Two pups

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Joined: 2017-09-18

My son has just purchased two bothers and he is being told they should not have been sold together and that he should rehome one. Is this true.They will be neutered when they are older so will this make a difference? They will be having training classesand are being fed and taken out seperately because of the advice given. Does he really need to rehome one?

CRDobe's picture
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Well......it's a BOATLOAD of work, even for an experienced Dobe owner and no reputable breeder would sell 2 male siblings together. Read up on littermate syndrome and same-sex aggression. I'm sure other members will chime in.

absolutely true - littermates or puppies of the same age should not be raised together. They will bond to each other and not to the humans.  The two boys may get along great for a year, two years or even longer. At some point, there is about a 75% chance that they will not tolerate each other and will fight to the death - neutering does not change this. Most male Dobermans do not like other males of any breed. 

Any breeder that would sell two males or even two littermates to the same home, is far from reputable and is totally in it for the money.  Hopefully they will take one back. If not, contact a reputable rescue organization to take one puppy. They generally have much better resources for finding a good home than an individual. 

DOGMAN45's picture
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   I doubt that these Dobes would end up fighting to the death.  Most dogs will figure out dominance issues without killing each other.  I've often heard that raising pups together can lead to the pups bonding with each other more than they bond with their owners.  Trying to train 2 pups at one time could be difficult.  It's hard to give individual attention.

No, maybe instead of killing one another, they might seriously injure the owner (or anyone) that trys to seperate them while fighting. I DO know of instances of this happening with dogs that would never (in normal circumstances) ever even growl at their owner.  I have personally had to seperate two bitches fighting, and it took two people.  I would never try to even grab a collar.... but it is the first thing that the average owner would do.  It was a horrific experience and I can't even imagine trying to seperate two male Dobermans that weigh about 20 lbs more than the average bitch. 

Same sex aggression is a very real thing in Dobermans - it is much more common in males, but can happen (did happen for me) with bitches as well. In my case, the two girls were 2 1/2 years apart in age.  I did manage to keep them together - but until one died, there could be no toys or treats anywhere but their individual crates. I also could never leave them alone together. I broke up a few more fights but never as bad as that one that left me with lots of vet bills. I am a very experienced dog person, and sure as heck would not recommend living like that for the average pet person.

I would never in a million years keep two male Dobermans together - it is a disaster/tragedy waiting to happen.

talisin's picture
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just my two cents worth - trust Fitz - it's not worth the risk of death, injury or human injury - and in some states and cities once you go to the hospital with a dog bite or injury the dog is taken and euthanized most docs have to report it to the police....

my ridgeback was having his nails trimmed by my dad and he snipped too close and the dog turned and snapped not meaning to actually touch my dad but to tell him to stop and his tooth hooked my dad's hand requiring one stitch note that was one stitch just cause it was in a wrinkle of the hand that just kept the blood running - the police were notified and we had to worry for days whether our beloved dog would be hauled away and killed.

things to consider but trust Fitz on this one

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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I doubt that these Dobes would end up fighting to the death.  Most dogs will figure out dominance issues without killing each other.

The first part of your post was spot on in my experience. Unless you have a pair of VERY strong willed (or extremely aggressive) dogs - One of them is going to submit and things will be fine from that point on (so long as the owner does not screw it up). As 'watered down' as many Dobermans are today the likelyhood that you would have a pair so strong willed that they fight to the death is very slim.

I watched a great video one time at DVM360 about dog fights in multi-dog households and how often times the owners contribute to the fights continuing and/or escalting with their interference... The owner steps in before the dogs sort things out on their own and/or the owner does not reinforce the pack order that the dogs themselves have established - This makes matters worse in the long run.

I encourage anyone with littermate 'problems' to seek out a real veterinary behaviorist instead of depending on random people on the internet for their advice. (this includes MY advice below) It may cost a little but... How much will the fights cost in the long run if they can't be stopped and how happy will the household be?

 

 

 

 

Me personally (with respect to the littermates I have raised in the past and the ones I am raising currently) - I am not likely to interfere unless things get very, very out of control and I absolutely follow and reinforce the same pack 'order' that the dogs themselves have established on their own. In a nutshell this means that the top dog gets everything FIRST and I am not about to sit back and just 'watch' while the other dog tries to 'steal' stuff from them (especially food). Gets treats first, gets regular food first, goes out the door first, gets in the truck first, gets out of the truck first, etc. With littermates - Even if they are not fighting you can get a sense of the 'order' they have already established just by watching them (and paying attention) as you open the door to take them on routine potty breaks. You will notice a trend in who always goes out that door FIRST.  

 

In my mind this is not much different than adding a Doberman puppy to a household with an adult Doberman already there. (I am going through this right now) My adult dog IS the top dog and she gets treated as such... To do otherwise will cause problems.

 

As far as 'trying to train two pups being difficult' is concerned - Not in my experience. Make a point to use their individual NAMES as often as possible with any commands and things will be faster (fewer hours spent training as compared to doing one dog at a time).

An example: Potty breaks for a Doberman puppy ARE 'training' opportunites - To not use them as such is wasting time. You are training them to follow you out the door (and not drag you out of it), You are training them to 'Hurry Up' and do that potty when you give the command (Dobermans are SMART - If you say 'Pee' every time you see them pee in the yard they WILL associate that word with what they just did farily quickly), You are (hopefully) using a leash and teaching them the boundaries of the property or area you have set aside for them while on that potty break, You are teaching them that the words 'Leave It' mean 'no - they ain't eating that' when out and about in the yard (you have leashes to help you with this right?), Before you go in or out any doors you are using commands like 'Sit' and 'Stay' while you attach those leashes, You are teaching commands like 'come', You are teaching them that the command 'inside' means lets get back in the house because it is COLD out here (lol!)... It takes no longer to take a pair to go potty than it does one and they both get to learn to associate the words with the actions. Only real difference between taking a pair vs taking a single Doberman on that potty break is that you are using individual 'names' before commands as often as you can help it.

 

FWIW - If both dogs are fed the same and on the same 'schedule' - Their bodily functions (the pee and poop) are going to be pretty near the same. If you go on a potty break and one poops a whopper as soon as you get out there - You can rest assured that the other one has the same stuff inside and is wanting / about to drop it off. The first dog just clued you in as to what that second dog is about to do and you can get the 'words' correct for the action that you know is about to happen...

 

   

 

 

Teaching them their NAMES is important and there are a ton of 'games' you can play to help them learn them.   

 

 

jerial13's picture
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Well said Fitzmar as a reputable breeder and someone I have known for almost 8 yrs with respect to this forum.  I thank you for you words of wisdom.  Your advise assisted me today and has assisted me in the past.  

I wished I had a chance to speak with a friend before she bought two male litter mates.  She came home from work when they were 1.5 yrs old and one male was torn apart so badly she almost couldn't recognize him, and was already dead.  The other only took 250 stitches, he is currently alive just lost sight in one eye has only one ear.

I however, am sure that these were just mishandled animals.

Jeri

DOGMAN45's picture
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   So these 1.5 year old male sibling Dobermans fought to the death.  These dogs gave no warning ahead of this fight to the death that they should not be around each other?  I find it hard to believe that there would not be warning signs that these dogs should have been separated.  Just out of the blue they had a mauling fight to the death?  This owner with the killer litter mates must have been truly clueless or totally in denial about the temperment of her dogs.  Were these two intact males?  No one suggested to this dog owner that having intact males in the house is not a good idea?      

    I guess raising two pups together might not be discribed as difficult but definitely more complicated.  Having two pups to control and trying to get commands across is just a lot trickier.  You only have one pair of eyes and splitting your attention between two or more dogs while training makes it hard to stay on track.  Working with one dog without distractions just works better. 

DobermanGuy's picture
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Curious if she is talking about Dobermans or not?

I gotta wonder how in all the years that I have had Doberman littermates and out of all the different Vets we have seen for different things - Not once has one EVER gave me any warnings about this sort of 'danger'??? (be aware that I tend to seek out Vets that are also Doberman OWNERS if at all possible)

You would think that Vets would see a lot of these cases 'if' they were so 'common' and that at least one of them would have warned me at some point.

Yeah, right.

And then you have that thing called 'bite inhibition' that puppies tend to learn naturally and from each other (and their parents). You can see this first hand when raising littermates - They will be playing rough and at some point one will squeeze too hard and the other will yelp. Suddenly the 'game' ends and the dogs learn to not squeeze so hard if they want to continue playing. 'Reputable' breeders on the internet will lecture you all day long about getting puppies 'too soon' and go out of their way to explain the importance of 'bite inhibition' to you and how exactly the dogs learn it and then suddenly forget about all of that when trying to discuss things like raising littermates (on the internet).

The girls I am raising currently have been allowed to 'play' long enough by now that they most definitely have figured out how to NOT squeeze too hard no matter if it is me or the littermate. If they do the 'game' ends and they know it.     

 I guess raising two pups together might not be discribed as difficult but definitely more complicated.  Having two pups to control and trying to get commands across is just a lot trickier.  You only have one pair of eyes and splitting your attention between two or more dogs while training makes it hard to stay on track.  Working with one dog without distractions just works better. 

Personally - I like training with 'distractions'. If I put one dog in a SIT and STAY, toss a ball and ask the other dog to go get the ball - I expect that the dog in the SIT and STAY is going to not move. If you have more than one dog around - Some things are easier to teach. (I made a point to mention the dog name thing previously - This is important in ANY multi-dog houshold be it littermates or not)

You can be creative and work it to your advantage... Example: If I go out in public with my trained dogs and we get up to the checkout counter and the cashier comes from behind it with a handful of treats and tells my dogs to SIT - They stand there looking at her because she didnt use a 'name' first and they have no idea who she is even talking to.  

Aside of the benefits of using the littermate when training each dog to follow individual commands with / around distractions you also gain an advantage when training around the temperament differences (trying to train the one that HATES the vacuum that it is 'ok' and to not worry about it). This is simple 'Monkey See - Monkey Do' stuff for the dogs you are training. Dog that may be fearful or apprehensive of something they are exposed to will often learn to accept it and NOT be fearful if they SEE their sibling do it first and not freaking out about it.

Last time around with puppies I had one that was scared to death of the air blower and would piss herself in a heartbeat if I came towards her with it. I learned pretty quick to clean the OTHER dog that had no fear of the thing FIRST every time and pretty quickly the 'fearful' dog learned to accept it and not worry. That same dog will come running if she even hears the thing being plugged in and used on anything currently but was scared to death of it at first...

Dogs can and will 'learn' stuff from the other dogs that they are around. An owner just has to use the differences in temperament to their advantage whenever possible.  :)      

 

 

DOGMAN45's picture
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   I'm just saying it's easier working with one dog when teaching basic commands, walking on a leash, proper etiquette going through doors, etc.   When you are telling one pup to stay and he starts moving while you are watching the other dog you've missed your chance to enforce the command.  I have three dogs.  I find it much easier to issue a single command such as sit, stay or down and have all three dogs obey the command.  I then use each dogs name for the next command to release or go after something.  If I say OK without using a name they all go.  Learning to obey commands during distractions is indeed a valuable exercise.  I just think working one on one is the best way to initially learn commands and for a pup to learn its name.  I agree that dogs learn from each other.  My male was 2 years old when I got my female pup.  The pup often took cues from the actions of the adult.  The adult dog also took all the punishment from the pups baby teeth.  I work with my two all the time retreiveing, taking turns sitting while the other retrieves.  They are now 5 and 3 years old.  My two still play a lot.  I've never seen them get in a fight.  This is when Ruby was a pup and Zeke was 2 years old.   

 

These shots were 10 months apart. Ruby was 1 year old and Zeke 3 years old in the bottom pic. 

 

DobermanGuy's picture
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I'm just saying it's easier working with one dog when teaching basic commands, walking on a leash, proper etiquette going through doors, etc.   When you are telling one pup to stay and he starts moving while you are watching the other dog you've missed your chance to enforce the command.  I have three dogs.  I find it much easier to issue a single command such as sit, stay or down and have all three dogs obey the command.  I then use each dogs name for the next command to release or go after something. 

 

From looking at your pictures and reading what you had to say just then I am fairly sure that - You sir, Are one of the many people out there that are NOT having serious 'issues' with your multi-dog household. :)

Community commands around here have generally had the word 'both' used first in the past. Even though I got three here now I think I am going to stick with that word so as to not cause any confusion with the adult. That 'word' is what she is accustomed to as to meaning 'everybody' do this.

I need to personally work harder with all of this and make sure I am consistent with the words that I use because I have noticed too many times already where I was giving commands to the little ones and saw the big girl responding as well.

If big girl is lounging on the couch and I tell the little ones to 'crate' - It bothers me to see the big girl get up from her comfy spot and go to her crate as well when she hears those words (that were not even directed towards her).

 

I got to work on all that.   

 

  

DOGMAN45's picture
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  I think for my pack if they all happen to be in the same area and paying attention to me, which is not that often, they might all respond to a command such as sit or stay at the same time.  It's great when it happens.  They will all definitely hear me say OK to release them even if I'm talking to someone else.  Funny how the commands they like are always heard and the ones they don't like can get ignored.  Anyway, if I'm trying to get just one of them to do something I use their name before the command.  The only problem is getting the correct name out their.  Here lately I'm getting to be like that TV commercial where the guy says he calls all kids Chief instead of trying to use their names.  In the shot below are my three plus a couple visitors who stayed for a few months.  We would go through a little exercise every evening getting everyone into a down position to wait until food bowls were filled.  They all knew what was at stake and there would still be a couple who would drag their feet. 

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Awesome post and a great looking doggie family you have there.

Wishing you and yours a safe and very happy holiday! :)