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We have raised GSD pups in the past but never two (brothers) at once and I'm really worried about training. They're 11 weeks old, never been apart, and we brought them home 6 days ago. Because of the holiday, there were lots of people and other dogs visiting. The boys were showered with attention and we had zero time to work on establishing house rules. Today, they have been introduced to their crate and seem to like it just fine UNTIL I take one outside and away. The one left behind goes nuts. The one I have outside with me, is not relaxed enough to even play with a toy with me.

Should I separate their crates? Keep them out of sight of one another? Do I need to break their bond in order to establish our dominance?

Thanks -
 

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You are in for a lot of work if you want to raise them in a way that you can have a relationship with each dog individually so that each dog can live without the other one in sight, smell, hearing distance. Being a GSD, each dog needs a lot of one-on-one work with you. Please read the above articles mentioned by Mary Beth.
The following idea is meant respectfully: you only have had them for a week. How about keeping one and return the other one to the breeder to save yourself a ton of work and possibly stress? I really realize that this can be a heartbreaking thing to do. Another issue that can come up later is same sex aggression in siblings when they hit adolescence.
 

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Raising two puppies together is a bad idea. Bonding issues between the dogs and people, separation anxiety, and oh god the same sex aggression between 2 males you will face as they reach maturity. Seriously consider rehoming one now while it is still young and cute...

Otherwise... you will need separate training sessions. Separate potty breaks. Separate play times. Separate bonding/chill time. Lots of crating and rotating.

Also... Why so concerned with "establishing dominance"!?!?! Pick up some modern dog books please. Dominance theory training has been thoroughly debunked. At 11 weeks you should be more concerned with bonding, imprinting desired behaviors, and setting a solid foundation...
 

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Why did you bring two home? I mean, was this a decision you made at the breeders or do you have a need for two puppies?
 

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The first trainer I ever went to put it like this. If you have two young dogs you better be able to give each dog the only dog experience. As stated above separate walks, training, potty breaks, socialization. The dogs have to be more bonded with you than with each other. This is a lot of work but it is possible. I have a 2 1/2 yr old, a. 19 month old and a 17 month old or something close to that. I spend more time with my dogs than I do people most of the time. To do it and do it right you have to make dogs a lifestyle, not just a pet.
But I want dogs I can take places, do sport with, dogs that listen. If you just want dogs that never leave the house, remedially listen, depend on each other for entertainment and worth than maybe less time would be required.
 

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I agree with what @cdwoodcox said. Littermates/two puppies same age are a lot of work, but it is possible to be successful. Mine are male/female, 7 months old. Can't speak to the same sex, but I understand that will be harder at adolescence.

I think separating the crates is a good idea, but personally, we (my husband and I) didn't do that. One of us took one out to the bathroom, while the other one stayed in with the other one. Some whining from one at the beginning, but that eventually subsided. Keep separating them and eventually, they'll get used to it, at least from my short experience.

At the beginning, my husband would take one for a walk while I stayed in and trained the other, and then we switched. By the time they were 4/5 months old, I could train them together and still do. Teach one a trick/command, treat, then the other one. They've gotten used to waiting their turn, amazingly. But I do suggest, at this age, separating them quite a bit to help bond with you.

It is possible to raise two at a time, but I will tell you personally it has been very trying on my patience, health, emotions, you name it. To do it right, it takes a lot of sacrifices. I'm still making those sacrifices. If you're dedicated to them, you can do it and be successful. Good luck!
 

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Welcome to the forum mate! So you decided to bring home sibling males...why? And this is not a rhetorical question, I'm seriously interested in hearing your reasoning behind that decision. It's doable, but unless you're seriously committed, you will be overwhelmed by the issues that go along with raising these boys...

It is important, as others have said to train and walk and house them separately...and yes, you will have some separation whining to deal with, but it's essential that you do it anyway and soon. It does get better, but kennelling them in different parts of your house is an important first step. It's okay for them to play together, but for limited time each day. The point, as others have said is to sort of break their bond with each other, while they build a bond with you and your family. If they spend much time together each day this won't happen, and you'll miss an important developmental opportunity with them. Good Luck whatever you decide!
 

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I would suspect that the puppy left behind in the crate would be crying if he were an only puppy and you locked him up and walked away. I wouldn't read too much into it.

I have successfully raised two same age puppies on multiple occasions, I don't do back flips or anything special. I rarely provide the only dog experience, and they all have turned out just fine without any unusual bonding or other issues. I have never experienced "Litter Mate Syndrome" in that respect.

I also find raising two puppies together to be much easier than raising one. There are other members here on this forum that have found the same. Sorry but I can't find that thread.

What I would advise against is raising two same age, same sex puppies. Be prepared for a lifetime of crate and rotate when they hit around two years of age.
 

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We have raised GSD pups in the past but never two (brothers) at once and I'm really worried about training. They're 11 weeks old, never been apart, and we brought them home 6 days ago. Because of the holiday, there were lots of people and other dogs visiting. The boys were showered with attention and we had zero time to work on establishing house rules. Today, they have been introduced to their crate and seem to like it just fine UNTIL I take one outside and away. The one left behind goes nuts. The one I have outside with me, is not relaxed enough to even play with a toy with me.

Should I separate their crates? Keep them out of sight of one another? Do I need to break their bond in order to establish our dominance?

Thanks -
The one you have with you does feel secure away from their sibling. Each pup needs to build a bond with you as well as be comfortable without the presence of the other. Build a bond based on trust not dominance.
 

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Like others have said - bad idea, but what's done is done. I don't say bad idea with the intent to call your intelligence into question. Just that it's going to be a challenge and most people who adopt two at once don't really realize what they're in for with any breed let alone a working breed. Robert Cabral has an excellent video (free, on YouTube) for training two pups at once. The broad strokes of it are LOTS of structure (massive structure which means you need two crates/two kennels in different areas) and LOTS of time apart individually working with you. If you fail to do that, they will bond with each other more than you and you're in for a massive nightmare. Lots of structure, never working with them both at once with very limited playtime together (if at all). Once a good foundation is set and they both have rock solid obedience things can loosen a bit. And during the first stages until they're basically perfectly obedient - everyone in the home needs to maintain the structure. It cannot be flimsy and it can't be negotiable. Out of sight, never together and only working with one at a time (if you have someone that can work with the other at the same time that's great too, but never together or within sight/earshot of each other).

Personally I'd find another home for one of them. They'll have an easier time as will you. But if you choose to keep both, read the links provided, check out Robert Cabral (he even answers questions for folks) and look up every resource you can. GSDs are a challenge enough by themselves, two siblings is going to be tough.
 

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I raised littermates. Potty training was super fast, they enjoyed playing with each other- matched energy levles, and I never have had problems with dogs bonding more to each other than me. I think with shepherds, that's pretty normal if you spend time with them and make sure to individually train.

The red flag for me with this situation, is that you have male siblings. It's so not fun to deal with fights in the family.

This is a very real problem you will probably face at 2- 3 years of age, and enough reason to return a pup, in my opinion. A male shepherd fight is incredibly scary and dangerous- you have a chance to avoid that right now. It's not the sibling syndrome that bothers me, I've never had that problem- it's the future fights.

Neutered or not, won't make much difference. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the risk is not worth it.
 

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I raised littermates. Potty training was super fast, they enjoyed playing with each other- matched energy levles, and I never have had problems with dogs bonding more to each other than me. I think with shepherds, that's pretty normal if you spend time with them and make sure to individually train.

The red flag for me with this situation, is that you have male siblings. It's so not fun to deal with fights in the family.

This is a very real problem you will probably face at 2- 3 years of age, and enough reason to return a pup, in my opinion. A male shepherd fight is incredibly scary and dangerous- you have a chance to avoid that right now. It's not the sibling syndrome that bothers me, I've never had that problem- it's the future fights.

Neutered or not, won't make much difference. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the risk is not worth it.
I would be curious to hear if anybody on this forum actually experienced Litter Mate Syndrome with the pups being bonded to each other and failing to bond with the owner. Not everybody has raised two puppies together but of those that do (did), I never heard of this anywhere but on a Google search. I do wonder as well if it is something not common in this breed but in others.
 

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I had two litter sisters in my class who were GSD mixes (for sure). They were about 6 months old at the time and couldn't even function without each other, while being placed diagonally in the room. They lunged and whined and ignored their owners, just trying to get closer to each other. I finally placed them next to each other in order not to disrupt the class and worked with them afterwards.
I also had 2 Silken Windhound brother pups in my class. No problem with them. The owners took one to another trainer for follow up classes in order to separate them. They always lived together, were hardly separated and never was there a fight. The sight hounds are so much easier in this compared to the more intense breeds.

Any changes made OP?
 

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Not everybody has raised two puppies together but of those that do (did), I never heard of this anywhere but on a Google search. I do wonder as well if it is something not common in this breed but in others.
Funny you should mention this, MAWL; I was just wondering the same thing. I had IWs since the early 90s. Via internet groups, I got to know breeders, show folks and simple breed fans like myself. While it wasn't common practice, folks of all stripes raised littermates or same-age puppies together. I don't recall ever hearing/reading about littermate syndrome. In fact, a good friend of mine who's now bred two litters kept a pair (mf) with no problems or disruption in her bond with the (now) adults. Makes me wonder whether this is really a 'thing' that might be more common in some breeds than in others and, if it is, why that would be?

Aly
 

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The one you have with you does feel secure away from their sibling. Each pup needs to build a bond with you as well as be comfortable without the presence of the other. Build a bond based on trust not dominance.
Should read does "not"
 

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I would be curious to hear if anybody on this forum actually experienced Litter Mate Syndrome with the pups being bonded to each other and failing to bond with the owner. Not everybody has raised two puppies together but of those that do (did), I never heard of this anywhere but on a Google search. I do wonder as well if it is something not common in this breed but in others.
We did not experience litter mate syndrome with our girls. We made what would be considered mistakes by housing them together early on while away at work. We did do a lot of activities separately too, hikes, camping, etc... . We took seperate classes early on, but we also took classes together later without issue.

There are a lot of variables at play, the people, their involvement and the dogs themselves will all factor in.
 

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Over the years, there has been a pretty high number of members coming on the forum looking for help with issues stemming from raising two pups together. Many of these issues were classic litter-mate syndrome. Usually, they didn't care for the advice to rehome one, or weren't willing to keep them separate and put in the time to work with them individually, so they disappeared off the forum.

The people here who have raised or are raising pups close in age or littermates are doing something right without even realizing it, and are making it work. So I think the forum is not a realistic representation of what issues people face when dealing with littermate syndrome.
 

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I agree that dog owners on this forum are probably atypical in a good way.

In my experience, pups are hard wired to seek out human attention over and above that of their siblings and even their dam. Pups open their eyes and immediately start seeking out people. Clambering out of the whelping box to go say hi to their person, running full tilt across the grass to cuddle with, chew on, interact with the human. They'll leave sibling play and rush to a person who enters the yard. They get extremely excited when their owner enters a room- from a very very young age.

It's hard to mess that up, but I suppose it happens.
 

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I guess we as humans, still do not fully understand dogs and their mysterious ways. They continue to baffle me sometimes. It's unlike any other species.
 
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