearing some real world stories and not just my fears.

So I could appreciate any stories - good and bad ! - from people who raised siblings - not to mention we have the mom and dad, too.

Thanks in advance.
 

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My grandfather wound up with littermate Bostons some years past. Never separated, they are never more than a foot from each other. The male constantly bullies the female (they are both fixed, thank goodness), pushing between her and people trying to per her, or treats, or taking toys. She's constantly withdrawn and timid. But even so, they can't even go to the vet individually without both freaking out. My grandfather has since passed, and I'm worried for my grandmother having to deal with the fallout when one of those dogs dies.

My wife's family had a hunting dachshund litter off their female when she (my wife) was growing up, and they kept a female puppy. Everything was fine until the female puppy started sexually maturing and behaving more adult. Suddenly she and her mother were getting in fights - and nasty ones. Now spaying both parties may help prevent something like this (spaying and neutering is only done here in Norway for medical/behavioral reasons, not as routine), but even desexed bitches who decide they dislike each other are going to be a problem. The general wisdom in the dog world is "males fight for breeding rights, females fight for breathing rights", so if you have a personality conflict between the girl and mom as they age you may well be looking at serious behavioral intervention (I don't know what your experience is, but for most people who don't work professionally as dog behaviorists this would need professional outside help), crate-and-rotate indefinitely, or rehoming. My in-laws decided to rehome the puppy, in their case.

I've seen littermates be fine, I've seen them go terribly badly, but if you're the one doing 90+% of the work with these dogs, your husband either needs to step up and pitch in with these puppies or step off and let you do what you feel is best for you and them. He does not get to make a decision that puts you in a place where you have more work than you can handle - you and all six dogs will suffer for it. I know he's not thinking of it that way, but it's what's happening and he needs to realize that.
 

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I know of people who had a vet bill of close to $10,000 when two littermate Rottweiler brothers got into it. They were intact because they were being shown and out in a yard together, so the whole thing wasn't too bright IMO, but it seems lots of people play with that fire. And who am I to criticize - I once had a fight between 2 neutered male rescue dogs that ended up with one having to have his ears amputated.
 

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I wouldn't

I'd be so frustrated having to crate and rotate until adulthood
 

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I have kept siblings a number of times. But only in hounds that I hunted with. Litter mate syndrome does not matter in a pack of hounds.... In fact it can work in your favor...
 

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Here's what I would recommend ....

Keep the FOUR dogs that you have, the three adults plus the one female puppy. Ensure that ALL are spayed or neutered. There's no point in bringing any future pups into the world if good homes for them can't easily and readily be found.

Training, living with, and being liable for the actions of 6 dogs is a skill reserved for the most experienced and dedicated dog owners, simply because it is a difficult task to accomplish. There is a vast difference between caring for 3 dogs, as compared to 6. Group dynamics (ie: potential dog fights, etc), veterinary costs, socializing and training time are merely a few of the necessary considerations. Responsible dog owners must be absolutely CERTAIN they possess the wherewithal to begin with. And also have the agreement -- and ideally, the participation -- of ALL family members involved, from the onset of acquisition right through till the dogs' final days.

As for the two male pups. Again, if good homes can't be found asap, then surrender them to a reputable agency that CAN find them a permanent home. It is my opinion that this is much better done sooner, rather than later. Difficulty in placement will likely rise as time goes on.
 

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First off, your husband is being an A**, for the record. You're doing 95% of the work, but he thinks he gets a say in keeping 3 SIBLING PUPPIES who are NOT GETTING ALONG great at the moment?!?!?! Good god. You could absolutely not under any circumstances PAY ME to deal with that.

I don't have any stories to tell you because I'm not insane, but you can give your husband my list of logical reasons why he's out of his damn mind:

1. Three puppies is not three times the work...it is about 12x the work. You will be spending HOURS training & exercising each puppy every day individually in order to avoid littermate syndrome. Your adult dogs will likely be neglected, because even with one puppy under normal circumstances, the adults lose some of your attention! You won't have time to do anything else or actually enjoy the dogs, and you can tell your husband that the only time he'll see you is when you come back to the house to switch out dogs!

2. If these dogs don't end up getting along well, or your adult dogs don't end up getting along well with the puppies, you'll be crating and rotating for the rest of their lives, or keeping them completely separate with baby gates. It won't matter that you have six dogs, because you'll only be enjoying one or two of them at a time.

3. If you ever decide to go on vacation and your pups still have a difficult dynamic, you have to find someone who is willing to crate and rotate and keep them separate, or find multiple dog sitters. Good luck with that! And you're poor wallet....

4. You're going to have three senior dogs at the same time. Are you prepared for those vet bills? That loss when all three die close to each other?

I am sorry, I am so angry for you. I would throw the whole husband away if he had the audacity to demand we keep 3 puppies and expect me to do most of the work. You will burn yourself out attempting to get those pups trained properly. At the very least, your husband needs to step up and agree to take a larger part in the care of these dogs he so desperately wants for some reason.
 

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The one male sounds like he is a project all on his own. And honestly, his behavior will probably get worse, not better. Your husband expecting you to do most of the work while he is the one who wants to keep all of them is unreasonable and unfair, especially when dealing with a dog who has behavior issues. Crate and rotate is difficult at the best of times. Crate and rotate for years, running the risk of a serious fight if strict protocols aren't followed, would be untenable for me.

IMO, if he want to keep the "problem child", then he should be the one to deal with said problem child entirely on his own.
 
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