Are Two Pups Better Than One?

hear it on a regular basis: “Honey, maybe we should get two! Look how much they love each other! How can we possibly split them up?” 

My household and I continuously foster litters of rescue puppies, and when authorized adopters come over to make that large choice – which one will or not it’s? – the dialog typically takes this detour. Watching two darling pups snuggling or romping collectively, any person says, “Why don’t we just take two?”

It’s a pure impulse. In reality, conserving littermates collectively was very a lot my very own hope after we fostered our first litter nearly a decade in the past. Back then, when a possible adopter epressed an curiosity in getting two pups, my coronary heart raced. Think of it: Little Ben and Pretty Girl, collectively perpetually! I beloved this concept! The benefits rapidly added up in my thoughts:

* The transition can be really easy! No unhappy pup crying by these preliminary nights with out the heat and firm of littermates.

* The pups can be so completely satisfied to have a buddy to play with day-after-day. 

* There can be assured exuberant train, which might lower family destruction and mouthiness.

* The house owners can be much less careworn by the calls for of puppyhood as a result of, relatively than having a bored pet continually in search of their consideration, they’d have two pups fairly darned content material with one another. After all, I vastly most well-liked fostering two pups to at least one, as a result of it was means much less work for me. 

Filled with pleasure, I let the shelter know that one in all our potential adopters needed two puppies. Their response? “We don’t actually adopt out littermates together.” I used to be shocked. What type of anti-puppy-happiness coverage was this?


It seems I had so much to be taught. While each one of many bullet factors above is true, there are even extra bullet-point the reason why most canine trainers and animal shelter professionals advocate towards adopting littermates, together with: 

* Puppies must be taught to be alone. One of the important thing issues I attempt to educate my foster pups is that they’re okay with out their littermates. If I had been to allow them to hand around in the identical room with their mother and siblings each single minute for eight weeks, then adoption day can be terrifying for them. In the start which means merely holding one pup exterior of the pet pen for a second, and instantly returning. Then I would take simply two pups into the kitchen to play whereas I do the dishes. Finally, I’ll take only one pup upstairs with me to hang around with a chew toy whereas I work on the pc. 

Adopting siblings can delay this very important little bit of the puppies’ schooling indefinitely. Now there are two pups who might have by no means taken one breath once they weren’t subsequent to a different pup. The longer that goes on, the extra deeply connected they turn out to be. Some house owners understand they’ve an enormous downside solely months later once they casually separate the pups – maybe for a vet appointment – and discover each canines in an absolute panic, destroying partitions and escaping from crates.

Littermates Twilight and her brother TikTook joined a household that features anther canine and three cats, so the duo is never alone collectively, and every will get important one-on-one time with their human.

Of course, you possibly can fight this situation simply the best way I do with a litter at my home: by making time to take every pup alone someplace, day-after-day. They must have common, diversified experiences the place they’re separated from their siblings: in the home, on a stroll, within the automotive, on a playdate. If you’ve the time and maybe the family construction to permit that, this is probably not an issue. However, skilled trainers and shelter employees will inform you that  most house owners discover they barely have time for one pup, a lot much less two – despite the fact that they thought they had been ready.

* Having an always-present playmate isn’t sufficient to correctly socialize a pet. Daily play with a live-in packmate helps tire out each puppies, which is nice – however the big draw back is that, with out the pressing impetus to search out one other pet or canine to assist tire out a singleton pup, house owners are likely to get complacent. 

A lone pet’s chewing, biting, and leaping will push proprietor to hunt out different canines to exhaust the little man, which enlarges the pup’s world superbly. There is much higher worth in enjoying with all types of canines – large and small, runners and wrestlers, floppy-eared and pointy-eared. They every play in a different way, and by interacting with a variety of play companions, a pup learns a extra nuanced, expanded language of doggy communication. That, in flip, makes the pet comfy with future canine encounters – on leash walks, at your sister’s home for Thanksgiving, on the seaside together with your buddy’s canines. 

In distinction, the littermates who play solely with one another might properly find yourself being canines who can play solely with one another! Unaccustomed to play types they’re unfamiliar with, less-socialized canines might take offense at playful overtures from canines who’re new to them, and erupt in defensive aggression out of worry.

Again, an proprietor who’s properly conscious of this situation can fully mitigate the consequences by arranging for loads of play time with different puppies and canines because the pet matures. 

* When individuals personal two puppies, they have an inclination to take the pups on fewer walks and adventures. When I first began fostering, I used to be all the time drawn to the adopter whose utility talked about their large fenced yard. Sure, the town residence dwellers stated all the precise issues, however then I’d take into consideration this little pup who’d should go down an elevator after which cross strangers and listen to loud vehicles each time he simply needed to pee! “Poor pup,” I assumed. 

I’d wish to slap my outdated self. I’ve realized over time that these metropolis canines turn out to be fabulously socialized! Because publicity to all of these issues is an automated a part of their life, they inevitably turn out to be extremely relaxed about all of it. It’s great. 

What does that should do with littermate adoptions? Well, typically littermates don’t get out into the world in the event that they reside in the identical home. They are properly drained from all of their enjoying, so that they don’t nudge their house owners into walks. And even when they do, generally the proprietor remembers that final stroll the place two canines had been awfully onerous to handle and opts out. 

Again, the devoted proprietor will get round this by remembering how important it’s to get a younger pup out and about on this planet and can make the time (and enlist the helpers) to make adventures into the broader world a daily a part of the routine for each puppies – ideally, separately, for many of these walks. 

* It’s greater than twice as onerous to coach two puppies than it’s to coach one. I really like to show younger pups to take a seat, keep, spin, contact, and shake. In reality, I actually can’t assist myself – each time I’ve only one pup right here. But if I’ve multiple pup? The finest I can do is “sit.” I’m a canine coach, for goodness sake, and I can’t educate two canines a brand new factor on the identical time. 

Teaching properly requires giving split-second suggestions to the canine. When you’ve two canines doing various things, the suggestions loop turns into meaningless. “YES!” you say as Pretty Girl sits properly. But Little Ben heard that too, whereas he was leaping up on you. Hmm. What precisely did he simply be taught? 

To prepare two pups, you could separate them. And maybe the trainee must be out of earshot in order that the distressed barking of the left-out pup doesn’t distract our scholar of the second. Do you’ve a set-up the place you possibly can simply take one pup away and work together with her just a few occasions a day – after which flip round and try this with the opposite pup? Can you maintain that for a 12 months? Maybe you possibly can! 

But most can’t, and, sadly, what typically occurs is that an proprietor calls a coach in tears, reporting two fully unruly 9-month-old canines who “can’t” be walked. The pups are bonded strongly to one another, however not with the proprietor. It’s a heartbreak that always ends in one, if not each, being rehomed. 


Lots of particular person coaching plus the proprietor’s sturdy assist system has made the adoption of brothers Bristol and Bedford work superbly. They are one another’s finest buddy and luxury – however additionally they quiet down simply wonderful when separated.

Trainers and shelter employees will nearly all the time advise towards a littermate adoption; as an alternative, they continuously give the very sound recommendation to easily wait a 12 months, in order that your well-trained grownup canine can set a incredible instance for a brand new pup. 

That stated, taking in two siblings would possibly be the precise choice for you. The key’s to be totally knowledgeable in regards to the difficult points and dedicated to a plan. When that occurs, it can work out superbly. 

As I used to be getting ready to write down this text, I reached out to a handful of people that adopted littermates from my rescue group. Every one in all them wrote again utilizing exclamation factors about how a lot they love their doggies and the way the double adoption was the right strategy for them. My follow-up questions revealed that these of us actually walked the stroll. They’ve poured a lot of time and assets into these pups, fastidiously shaping their expertise so that every canine is properly skilled and assured on their very own – and in addition darling collectively. Clearly, it can be achieved.

Even so, any time I hear an adopter say, “Hey honey, how about two?” I’ll nonetheless counsel my very favourite choice: “Do you have a neighbor who needs a puppy?” That’s the perfect of all worlds: every of the pups may have a buddy shut sufficient to allow them to get fortunately drained from on a regular basis playdates, the house owners can get little breaks whereas their pup is visiting subsequent door, and every pet will get loads of particular person consideration again at residence. 

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