Signs of Littermate Syndrome in Dogs
At first, puppies with littermate syndrome may seem like they’re acting out or in need of obedience training. However, when dogs experience littermate syndrome, these behaviors are linked to their relationship to their littermate.
Signs of littermate syndrome in dogs can include excessive crying, whining, and destructive behavior when siblings are separated from one another, as well as a lack of interest in playing or interacting with other people or pets in your household, says Collier.
Here are a few signs of littermate syndrome in puppies and dogs to look out for:
Fear of unfamiliar people, things, places, or noises. Puppies may avoid interactions with new people, dogs, or things; become very still and quiet when you approach them; or bark, growl, and snap when presented with new things or situations.
High anxiety when separated from the other pup. Puppies may whine, bark, pace, pant, or exhibit destructive behavior when they’re separated from their littermate.
Unwillingness to eat alone. Dogs experiencing littermate syndrome may only want to eat if their sibling is present.
Unwillingness to engage with people or toys when alone. As previously mentioned, littermate syndrome sometimes causes puppies to focus on the other puppy rather than the humans in the home. Puppies who are only willing to play in pairs may be exhibiting signs.
Difficulty with basic training. Training two puppies from the same litter may take longer than expected because puppies are so distracted by one another.
If you’re considering adopting two puppies at the same time, it’s important to consider the challenges that may come along with this decision, so that you can devote the time and energy to positive-reinforcement training.