Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

My friend and I have recently become owners of 2 adorable Retrievers pups, They are about 2 months old. The burning question here is about the LitterMate Syndrome.They have been with for a month now, I have started to notice that when they are together they keep playing with themselves and tend to ignore us . We have started to keep them in separate rooms and train them separately , thus giving them our undivided attention. However I am worried about them bonding with themselves more than with the us , their owners.
Are there chances that they might develop LitterMate Syndrome and end up not bonding with us?
I'd really appreciate your thoughts on this and any input or advice you have to offer.

Thank You
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
How much time are they spending together right now? I would honestly limit it to maybe 30 minutes a day if even that. Crate and rotate them, no sleeping together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
One thing you could do to help them learn to focus on you is this:
-You and your friend each get one of the puppies, put them on a leash, and take them to opposite sides of the room. Then do "look at me" (on of THE most important commands) and some basic obedience like "sit" and "lie down", or whatever else they know. Reward with high value treats or play. Do the same with playing games. Take them to opposite corners and play with them individually. If you think you can trust them, you can phase out the leash, but only if you're sure they're ready to listen to just you.
-Also, try working on recalling them from each other: Keep them on a leash so you can guide them to you if they don't listen, call them (you call one, your friend calls the other), and reward with high value food or play when they come (even if you had to practically drag them) and then release them to play with each other as a reward.
-Keeping them separate is a good and valuable tool, just make sure to do things like this as well- otherwise it will not address their lack of focus when they actually are together.

But if you are sure to play with them, do trick training, maybe even try a dog sport when they're old enough (I'd encourage doing something like this with any dog, even if it's not competitive- it strengthens the bond, helps solve boredom and excess energy) and pet them, maybe even try hand feeding- They will probably bond with you just fine. Dogs have the genetics and instincts to want to work with and for their humans.

When teaching commands, you won't want to teach just "sit", as that will create confusion- if you tell your one dog "Sit" and they both sit, but you only reward the dog you we're talking to, the second dog will learn that "sit" isn't a profitable or important command for them. Rather, you should teach "Fido-Sit" and "Spot-Sit" (of course, using their names instead of Spot and Fido). They will learn the command as "FidoSit", because they won't make the 2-word connection. This way, you don't have to come up with new or creative alternate commands. If they're really smart and you're up to it, you may also teach a "FidoSpotSit" down the road to control both. But not right away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How much time are they spending together right now? I would honestly limit it to maybe 30 minutes a day if even that. Crate and rotate them, no sleeping together.
Sure, Thank you for your response.
Well, at the moment they are spending quite a lot of time together, I will limit that to 30 min. Also can they be kept in different crate/playpans in the same room or should i isolate them to different rooms as well?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One thing you could do to help them learn to focus on you is this:
-You and your friend each get one of the puppies, put them on a leash, and take them to opposite sides of the room. Then do "look at me" (on of THE most important commands) and some basic obedience like "sit" and "lie down", or whatever else they know. Reward with high value treats or play. Do the same with playing games. Take them to opposite corners and play with them individually. If you think you can trust them, you can phase out the leash, but only if you're sure they're ready to listen to just you.
-Also, try working on recalling them from each other: Keep them on a leash so you can guide them to you if they don't listen, call them (you call one, your friend calls the other), and reward with high value food or play when they come (even if you had to practically drag them) and then release them to play with each other as a reward.
-Keeping them separate is a good and valuable tool, just make sure to do things like this as well- otherwise it will not address their lack of focus when they actually are together.

But if you are sure to play with them, do trick training, maybe even try a dog sport when they're old enough (I'd encourage doing something like this with any dog, even if it's not competitive- it strengthens the bond, helps solve boredom and excess energy) and pet them, maybe even try hand feeding- They will probably bond with you just fine. Dogs have the genetics and instincts to want to work with and for their humans.

When teaching commands, you won't want to teach just "sit", as that will create confusion- if you tell your one dog "Sit" and they both sit, but you only reward the dog you we're talking to, the second dog will learn that "sit" isn't a profitable or important command for them. Rather, you should teach "Fido-Sit" and "Spot-Sit" (of course, using their names instead of Spot and Fido). They will learn the command as "FidoSit", because they won't make the 2-word connection. This way, you don't have to come up with new or creative alternate commands. If they're really smart and you're up to it, you may also teach a "FidoSpotSit" down the road to control both. But not right away.
Thank you so much. This is very helpfull.
Also can they be kept in different crate/playpans/enclosure in the same room or should i isolate them to different rooms completely?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,906 Posts
Personally I would separate them completely, at least for now, for a very practical reason: you want them to be comfortable crated/penned alone for when they need to travel alone in a car, stay overnight at a vet, one is coming with one of you to visit family but not the other, etc. Down the line you might move them to having pens/crates in the same room if you want to use crates long-term, but it'll be a lot easier to get them comfortable settling in a confined space without each other nearby if you work on that when they're puppies first.

If they're very difficult to separate and there's a lot of distress and screaming, you can try separating them slowly, starting with separate crates side by side, and moving them farther apart, adding partial visual barriers (like a piece of furniture between them), and eventually getting to separate rooms over the course of a few days/weeks, depending on how quickly they become comfortable with each step.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
243 Posts
Definitely what @DaySleepers said. Separate them completely if possible, and if not, work up to it slowly. Otherwise they may never be able to handle full separation because they'll be too attached- Which seems to be what you're trying to avoid.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top