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We Adopted Littermate Puppies on a Whim

DepositPhoto/Katkov

I’m a huge proponent of adopting littermates; if you’re ready. And by ready, you need to have the patience, the room and you need to have a reputable dog trainer in place. I know that a lot of people grew up with dogs, so did I, that experience is not enough to prepare you for the havoc raising littermate puppies can raise unless you grew up with a reputable breeder and were exposed to littermate hijinks all the time.

How many of us can claim that upbringing?

I’m always astounded by how many of my readers are raising littermates. It’s kind of cool to be part of a community who understands the trials of potty training, sitting up and saying “why is it so quiet?” and realizing that they destroyed yet another roll of toilet paper – that’s 3 this week!

But why do we do it? Why would anyone adopt littermate puppies?

My decision was simply because I thought Rodrigo would like the comfort of one of his siblings. I didn’t Google “adopting littermate puppies” until I had already committed to the decision with my heart. Nothing I found online would convince me that this was a bad idea.

  • It’s 10x more expensive – I'll open a puppy savings account and cut back on other expenses
  • They bond to each other instead of the owners – so we’ll split them up and play with them all the time; I’ll even feed them from my hands
  • They’ll fight to determine who’s alpha – I’ll higher the best trainer I can find to help

I’m pretty stubborn when I decide I want something. J even offered me a diamond ring. Nope, I wanted Sydney.

I reached out to Loren Sztajer, owner of Collarific Dog Bandanas (Scout and Zoey have her bandanas), because she has two dogs that are close to the same age. Not littermates, but close. I wanted to know why she chose to get a second dog.

“It really came down to two things. First, we felt that animals really need the companionship of their own species in order to thrive. No matter how much an animal loves their humans, they still do better when they can interact on their own level, whether it be play, learning or snuggles.

 

The second reason was health. Buddy is a naturally lazy dog who doesn't play with toys much, so he was packing on the pounds. But he always loved playing with other dogs we visited. Having another member of the same species that was at or near the same age means that they have a whole different type of play (chasing, wrestling, etc.) than they get with humans or other species, and the level of play is of the same energy level.

 

Watson and Buddy absolutely love to do what we call “polar bear wrestling” which is a rough-and-tumble play full of jumping, running and pouncing on each other. If one of them were trying to do this with an older dog, they could cause injury or aggression. As they get older, the energy level of their play will decrease at the same time, so they'll always have appropriate interaction with each other.

 

We got Buddy and Watson both at 8 weeks old, five months apart, and they're the same breed, so even though they aren't littermates, they're behavior probably replicates it.” ~ Loren Sztajer of Collarific Dog Bandanas

Isn’t this a brilliant answer?

I wish I had given our choice (both times) this much consideration. We adopted Sydney because we didn’t want Rodrigo to feel lonely.   We adopted Zoey, because we thought Scout could use a dog his own age (they were 6 weeks old when we brought them home) and they seemed to be bonded so we couldn’t leave her behind.

I find the story behind the choices people make to be fascinating. Why did you adopt your dog or dogs?

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