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Lesstress for Dogs

Natural Support for Canine Stress and Anxiety

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Dealing with Behavioral Conditions like Littermate Syndrome

Pet Care Tips 3 min read
How to Get Rid of Behavioral Conditions like Littermate Syndrome

Most experienced pet parents with a multi-pet home are familiar with typical behavior problems in dogs, but littermate syndrome is an issue not many know about. Fear and aggression towards other dogs and people, self-harm, and separation anxiety are some of the signs that your little one might be too attached to their fursiblings and need your help.

What is Littermate Syndrome?

It’s not uncommon for the dog’s natural behavior to be misunderstood, which can lead to unnecessary reprimands and increased indiscipline. Barking, biting, and chewing, for example, are usually considered normal behaviors. The issue is in showing these signs in excess, which usually happens when dogs are over-energized, bored or when there’s another issue in play like littermate syndrome.

Littermate syndrome is a term that refers to a list of behavioral problems that occur when two furkiddos from the same litter grow up in the same household. No scientific studies prove the syndrome, but this problem is widely seen and discussed among dog lovers.

The most reported problem with bringing home two puppies from the same litter is that they can become overly attached and might struggle to create a bond with the human parents. As a response to over-attachment, some puppies may develop fearful and even antisocial behavior, especially when separated. These are some of the typical symptoms of littermate syndrome:

  • Fear of unfamiliar people, dogs, and other new stimuli (neophobia)
  • Intense anxiety when separated, even briefly
  • Difficulty learning basic obedience skills
  • In some cases, the two dogs will fight incessantly
  • In other cases, even minor separations cause extreme distress
Sometimes the dogs will fight each other constantly

Dealing with Antisocial Behavior in Cohabitating Dogs

Those committed to raising two pups from the same litter must ensure that they spend significant parts of each day apart so that each one learns how to be alone – a key lesson in any well-thought-out puppy program. That means feeding, walking, and training separately, with crates in different parts of the house.

Even the puppies’ social experiences and the vet’s visit should be separate. This way, they’ll learn to incorporate these episodes into their respective psyches without being overly dependent on their siblings.

In any case, contacting a professional behavioral therapist for help may be worth it. And always keep in mind these tips:

  • Quality over quantity: When socializing a puppy, it’s more important to have great experiences than too many experiences.
  • Positive Reinforcement: treats and snacks will go a long way with your new family member.
  • Avoid Negativity: Don’t yell at your dog if something goes wrong. If necessary, say a “no” and redirect your pup’s attention to a desired behavior.
  • Mental Stimulation: Your pup will, of course, need to be walked and played, but remember that mental stimulation such as training, treat-seeking, and mind games is what makes a pup happy.
training and playing can stimulate dogs and keep them happy

Natural Support for Pups with Littermate Syndrome

Natural herbal supplements like the ones we offer at NHV may help calm down your little one’s nerves and reduce anxiety. Not only for those caused by littermate syndrome but for any behavioral issue. Supplements like NHV Lesstress and NHV Matricalm are specifically formulated to help in those situations where pets suffer from stress, fear, or aggression.

Ingredients like Chamomile in the Lesstress formulation are well known to be a general-purpose calming herb for its antispasmodic and sedative qualities. Matricalm, on the other hand, includes ingredients like the aromatic Lemon Balm, which is used for nervous disorders, excitability, and anxiety. In cases of extreme anxiety, both supplements can be used together for extra support.

Aromatherapy with NHV CocoFurcare can also be beneficial. The pleasant and calming scents of this topical formula, like Lavender, may help offer some relaxation to the nervous system.

In conclusion, the most important advice we can give you is to ask for help! Adopting a new dog (or two!!) can be overwhelming. It’s okay to ask friends, family, or professionals for help if you’re struggling. Our pet experts are always here to help you with your questions and offer the best natural care and love to your furbabies dealing with littermate syndrome or any other stress at home.

Dr. Rebeca Oliveira DVM

Dr. Rebeca Oliveira DVM

Dr. Rebeca is a holistic veterinarian from Brazil with a passion for natural and integrative medicine. She’s been studying integrative medicine and alternative (and healthier) diets since 2015, and now started to study the power of herbs with the NHV Family. In her spare time, you can find her spending time with her golden retriever, Kuga.

Published: January 11, 2023

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