Whether it be humans or dogs, blood is thicker than water. Sibling puppies, therefore, will be as difficult to handle as two fighting human siblings. Take extra care in case you are raising sibling puppies of the same age and gender.
The Litter-mate Syndrome
Though it is debated whether the condition of sibling puppies fighting and displaying aggression is a ‘syndrome’, many pet-parents report problems amongst puppies from the same litter. These include vicious fights (mostly unprovoked), display of aggression, damaged social skills, fearfulness of unfamiliar people or dogs, and a strong bond with the sibling which is damaging to the overall individual development of the puppy. The pet parents need to understand the working of the dog mind to avoid these conflicts.
As dogs are pack animals, their pack instinct is naturally strong. Thus, if the puppy has a close kin with it, it follows and imitates him rather than the humans around him. The bonding between them becomes so strong that it is inseparable and their individual growth remains stunted.
The fights that occur are also an issue of concern. It is natural for dogs to fight and establish a pack leader or alpha dog amongst them, which is generally the naturally dominant dog. These fights can turn violent. Siblings might hurt each other badly. In this case, what should be done to avoid the unpleasantness of the situation and be a happy family?
The first solution is a tough one. Some trainers will give you a word of precaution and maybe suggest the safest way is to give one sibling a new home. This helps in keeping the siblings as far as possible from each other and does a great deal to develop their personalities.
If it is not possible to re-home a sibling, you have to follow a routine of double-duty. Each puppy needs to be given a separate place in the same home and a separate routine. This includes separate meal times, walk and play times, veterinarian trips and classes. This is the nearest simulation of keeping them in different houses altogether.
Do Not Introduce A Third Dog
If the idea of two dogs didn’t please your heart enough and you decide to bring in a third one…don’t! It is so advised because the presence of the third dog will disturb the ongoing struggle for leadership amongst the siblings.
Take Extra Efforts To Socialize Them
If you are thinking that the siblings can never be put together, that’s not the case. They can be allowed to play together with supervision. Make an effort to socialize them with other dogs and humans so they can learn to interact and communicate with other dogs. Dog parks are not recommended for puppies (and they aren’t great for some adults dogs either). Check out training and/or boarding facilities near you because many have puppy play sessions precisely for socialization. You can also make play dates with friends and their dogs.
Another great alternative is searching your area for a certified professional positive dog trainer and to get advice on your unique situation as well as the support you all need to make your lives happy. It is a unique experience and learning solid foundation behaviors can make all the difference in the world.