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Understanding Littermate Syndrome: A Behaviorist Perspective

Updated: Apr 11

🐾 Understanding Littermate Syndrome: A Behaviorist's Perspective 🐾


Hi everyone! It's Lisa, the traveling dog trainer. After a busy winter with my graduate studies, I'm back to blogging! I'm passionate about canine behavior and excited to share insights with you.


Today, I wanted to dive into a topic often overlooked in my opinion - Littermate Syndrome.

This condition can significantly impact the bond between dogs and their families, whether they're adopted from breeders, rescues, or previous owners.


Littermate Syndrome can lead to:

  1. Difficulty focusing or responding to commands when separated.

  2. Signs of distress or agitation when one dog is taken out without the other

  3. Persistent seeking of the other dog's presence, even when physically separated.

Imagine bringing home a dog that struggles to bond with your family due to this syndrome. It's crucial for potential dog owners, breeders, and rescuers to understand and address this issue.


But what exactly is Littermate Syndrome? It describes behavioral challenges that arise when two dogs, often siblings, form an intense bond. This can occur with any pair spending prolonged periods together, not just biological siblings.

Why does it matter? Many individuals may unknowingly adopt dogs affected by this condition, leading to unexpected challenges in their care and integration into new environments.


Rehabilitating dogs with Littermate Syndrome isn't easy. It requires gradual desensitization to separation and fostering independent behavior. By recognizing the signs and understanding the nature of this condition, we can make informed decisions when rehoming dogs and provide the support they need to thrive independently.

Thanks for reading and happy Wednesday!

  • Lisa

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