If you're thinking of adding a puppy to your family, you may be considering bringing home two pups so they can keep each other company. After all, it can't be much more difficult than having one young dog to care for - or can it?
Raising two littermates can indeed be more challenging than bringing up a single puppy. This is because they've spent their entire lives together and already have a very close bond. This isn't a bad thing, and it is nice to see your two dogs get on well. However, in many cases this bond can interfere with their relationship with you, their pet parent.
Apart from working with two dogs that are often closer to each other than they are to you, there are the practical aspects of raising puppies. Young dogs need attention and training; toilet training is a major task in those early months. Imagine the cleaning up if you have two puppies that are learning to control their bowels and bladders at the same time. It's more time-consuming and can definitely be more stressful.
Many sibling dogs are with each other 24 hours a day and don't spend any time apart. This can cause problems if they have to be separated; for example, if one has to be hospitalized. If that happens, the dog left at home can suffer from separation anxiety and become extremely distressed.
Most expert trainers suggest that you don't take on the task of two sibling dogs, particularly if you're a novice pet parent. However, if you are already in that situation, there are some things you can do to make life easier for yourself.
Make sure that each dog has plenty of alone time with you. This means you should take them out for a walk on their own and even take them to obedience classes without their sibling. This will allow them to get used to being away from their littermate and also help them to get comfortable with being home alone. It will also enhance your relationship with each dog individually. It's obvious that this will be a time-consuming way of raising and training your pups, but you'll appreciate the long-term benefits of having two independent dogs that are happy to be separated from their friend.
If your family desperately wants two dogs, it's a much better idea to choose and raise one pup, then at some later date, add the second dog to your family. You'll be able to spend one-on-one time with your first pet, mastering the art of potty training and teaching them basic manners. Then, when your second pup arrives, the first dog will be more mature and you can focus your efforts on training your new canine family member. If you don't want to wait and would like your two pups to grow up together, choose two from different litters that aren't likely to be as closely bonded.
It can be hard work raising puppies even for experienced pet parents. Housebreaking, helping them sleep through the night, and teaching them the rules of your household all take time and effort. It's double the effort with sibling pups, so unless you're well prepared for the challenges ahead, think very carefully before you take on this task.