This article comes to us from Wayne Booth, of Canine Behavior Specialists, a dog training company in Nashville, TN. Wayne also offers dog training information on his blog at DogTrainingBlogger.com . I hope you enjoy the article.
This is a question I am asked quite often…. here are my thoughts on the subject.
Bringing home a new family member is an exciting event in anyone’s life. You may thinking – “I don’t want my puppy to be alone. Maybe I should bring home his brother or sister to keep him company.” Is this idea a good one or not? There are several things to consider before bringing home two sibling pups.
To begin with, as you probably know, a single dog is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Puppies require a lot of time, effort, love and attention that will be a significant part of your life when they come home with you. Two puppies is twice the amount of time, effort, love and attention and twice the responsibility. Be sure that you have the desire and the resources to offer that to two new family members.
Another thing to consider is that when two dogs are raised together, they bond a lot more to their sibling than they do to their human companion. Oftentimes, this affects their capacity to be trained, as they have less a desire to please their human handlers than if they had had time to bond closely and solely with their master. If a dog has his brother or sister to be close to, they may very well wind up too close and pay more attention to their sibling than to you.
Dogs are pack animals and two dogs together are a pack. Remember that packs are powerful things that function away from and outside of human influence and can be tough, if not impossible, to control. When a pack forms, a pack order must be established and this can mean problems for your brother sister team. Fights can break out when the two are bickering for the alpha role. This means that one or both of them could get hurt and that they could easily develop aggression issues, which are very difficult to deal with as a human handler.
If you are considering taking home two puppies from the same litter because of your breeder’s influence, be cautious. Remember that this is the breeder’s business and they may be just trying to make an easy extra sale with you. If your breeder encourages taking home two puppies at once without discussing the difficulties that comes along with having sibling dogs, steer clear and seek out a different breeder.
On the plus side, a brother sister duo may keep each other company and be able to play with one another. This, however, can happen by raising one puppy to adulthood and adopting another after you have the first dog trained. This solution is far less difficult than raising sibling puppies at once.
Remember that dogs don’t have the same emotional bond with their families that humans do and that a dog can be perfectly happy raised far from any of his littermates. The concept “I don’t want to separate them!” is derived from inaccurate assumptions about a dog’s family attachments and can lead to a very difficult situation.
If you must raise two puppies from the same litter at once, be sure to be in contact with a good dog behaviorist and your breeder as your situation will require a lot of work and you’ll need professional and experienced advice!