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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

The Myth of Litter Mate Syndrome: Fact or Fiction

As a professional dog trainer, I frequently encounter the concept of Litter Mate Syndrome. This is the idea that raising two puppies from the same litter together can lead to behavioral issues such as aggression and anxiety. However, as an expert in canine behavior, I can confidently say that I do not believe in Litter Mate Syndrome.

There is no scientific evidence to support the idea of Litter Mate Syndrome. Many studies have looked at the behavior of dogs raised together and found no evidence that it leads to aggression or other behavioral problems. In fact, studies have shown that puppies raised together from a young age can have a positive impact on each other's social development.

Temperament, upbringing, genetics, and lack of training are more likely to impact a dog's behavior than whether or not they were raised with a litter mate. Litter Mate Syndrome is simply not a scientifically valid explanation for any behavioral issues that may arise in dogs.

It's important to note that dogs don't have to be littermates to become aggressive with one another or dependent on one another. Dogs can develop aggression towards other dogs they've never met before, and they can form strong bonds with dogs they've only known for a short time.

If you have two puppies from the same litter, the key is to focus on proper training, socialization, individual exercise, and enrichment. Give each puppy individual attention and training time, and don't rely solely on their interactions with each other for socialization. It's important to also provide each puppy with individual exercise and enrichment opportunities to prevent boredom and frustration.

Proper socialization with a variety of dogs of different ages, breeds, and sizes is crucial for a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dog. Additionally, providing each puppy with individual exercise and enrichment opportunities can prevent the development of destructive or anxious behaviors.

In conclusion, as a dog trainer, I firmly believe that Litter Mate Syndrome is a myth. Instead, focus on proper training, socialization, individual exercise, and enrichment for each puppy, regardless of whether or not they are from the same litter. By doing so, you can raise happy, well-adjusted dogs that will bring joy to your life for years to come.


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