My Littermate Syndrome article published in Bark Magazine

In July of last year, I published a blog post on this site about littermate syndrome, a condition in which behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two siblings’ deep bond impedes their ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication.  This essentially limits their ability to socialize normally.  This post has gone viral on multiple occasions, at times receiving ten of thousand of hits in a day.  Bark Magazine recently republished my article in the Winter edition:

Don’t Take Two Littermates
by Jeff Stallings, CPDT-KA

THE EMAIL described a familiar scenario: “We were planning to adopt one puppy, but the breeder said that raising two sisters would be easier. After we brought the girls home at nine weeks, their behavior became increasingly out of control. My husband and I could not get their attention for more than a second or two—it was as if we weren’t even in the same room. And then they started displaying alarming fearfulness of people and other dogs.” I made an appointment for a home visit so I could meet the family and the puppies.

Many dog behaviorists, trainers, breeders and shelters discourage adopting siblings. Anecdotal evidence suggests that behavioral issues may arise during key development periods because the two puppies’ deep bond impedes their individual ability to absorb and grasp the nuances of human and canine communication. Since fear is the canine’s default reaction to odd or unfamiliar stimuli, this muddled understanding of the world around them can lead to impaired coping mechanisms later on.

Click here to continue reading on Bark Magazine’s website.



About Jeff Stallings, CPDT-KA

Having owned well-trained dogs all my life, I started Better Nature Dog Training to exploit decades of experience teaching across a number of fields. I am nationally-certified through the highly-respected Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and am a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I teach people how to effectively train their dogs by clearly demonstrating that every interaction counts when training a dog to come when called, for example, or instructing a puppy how to best get along in life. I take a scientific and holistic approach to dog training. The scientific aspect comes from understanding dog psychology from an evolutionary perspective, knowing how dogs are both similar to and distinct from their ancestors, including the grey wolf. The holistic component derives from taking into account all facets of any particular dog’s situation, including upbringing, prior training, traumatic events and—most importantly—the characteristics of his home and family life. Training a puppy or dog can be a most rewarding life experience; it can also be stressful and perplexing. One of the best services I provide is taking the guesswork out while lending a sure, guiding hand in successful dog behavior development and modification.
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3 Responses to My Littermate Syndrome article published in Bark Magazine

  1. Roberto Jr says:

    Hi jeff. I have two american bully females now 9 months old. They always got along and just today my pocket size (arcadia) tore up my xl ( canela). But arcadia’s area is still swollen. She has been in heat for 3 weeks now. I was never told about the littermate syndrome. What can I possibly do to get them back on track? They are currently separated of course. I just need tips on how I could slowly get them comfortable again. Even after she tore her up (badly) she layed on the opposite side of the fence wanting to join her again. But canela which has not been through the heat process is giving the mad stare.

  2. Hi Jeff! I have your article in bark magazine. Congratulation It was fanatastic and I like it very much. Jeff I have two doggies of German breed. Last few days they were behaving very aggressively towards the guest but I treated them very gently and now they behave very politely.

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