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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not necessarily a poodle question just puppy question in general that I need some help with. I have a 4 month old Havanese and for a 2 month old Havanese poodle mix. They two get along well, almost too well! Non stop play fighting. Every time we put them together it’s all they do! They both go for each other if I pull either away the other will go right back for more. If we let them, they will go on for hours! Please tell me this will eventually end? I’m literally desperate! We will separate them with a stern “no more” and reward both when they stop, but it’s not always effective and 2 min later they are at it again!
 

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You are in the midst of litter mate syndrome (it doesn't matter that they aren't really litter mates). By allowing these two to spend so much time together they are bonding more strongly to each other than they are to any of the people in the home. Please look this up. It can sow the seeds of lifelong problems with having these two develop a sense of normal family/household structure. You must spend significant amounts of time training each pup individually and I really would not allow much play time where it is just the two pups going crazy with each other. We raised our two older dogs together (they are 8 weeks apart in age). It was extremely hard and neither BF nor I will ever do that again. We both worked with both pups. We took them to classes together but made sure we stayed away from each other during the class. At home both of us did homework with both pups in separate spaces and also in proximity to each other to teach them not to be overly distracted by each other.

This will not end unless you take definitive steps to not allow it to continue. I hope they have separate crates and ex pens or can be separated most of their waking hours by a baby gate. You have landed yourselves in a complicated scenario. I wish you luck and suggest that you consider hiring an in home trainer to help you manage the home environment to fix this asap. I am sorry to give you a heavy handed reply, but this is a potentially unhappy situation for all concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the advice. Both dogs are not together unless we allow it. The little one is in the kitchen with her crate and a baby gate blocking her off to the rest of the house. The older one is house broken so stays on the other side of the gate. I will say neither dog is aggressive towards each other. It’s all play. But I am afraid if they can’t coexist in the same room without even playing then this might not work. So many people have said they have the same issue and as the puppies grow they will grow out of it. It’s just very stressful at the moment.
 

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But I am afraid if they can’t coexist in the same room without even playing then this might not work.
I’m a little confused here. Did you not expect two healthy puppies to constantly want to play ? Having two puppies at once is a challenge, and you’re right in the middle of it. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Some members have had two puppies at once, Rose n’ Poos comes to mind. It was very hard but they made it.

That is why it’s so important to do your research before getting a dog, let alone two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m a little confused here. Did you not expect two healthy puppies to constantly want to play ? Having two puppies at once is a challenge, and you’re right in the middle of it. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Some members have had two puppies at once, Rose n’ Poos comes to mind. It was very hard but they made it.

That is why it’s so important to do your research before getting a dog, let alone two.
I did expect two puppies to play. I’ve had two puppies before this isn’t my first time around. In fact I’ve had two puppies that were exactly the same age. But it’s been a while. These two are 2 months apart. I’m happy they play and get along but I guess my question was will the playing last forever? Do they calm down as they get older?
 

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Well since you seem to have experience with this scenario I am not really sure what you are asking. I don't think any of us has a functioning crystal ball to tell you what will happen. Every situation and all combinations of relationships between people and dogs offers unique challenges. I for one then do not feel I can tell you anything about how things will turn out unless you manage the relationships between the puppies and every person in the family as separate situations.
 

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Lily CD has given you some good advice about separation and individual training. I personally would not let them play together except for once a day for a few minutes, and I would only allow that if the play was appropriate. I would try to end the play before it became inappropriate, if that means it only lasts a few seconds then so be it. It is only a starting point.

Focus on training each puppy individually. Focus on the human relationship with each puppy.
 

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Yes, eventually they will grow up and become less playful. They probably won't stop playing completely, at least not for several years.

What are you seeing as the problem here? Are they playing so hard one of them loses control and gets mad? Are they getting overwound and risking injury to themselves or the household furnishings? Are they ignoring you? Are they tag teaming destructive behavior?

I notice you, unlike many new puppy owners, aren't lamenting that a puppy is chewing on you every waking moment. I assume this happy state of affairs is due to the puppies chewing on each other instead of you. ;)

What I would do right now is start working on training them separately. Work on sit, down, come and other obedience basics. Then, once they are somewhat clear on the basics (as much as puppy focus will allow) start working them together. Tell one to sit, treat, tell the other to sit, treat, tell the other to down, and keep alternating pups and mixing in commands. This will help build their self discipline and focus on you. Going forward you will find it very helpful to have taught them to pay attention to you when being distracted by the presence of a sibling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you so much for your positive input. I just wasn’t sure if they play was too constant, if that makes sense. I had other dogs that after a while of play, would settle down on their own and move on to something else. Which occasionally they do. I do have the typical biting and chewing like all puppies do, the older one seems to be a bit past that and after learning from the older one, I’ve been able to redirect the younger one. They do well when I can focus their attention as much as I can for puppies, and reward with treats when they sit or follow a command. Again, I’m still working with the younger one with sit, stay, down....
And of course our main focus is also potty training which I feel like I’m a pro at now. Just have to be consistent! But like the other commenter, I’m not sure I have an issue with liter mate syndrome. Thank you again for your input!
 

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I think there are three big things to worry about with similar aged dogs:
1) Training and socialization can suffer. It's hard enough for the average pet owning amateur to find time for one puppy, let alone two, during critical developmental windows. Bad habits can fester, and the puppies may never reach their full training potential.
2) The puppies may become overly dependent on each other and insufficiently attentive to their humans.
3) Sometimes, as littermates hit adolescence, sibling rivalry becomes so intense that fights keep breaking out. It may become necessary to rehome one dog.

Littermates worked out fine when I had them. Yes, they definitely were not as well trained as if I'd had a single dog. If agility or rally titles had been my goal, the time demands of two dogs at the same stage probably would have sunk that dream. However, they were fine pets.

I can't stress how important it is to continue obedience work with them. One reason, obviously, is they can't be expected to know proper manners if nobody teaches them. Another is that obedience training helps YOU get better at reading their signals and heading off mischief. A third is that consistent guidance from you will make them feel more secure. They won't feel as much need to deal with situations on their own if they trust you to sort things out.
 

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Like others here, I have had two puppies. We ended up with littermate syndrome, as they were outdoor dogs kenneled together. We didn't know about littermate syndrome at the time. They loved to run together, and were out like rockets from the kennel for their favourite part of the day, running and chasing things together. When one dog died at about 2 or 3, the other was so lost that it hurt even more (wouldn't eat, etc). I won't have two puppies again, even if I could avoid the littermate syndrome. 2 puppies seems to be 3x the work!

The hardest part of dog training (even without littermate syndrome) is making the owner more exciting than other dogs and people and potential distractions (even other dogs in the house).

I wouldnt suggest not letting them play, but I would make sure that you are playing with them each separately, and having an awesome time when you do it. You have opposable thumbs, figure out what you can do to make playing with you as good or better than playing with another puppy. A flirt pole, playing fetch... I also play with both of my dogs together. I hold an end on the long tug toy, etc.

Are there two people in your house? I would recommend loading up on treats and doing some parallel training, working on basic obedience and exercises like Relax on A Mat and Look At That with both dogs on leash handled by different people across the room. Gradually move closer so the two people and puppies can work next to each other, and also regularly switch off who handles each puppy.

With our two puppies, we did daily obedience sessions 2-3x per day. I was a teen, so one puppy was handled by me, the other by my mom, then we switched. Sometimes we would do obedience with both dogs handled by one person. The trick is to teach them it's valuable to focus on the people so they stop being to a heat seeking missile mindlessly running for the other dog which they may currently think is the best thing EVER.

Once the stationary obedience in the sight of the other dog is pretty good, I would load up on treats and take them for a walk together, again, handled by two different people, working on keeping the attention on YOU not the other dog. My mother and I used to do laps of the outside of the house with the two puppies on leash every night.

I took my puppy to the dog park a lot. She loved it and loves to run to the other dogs. One thing I have worked on is asking for a sit, stay, and look at me before she enters. Basically, I am giving her the most exciting reward ever - just for giving me a nice sit and look! Doing something similar before releasing the puppies to play may help them figure out that all great things come from you.
 

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I can only speak to my girls, Noel and Holly, and my boys, Neo and Remo, all miniature poodles, and our experiences.

The girls were nearly two years old in 2002 when they came to live with us. DH and I titled their play "Poodle Federation Wrestling". I don't have a lot of photos or video from then, but whatever frequency it was they played together in their younger years, it did diminish within a few years.
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We brought our boys home at almost 9 weeks old. When allowed together, they played heartily. They kept this up for months but their frequency and duration began to decrease a little before they turned one year old, before neutering.

They still play, now three years and eight months old, but they seem to have their own schedule for certain times during the day, and there is the very occasional short bout if they're up late.

Mostly what we have now is this

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or this

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and sometimes, this

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I think the more time they are together the play will lessen. Right now because they are separated, once they get together is "all on" playtime". I would continue to train them separately, walk separately, then together. If possible with two people so you can walk side by side. I really think its puppy play from being separated but it is a necessity for their training.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think the more time they are together the play will lessen. Right now because they are separated, once they get together is "all on" playtime". I would continue to train them separately, walk separately, then together. If possible with two people so you can walk side by side. I really think its puppy play from being separated but it is a necessity for their training.
I think your absolutely right. When I’m in the kitchen with both dogs, they have their attention on me, they have learned very fast if they listen and behave, they get a treat. Today I had them together more than the usual amount of time and I could see the difference by the end of the day. To be clear, they are not litter mates, which I know a few people have commented on, but I think the syndrome can happen regardless. There is no aggression between the two at all. The last few days I have been working with both dogs separately. The older dog belongs to my daughter and he spends most time with her and the younger one is mine. We walk them and play with them separately. They can’t walk together yet, they can’t seem to focus on anything but each other... we need to work on that fast! So it’s going to be lots of laps around around the block, side by side with treats having them focus on who ever is walking them. This is a good lesson, and something i for sure won’t do again, but grateful I’m working from home until the summer so have plenty of time to work with them.
 

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I still remember the days when Pogo would gallop three legged across the yard in pursuit of a tennis ball, Snarky following along behind clutching one hind foot between his jaws. An hour later the would be passed out with Snarky's head testing on Pogo's flank. There is a certain joy to having young dogs who love each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I still remember the days when Pogo would gallop three legged across the yard in pursuit of a tennis ball, Snarky following along behind clutching one hind foot between his jaws. An hour later the would be passed out with Snarky's head testing on Pogo's flank. There is a certain joy to having young dogs who love each other.
Well that’s my hope! So I guess the conclusion is this won’t last forever... I can already see a difference in the part few days.
 

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Whew, I am tired just reading about this. Thank you for reminding me not to have two puppies at the same time! I am too old at 74 to have this much energy :)
 

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My daughter and I have littermates. They were together for about two months when we brought them home because we drove cross country to get them. We both have a lot of training (she was an AKC evaluator) under our belt. As soon as we got to my home, we started crating the pups separately and in separate rooms. Because they were destined to be our service dogs, it was extremely important that they be focused on us, and not the other dog. My daughter and her dog remained here for the two months and then, she left with her pup. We both noticed that they needed to be separated because her dog had a more reserved temperament and mine was full of himself. Hers was a submissive tinkler, and mine was an attention hog. She said that once she got her pup to her own home, he came out of his shell. She worked hard and he earned his CGC at six months. All I had to do with my pup was put the squelch on his exuberant temperament; nothing phased him, so I had it much easier than my daughter. I also had an eight year old poodle who was well trained, and the pup learned a lot by emulating his behavior. After a few years my daughter moved back home, but the dogs had already established separate lives. Both of us say we would not get two same age pups again if they lived together full time. There is a huge difference in acceptable behavior for pet dogs, and service dogs. When we worked at the training yard we always recommended that owners wait two years to get a second dog, so that the first dog would (hopefully) be well trained before the new pup arrived. We are talking about getting another dog to train for service work when the brothers are 8 years old. This time however, we intend to get one pup that we both train, and after two years we would get a second. We have done this before and it was extremely successful. It also has the bonus that the dog will work for both of us. We have high expectations for our dogs, and devote hundreds of hours to their training. Nike.birthday.030.jpg
 
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