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Should I get 2 puppies?


I think this is a question a lot of owners contemplate when they’re planning on bringing a puppy home. They will provide company and entertainment for each other! If I am having to go through it all with one, how hard can adding a second be? However, raising 2 puppies can be incredibly time consuming and not as straight forward as you might think.


What you will soon discover is that 2 puppies create twice as much mess and twice as much chaos as they feed off each other’s energy. This seemingly super strong attachment to each other is often what causes the biggest issue as they’re more interested in playing with each other than interacting with you. This makes training difficult and can make the house feel out of control when you have 2 dogs careering around doing what they want not listening to you! Most dog trainers and breeders will highly recommend not having littermates and to stagger puppy ownership; bringing in a second puppy when your older puppy has matured through adolescence and is where you would like them to be. This ensures you’ve had plenty of opportunities to build a strong relationship with each dog.


One issue that you might have heard of is littermate syndrome. This is the term that describes

littermates or puppies of the same development age developing behavioural concerns as they mature such as hyper attachment to each other, difficulty bonding with other animals, aggression towards each other and reduced independence in training. The concept is not recognised as a condition but anecdotally it is something that is seen fairly regularly when raising 2 puppies together. This is thought to be down to the sheer work that needs to be taken to ensure each puppy has the right socialisation, training and unique experiences required to become a confident, happy and well rounded dog.


So if you’re still thinking 2 puppies might be the right thing for you, let’s look at how you can be proactive in preventing issues.


Puppies should sleep separately. This might be something you have to do more gradually rather than going cold turkey. Have your puppies in crates or pens side by side with a view to gradually moving the crates further apart until your puppies are confident being apart. You may also wish to do this when you are practising leaving your puppies home alone too.



Make sure your puppies have separate resources. This means separate crates, separate food and water bowls, separate toys and separate chews. It is very normal for dogs to want to retain resources which they find valuable and we want your puppies to feel secure with what they have and that isn’t going to be taken by their annoying sibling.






Allow for plenty of 1 on 1 time. Your puppy needs the same amount of 1 on 1 time as they would have if there weren’t another puppy in the house. This means separate walks, separate training time and separate socialisation outings. This is vital to your puppy developing an individual identity and bonding with you. My experience is that 2 puppies in the same household develop into polar opposites of each other; 1 being more quiet and reserved and one being a bouncy boisterous extrovert. If this is the case, they will require very different approaches to socialising and training.


Attend puppy classes. The best hope of having any control over both dogs when they get big and strong is to have some reliable foundations individually. Most trainers will not accept 2 dogs from the same household in class. I don’t have a problem with it providing they are handled by separate people and work on separate sides of the room. They must have that confidence away from each other and the ability to focus on you even with distraction. 



Monitor play carefully. Much like human siblings, they play well but this play can turn sour when everyone gets over tired and over excited. Dogs are exactly the same. There is no issue with your puppies having some play time together but it is important you can control it and call time outs when it all gets a bit rough. Puppies can struggle to regulate their arousal meaning the longer that play goes on, the more likely it is to end in tears! Ensure you can separate play and send them to their beds or crates for a breather but also practise calm around each other so that their interactions are not always so boisterous.


Having 2 puppies is extremely hard work and whilst it can be done successfully, I can’t help but think it will take away some of the enjoyment of having a puppy.




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