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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two litter brothers who are 5 months old. One got sick and had to be taken to vet hospital for 3 days. We continued dog at home schedule, and while he was subued, he ate and drank. He sat in all the places the other dog did, he looked for him, he was genuinely sad. We reassured him, his brother would be back.
We got his brother back yesterday and despite the look of " where the hell have you been" he was happy to see him, sniffing him, licking him, etc.
My concern is that I believe that he thought his brother was gone for good, and was grieving his loss, now he is back home, he is trying to process that he is not gone for good, it was the first time they were separated since birth.
I hope my bouncing rebel without a clue returns soon.
 

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It's possible the pups are starting to develop littermate syndrome. That's when two dogs who are close together in age (not necessarily littermates) begin to form such a strong bond with each other that they can't function without the other and become frantic, panicked, or "not themselves" when they are separated from the other dog for any period of time. This becomes especially problematic when they have to be separated for vet visits or really any other reason, as you've noticed.

That being said, dogs do notice the loss of family members and sometimes seem to grieve, but since you were alarmed enough about this change in behavior to post about it here, I think littermate syndrome is something that needs to be on your radar.

In order to ensure the pups form a strong bond with their human caretakers and NOT with each other, it's important to keep them separated. They should be fed separately, walked separately, crated separately, and trained separately. They can still have play sessions, of course, but the vast majority of their time needs to be spent apart. Here is some more information on littermate syndrome that you might find interesting from Patricia McConnel.
 

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I absolutely, 100% agree with Lillith regarding 'littermate syndrome'. Get those pups living separate lives NOW. Not next week, or tomorrow, but..... NOW! I think it's wonderful when dogs have live-in playmates & companions, but not to the point that they can't function without each other. Discover who each dog is, as an individual, for the next few months. Work, train, and play with them each as separate, independent dogs. Then, once they have fully bonded with you & you understand their individual personalities, can you bring them together once again.
 

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Cat-dog, GSD spayed female and Tornado-dog, JRT mix, neutered male
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You indicate that the one seemed to miss the other and when the other returned, he was happy to see him. But you really didn't explain why you think the one is having a difficult time adjusting. Are you observing behaviors that seem off or concerning? Or is it just two best buddies who have been reunited and you are simply commenting on the show of emotions?

In my opinion, I think the biggest issue with adopting littermates is that you are trying to train and bond with both at the same time. This makes it difficult.

I've never seen "littermate syndrome". I have seen two littermates go to the same home and then put in the backyard to entertain each other. The lack of human bonding is due to the lack of human interaction. In most cases, the dogs never leave the home because the owner can't or won't dedicate the one-on-one time to each individually to train them, so the dogs never go out on walks, etc, and therefore never experience anything but each other.

With negative dog-to-dog behaviors, I find that is most often because as the puppies grow up they develop individual personalities and those personalities don't always mesh. When you bring dogs in at separate times, you tend to select the second for its compatibilty with the first. If you bring in a young puppy to a home with an older dog, that older dog establishes the rules for interaction. As the puppy grows up it may change, but they have most often developed a pattern.

As I write this, I'm watching Tornado-dog and Cat-dog interact. Tornado-dog is being pushy and obnoxious. Cat-dog interacted for a few minutes and then told him off. He went and bothered the cat, who told him to get lost. Now he has returned to Cat-dog and is laying down by her peacefully.

With two puppies the same age and who came into the home at the same time, there is no standard pecking order. So they may be more likely to fight to establish that. And if both are natural born leaders, you may not have one back down because they both see themselves as "in charge".

And if they are not fixed, the dogs are more likely to argue over resources and that can lead to fighting if they are of similar strong personalities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have two litter brothers who are 5 months old. One got sick and had to be taken to vet hospital for 3 days. We continued dog at home schedule, and while he was subued, he ate and drank. He sat in all the places the other dog did, he looked for him, he was genuinely sad. We reassured him, his brother would be back.
We got his brother back yesterday and despite the look of " where the hell have you been" he was happy to see him, sniffing him, licking him, etc.
My concern is that I believe that he thought his brother was gone for good, and was grieving his loss, now he is back home, he is trying to process that he is not gone for good, it was the first time they were separated since birth.
I hope my bouncing rebel without a clue returns soon.
Actually
 
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