One Labrador Puppy Or Two?

50
18583
One puppy or two, the pros and cons of littermates

It is  not unusual for people go to visit a litter of Labrador puppies to choose their pet, and come home with not one puppy but two!

Two puppies usually settle in together very happily. After all, leaving home with your brother or sister is a great deal more fun than leaving home all by yourself!

It may seem that bringing two Labrador puppies home together is great. That the two dogs will be good company for each other whilst you are busy, growing up to be great friends and playmates.

But is this really a good idea?

In this article we are going to look at the challenges involved in raising two puppies. Helping you to decide whether this is the right decision for your family.

Should I Get Two Puppies From The Same Litter?

It is natural to wonder when looking at lovely gang of Labs, “should I get two puppies from the same litter?”.

There is clearly a lot of appeal to the idea.

You might disagree with your family about which puppy is best and think it will sort the argument out. You might think two are equally adorable. Or even be concerned about him feeling lonely when you need to leave the house.

But there are a lot of factors you need to take into account to make the right decision.

Bonding With Your Puppy

Two puppies of the same or a similar age, form a terrific bond.

kong gyro dog  toyUnfortunately this bond is often at the expense of a bond with the owner.

Your littermate pups may be so besotted with each other that they will have little time for you.

Why Does This Matter?

It matters because building a bond between you and your dog is very important if you are to be successful in training the dog.

To have a great relationship with your dog, you need to be the centre of his universe.

If you have two puppies at once, this is hard to achieve without constantly separating the dogs.

Littermate Syndrome

Littermate syndrome is the name given to certain behaviors shown by a pair of puppies from the same litter.

It is not a condition that has been extensively scientifically studied, but more one that has been born from observation in these scenarios.

Littermate syndrome describes two dogs who are overly fixated on each other. They show little interest in their human family or other dogs. They will often be very nervous and insular. If allowed to bond to this degree, dogs can become very distressed at being separated even for short periods of time.

feeding2

This can make living with them very challenging in terms of training, exercising and when dealing with enforced separation for example veterinary visits.

Littermate syndrome is not a definite result of taking on littermates, nor one which has been studied beyond anecdotal evidence.

However, it does describe behaviors that can potentially occur when two puppies at allowed to become constantly dependant upon each other.

Raising Two Puppies From Different Litters

You might hope to avoid littermate syndrome by raising two puppies from different litters.

Unfortunately, this is not a guaranteed solution to this problem. Two puppies of similar ages can become just as co-dependant as two from the same litter.

Nor does it avoid the other more practical pitfalls of buying two puppies at once. Such as the trouble with training sessions.

Training Two Puppies From The Same Litter

All puppies need training.  Even family pets need to learn basic commands and house manners.

They need to be taught not to nip, not to jump up, to walk nicely on the leash. They will probably also need to learn to sit and stay, not to mention coming when they are called.

You cannot train a dog in the early stages whilst his brother is leaping all over him or attracting his attention.

Dogs have to be trained singly,  away from other dogs,  until the training reaches a point where they can be trained together.  This happens much later, often months if not years down the line.

Two puppies are an incredible distraction to each other.

In order to teach even very simple skills, you will need to have one pup well out of sight and sound.

So instead of ten or fifteen minutes a day spent dog training,  you will be committing yourself to twice that,  plus any time it takes you to get to and from where you train/exercise the dog,  with each of them separately.

You will need to ensure that you have time to train both dogs if you want to commit to bringing home a pair of puppies.

Do I Have Time For Two Dogs?

Puppies are a lot of work, and two puppies can be more than twice the work of one.

Your pleasure in the early weeks of having a puppy may be greatly reduced by having to divide your time between the two.

Think hard about the other commitments in your life and whether you have not just the time, but the energy. Can you logistically deal with two sets of potty training? Do you have the patience to calmly work with not one but two chewing, biting, crying puppies?

Walking Two Dogs At Once

When considering raising two puppies, you will have to decide what to do about walking them.

Walking two dogs at once can be a joyful experience when they have good recall and can walk to heel off-leash.

But this will not be something you can reliably do until they are well past the proofing stage of training.

Early walks are all about establishing good behavior and focussing on training. Especially with large breeds like Labs that can be a handful outdoors when they grow up if you don’t set the right groundwork.

If you take on two puppies at once, they will need to be walked separately. Or at least managed by two different individuals on the walk. This is fine if you don’t mind walking separately, as you are unlikely match the pace of both dogs. They might also find the sight of each other terribly distracting and need to be walked on different routes initially.

My Breeder Recommends That I Take Two Puppies

No reputable and experienced dog breeder will ever sell two littermates to one family, unless the buyer is an experienced dog trainer who is going to house the dogs separately.

If the breeder you have chosen is recommending you buy two puppies at once, I am afraid that she is probably doing so for one of two reasons:

  • Because she needs the money
  • Because she is unaware of the problems it will cause you

Either way, you may want to have another  think about whether this is the right breeder for you. They might not have the ethics or experience that a good Labrador breeder requires to help a new puppy parent make the right choices.

Raising Two Puppies Successfully

Raising two puppies successfully will take time, patience, space and money.

Unless you have a lot of free time and some experience in dog training,  two puppies at a time can be a very challenging experience.

Whilst the first few days might be easier,  the next six months could have you tearing your hair out.   So do think hard before you do it.

For most families, it is far easier to wait until your puppy is over a year old before introducing another dog into the household.

That way they will each have your full attention when they are small,  and form a good bond with you that is more powerful than the bond they have with each other. You will also probably get a lot more enjoyment out of them in the early days too.

How about you?   Have you already brought home two littermates?  What do you think are the pros and cons?

More information on puppies

Happy-Puppy-jacket-image1-195x300For a complete guide to raising a healthy and happy puppy don’t miss The Happy Puppy Handbook.

The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.

The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.

The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.

This article was first published in 2012, and has been fully revised for 2016.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Hi there. I know this thread is old, but I was wondering.. for those commenters who said they are very happy with littermates and had no problems training, can you give me some advice on how you potty trained 2 pups at once? I have 2 yellow lab pups, brothers, they are now 10 weeks old. They were the 2 left in the litter so we took both. Unfortunately this “breeder” (not really) that we got them from did not really take good care of them. They were filthy and when we took them to the vet, we found out they were both sick- tested positive for parasites. They are on their last week of medication now. But because they were already sick, we did not want to bring them outside so they go potty on puppy pads (not always). Since they are doing better, I tried to bring them outside to go potty, but no luck. They laid on the puppy pad, chewed on the leash, cried… I waited an hour until bringing them back inside. As soon as we got inside, they both went.

    Right now, they live in a pen and yes there is a puppy pad there and they do use it but they still go everywhere too. Should I get a crate now? And if so, do I get one or two? They sleep together, if not on top of each other, they are touching. How do I crate train two boys? It looks like it can be done…I just don’t know where to start. Thank you for your help. If anyone can reply here that would be very helpful!

    • Hi Claudette,

      I heard that if you buy treats, and to be very discreet from the other puppy i.e. take them out to “do your stuff” one at a time and as soon as they piddle on the grass give them the treat within 3 seconds or they’ll not understand. And don’t let the other puppy see the treat given to the other or he’ll think he deserves one too and forget to piddle and just want the treat. Then take the other one separately and do the same. Apparently, they’ll associate getting a treat by going outside to “do your stuff”.

      Now, that said, We have not tried this yet, we just heard about the idea today. What we’ve been doing is putting them each on a leash; take them together; being so young, they didn’t know how to walk on a leash but they’re learning; one would roll and the other I would drag ever so slightly to the steps of the porch; yes they had to learn to use the steps; and surprisingly they did learn. I broke my hand, its in a cast; after falling again trying to carry them down the steps at 4AM; I had to ask my family not to carry them anymore and to use their leashes 100%. This has really helped me.

      Our two lab pups are now 9 weeks old, same litter, we brought them home at 6 weeks; they sleep in the same crate right now and they stay in the same pin together during the day and I have the help of two children and a husband. We just bought a book written by Richard Wolters called, “Family Dog”. apparently 10 minutes with each dog a day, repeatedly; this means 20 minutes of your time you will have two well trained dogs in 16 weeks of repetition training. It’s a book designed for training your dog from puppy stage.

      You wrote this in April so I may be a little late with my reply…but stay with it. Labs are super smart dogs. The book was recommended by one of my husbands customers who has also trained two pups from the same litter. She’s the one who also recommended the treat for potty training. We use the piddle pads in the pin; one likes to lay on it like its a comforter and the other piddles on it sometimes and yesterday I cleaned the slate floor about 8 times…even though we’re taking them outside, and they are piddling in the grass; they’re still having accidents. They have torn apart the piddle pad a few times too. So, I bought some better chew toys to help occupy them; a small Kong, a kong ball and a kong tire. each has a treat in it. They like to fight for what the other has but soon take full attention to the chew.

      I must say, some days are better than others. We stop giving them water by 6PM should probably stop at 4. Bu,t this is Houston, TX so we’re careful to make sure they get plenty during the day. They eat 3X a day 3oz per meal each. Dry food.

      Don’t fret about the breeder environment… I heard it can happen even in the best environments. Ours too came home with giardia parasites 4+ count… but the breeder environment was clean and she lived on a beautiful ranch and the puppies and mother stayed in a clean air conditioned building so I don’t blame her…the mother most likely drank standing water from a puddle with all the rain we’ve had and the puddle had parasites in it and her milk spread it to the whole litter; we notified her so she could let the other new puppy owners know to get them checked and she paid for our vet bill. She was shocked too to find out because none of the other owners called and her vet did not find it before we picked them up…but one of our little guys had a bad cold too and when his sniffles and coughs seemed concerning after day 2 we rushed him in to the vet hospital. Our older Yellow Lab was on a farm and all the puppies were kept in a caged pin and they jumped and peed/pooed all over each other and he came home parasite free… the farm was nice but their environment was nothing like the one we picked up our new White English lab pups from. Things happen and we’re all just very thankful we were able to catch it early and give them medicine. They had tapeworms too and the little guy also had to take Amoxicillin for his little cold. But 10 days later all is well.

      Back to training – Do consider getting two crates; we plan to get the 2nd crate and separate them at around 3 months; we’re going to let the crates face each other. The boys do have rough play together which concerns me, but I believe my son and daughter and my husband and I spend a lot of time bonding with them so they are getting plenty of family time. My husband keeps reminding me they’re young, with 00% raw behavior, everything is new to them; we’ve started discouraging their rough behavior over the last few days. Separating them; only to have them do straight back to tearing into each other…my son (9) has started this new hissing noise which gets a response so we all use the hiss noise now too. I think consistency is the key.

      We got them June 22, (6 weeks old) during the summer, on purpose, so the kids could have time to bond and help before school starts; Although we’d hoped for the April litter we ended up with the May; I googled “training litter mates” and found this article and it seems quite concerning…but what can you do? We have two litter mates.

      We’ll wait for the new training book to arrive Sunday from Amazon and we’ll just have to follow the new training regimen, and continue to do repetitive things making sure we all do and say the same things. Pet Smart dog training is not offered until their fully vaccinated and at least 4 months old. Now I’ve always been a lab owner and so has my husband. Our single neighbor has 3 labs and we watch her walk them all separately, once in the morning and once in the evening. 3 separate walks per dog, that’s 6 walks; that’s what I call commitment. I trained my own lab while working full-time and came home for lunch every day; ate a tuna sand which and spent my 1 hour with my puppy. Fed her, walked her and back to work I went.

      I’ve read most of the older comments on this site prior to your question about how to train 2 lab pups at once and while separating them seems harsh; I think maybe separate crates is a good idea for night time and when you leave the house, remember their little bellies are tiny so take them out within 20 min’s of feeding and giving water and again every 1.5 ~ 2 hours; mine sleep a lot 3 naps a day; the afternoon is always the longest nap; we put them in the crate whenever we leave the house and make sure to take them outside “to do your stuff” before we leave and we crate them together at night for bedtime. Bed by 9PM; we take them out around 12:30 to 1:30 when we hear them wake up or move around; and they usually get up again around 4AM to 5AM; we just put them on the leash walk them outside, they’re so tired they “do your stuff”, both piddle and poo and we put them back in the crate and we always say, “good boy” during the piddle and poo. This “good boy” response always seems to trigger the other to go; many times they’ll go in tandem. Once one has gone and tries to distract the other; I’d pick him up while we wait for the other; but after my 2nd accident and I’m in a cast I just hold the leash tight enough so the other can finish his business.

      We’re not done yet, but I think we’re on the road. If anyone has had a baby and had to wake up for night feedings you’ll know what it’s like to have new puppy; and why not have twins – twice the work, yes but twice the love right? and after 2 years of the puppy stage; we’ll have two well behaved dogs on their way to adult dog hood… who love to play fetch; swim, walk, cuddle, just like the good ole days before our older labs passed on. I’ve always had the older one around to help with the younger one which is definitely a recommendation; but we did not have a chance this time. Who knew how sick he was and he went so quickly once we found out.

      Wish us luck as we wish you luck and I hope this post finds you and your pups doing well!

  2. I completely disagree. I bought a pair of pups from a very reputable breeder years ago. They are now 4 and a half. Best dogs I have ever owned. They were very easy to train. Very polite dogs. Great retrievers too. Great mothers as well. We crated them together for the frost few months. They kept each other company. Each of them bonded with us too. The black one bonded to my husband and the yellow to me. Not that they didn’t love everyone in the family but if anything happened we knew which dog was whose. To this day they are still wonderful dogs. They have each had a couple litters and we have are excited to be keeping a pup from our black female this time. We have had a few people take a pair of pups from their litters and other litters we have had and we have heard nothing but good things from all of them. They have bonded with their litter mate as well as all the members of their family. We have gone to a few of their houses to play with the siblings too and they are wonderful thriving pups who bond just fine.

    • Hi Jaime- Can you give me some advice on how you potty trained 2 pups at once? I have 2 yellow lab pups, brothers, they are now 10 weeks old. They were the 2 left in the litter so we took both. Unfortunately this “breeder” (not really) that we got them from did not really take good care of them. They were filthy and when we took them to the vet, we found out they were both sick- tested positive for parasites. They are on their last week of medication now. But because they were already sick, we did not want to bring them outside so they go potty on puppy pads (not always). Since they are doing better, I tried to bring them outside to go potty, but no luck. They laid on the puppy pad, chewed on the leash, cried… I waited an hour until bringing them back inside. As soon as we got inside, they both went.

      Right now, they live in a pen and yes there is a puppy pad there and they do use it but they still go everywhere too. Should I get a crate now? And if so, do I get one or two? They sleep together, if not on top of each other, they are touching. How do I crate train two boys? It looks like it can be done…I just don’t know where to start. Thank you for your help. If anyone can reply here that would be very helpful!

  3. Unaware of this good advise I brought home two pups (not labs) and yes they are much harder work than one. However, we soon realized this and put in the extra time and training employing a reputable trainer for 1 on 1 work and reinforcing that ourselves. I think the best thing we did (and still do) was use crates rather than an open bed for them. We made sure these crates (Pet shop crates) are roomy and they still use them. Some enclosure gives them a “cave” and a sense of safety. We only ever had 2 nights of crying and one was fireworks night. They bonded with us as much as themselves and besides the of 1/2 hour of madness playtime the are very affectionate and protective towards us.

  4. well, after a long think on this,we picked up our 8 week old Black Lab male on Monday.We have a 1 year old Black lab female now.It has only been 4 days but can honestly say it has been the best thing.Abby has taken to the puppy(Tait) so well,is very loving towards him and patient and I think they will be best friends!
    Love these guys so much and looking forward to sharing our empty nest with them and giving them a great life
    I enjoy this website and get awesome advice from you:)

  5. we had two Girl labs from the same litter, they love each other very much they are now 6yrs. They’re also besotted with the whole family and love nothing more than sitting on your lap for cuddles or just lying next to us! Training was all good recall excellent we used a lunge line nice and long easy to catch if they carried on running, a little bit of pulling on the lead, but that’s not so bad, they love their treats too! We have also introduced another girl not a lab but x with patterdale and a springer spaniel , took a little more time for them to accept her but they are all getting on fabulously now! Don’t regret getting them both together they sorted out between them who was top dog as well.

  6. 2 have been a pleasure. Very easy to train. A puppy for each kid or parent to have. And they are each other’s playmate and run around outside for hours.

  7. We had 2 x 9 week old brothers who are now 16 months. They are chalk and cheese in personality and both a great pleasure and very well behaved. We have a few issues off the lead as they can be a little naughty, looking at each other then dashing off to investigate something, but they return after seconds and I am proud of their good behaviour especially in the house. They are close and loving both to each other and us and I believe it was a good idea to have had them both

    • Hi Carrie- can you give me some advice on how you potty trained 2 pups at once? I have 2 yellow lab pups, brothers, they are now 10 weeks old. They were the 2 left in the litter so we took both. Unfortunately this “breeder” (not really) that we got them from did not really take good care of them. They were filthy and when we took them to the vet, we found out they were both sick- tested positive for parasites. They are on their last week of medication now. But because they were already sick, we did not want to bring them outside so they go potty on puppy pads (not always). Since they are doing better, I tried to bring them outside to go potty, but no luck. They laid on the puppy pad, chewed on the leash, cried… I waited an hour until bringing them back inside. As soon as we got inside, they both went.

      Right now, they live in a pen and yes there is a puppy pad there and they do use it but they still go everywhere too. Should I get a crate now? And if so, do I get one or two? They sleep together, if not on top of each other, they are touching. How do I crate train two boys? It looks like it can be done…I just don’t know where to start. Thank you for your help. If anyone can reply here that would be very helpful!

  8. We have 4 labs at the moment two if which are brothers from the same litter. They are now just over 1 year old. I have to say I disagree with this article as we have had no problems. There are times when they are double trouble as when one does something naughty the other has to join in the fun but this would happen with dogs of different ages and on the whole they have been brilliant. Training was easier and quicker with these two than it was with the older labs who are now 8 and 3. We also had no sleepless nights. All 4 dogs have a great bond with each other and with us, they all follow commands and are very well behaved. It may not be for everyone but if you have the time to dedicate to training two puppies it can be very rewarding.

    Donna x

    • Hi Donna- can you give me some advice on how you potty trained 2 pups at once? I have 2 yellow lab pups, brothers, they are now 10 weeks old. They were the 2 left in the litter so we took both. Unfortunately this “breeder” (not really) that we got them from did not really take good care of them. They were filthy and when we took them to the vet, we found out they were both sick- tested positive for parasites. They are on their last week of medication now. But because they were already sick, we did not want to bring them outside so they go potty on puppy pads (not always). Since they are doing better, I tried to bring them outside to go potty, but no luck. They laid on the puppy pad, chewed on the leash, cried… I waited an hour until bringing them back inside. As soon as we got inside, they both went.

      Right now, they live in a pen and yes there is a puppy pad there and they do use it but they still go everywhere too. Should I get a crate now? And if so, do I get one or two? They sleep together, if not on top of each other, they are touching. How do I crate train two boys? It looks like it can be done…I just don’t know where to start. Thank you for your help. If anyone can reply here that would be very helpful!

  9. I had my first pure golden lab at 19 and in taught him to be a great pack dog and rescue dog for Yosemite and river guiding. At the age of 7 he slipped on a rock carrying a 90lb pack in Josha Tree. There went the knee and he soon become the greatest home pet.
    He got bone cancer at the age of 9 and he went quick. I know I waited to long (another topic) put it came to the time he could not go outside to waste and would try to hold it in, that night was the hardest thing I every did. Two months went by I so being by self I found a black lab/flat coat male and he helped me overcome the first. Zip was so easy and became such a great ball player that I brought him while I thought avalanche tranning course to humans in the mountains. It was not long till Zip was finding the beckons under snow before the class. So he became a snow pull dog and we did several Mt together. He too hurt his hip at 7 and I also was going through a hip replacement at 33, knee surgery, back steel plates. So Zip with me me while we both rehab each other.
    I only mention this to get to the topic. Zip is covered in fatty lumps and of course you can not tell when their in pain, especially him. Step on his foot he looks at you. So I heard that puppies can help older dogs.
    So I spent a lot of time looking for the right price and back ground.
    I bought 2 male labs -Father winner of best in show in 2008 English and mother Grey Chapion hunting dog.
    Got a black male Cash (after my favorite signer) and a gorgeousness huge brown (Zeus) because my woman did not like Hank Williams Jr.
    I do not believe in crating. I used to take them 1 at a time and have them follow Zip the old one.
    Now I can have them both heel, sit, stay, hand command, point, nose show, a few hunting tricks with lights and they are 3 months today.
    However, as I already know puppies are work. Even though they are on a schedule they seem to have different schedules. We take turns sleeping a day on and a day off with my girlfriend and it’s killing us.
    I live in Canyon Lake, CA where it is a private community with water ski, hills all around, golf courses just beautiful. I just bought an 80 ache in Montana and want as many dogs as I can afford but I’m always pulled back hear to Canyon Lake, and plan on having multiple homes as I know my woman could not do a Montana winter. Closest town is 48 miles.
    Back to point problems I/we face are is that temps get into the 107 here in summer. This summer has been also very humid like never before. They do not care for the heat, but will mostly go out to go potty and run back in.
    Cash likes to sleep on Zeus. Zeus is very calm, but what happens is that they always want what the other has, even if it the same. This leads to barking, that leads to playfull wrestling, wich then turn into. I feel too rough and snapping at the ear and pulling. Cash always seems to start it, and Zeus will ignore until he gets upset. Then Zeus is like a bear and throws Cash around with his body and Cash nips back.
    They also like to bark at each other that will go on for a long time unless I use a firm hand. They are still not crated, and few accidents still happen. Because of the old blind Zip I have in the Master and office I have gated them to where I can hear their signal for telling on their brother or need to go outside.
    Now I did this for myself due to not facing that grief when Zip is time and learned and read a lot about what to look for in a puppy for what you want them to be used for.
    I have seen god things about same litter puppies like huskies, but this is the first I found out about not to have same litter puppies.
    I am currently designing 2 new homes, rebuilding this place we are ate, and own a cigar company and an Entitlement Company.
    If I had all the money I needed I would detonate all my time to them but I can not. It is a very hard time for me so my girlfriend of 5 yrs and Master in Child Behavior helps out (never had a puppy before) and has different technique for them. Because of lack of sleep puppy cause arguing between us on little stuff just because of lack of our sleep.
    So having brother are bad? In my opinion it all depends on the handler.

    Thank you for reading as it helped me

    Big Dave

  10. We have got two black males who are litter mates. After all the research we did prior to getting them we never read anywhere not to get two! We had two before, but there was a 2 year age difference, and as we work we wanted two again to keep each other company. We have had them 3 weeks (now aged 11 weeks) and they are adorable. They play together, and sleep together. They have been so much easier than we anticipated, and people have commented on how well behaved they are. I have already trained them to sit and wait for each meal, and not to pinch the other ones when one has finished. They also now recall when I shout ‘come in for a biscuit’ lol. They can’t go out yet, but we have been practicing walking them on the garden in their harnesses on two leads, one walks fine and the other rolls, but does this regardless of where his brother is. We have two grown up sons living at home, so are happy to commit the time and effort to training them, we just adore them and they are definitely helping us get over losing our other two within six months of each other recently.

  11. We got two black labrador brothers at 9 weeks. They settled in so quickly and are now 5 months. They have to be touching when they are sleeping but can be separated with no issues. I had so many worries because someone told me after it was a huge mistake but I think we are lucky to have two very intelegent and quick-to-learn pups. I own one and my partner ownes the other so we train them separately and feed them separately and walk them separately.

  12. I wish I’d read your excellent article 6 years ago! I did just that –thinking I’d had 2 labs together before but they were not the same age and were part trained as they were failed gun dogs. 2 months after I’d had my puppies Ihad to have a major operation unexpectedly and rely on various family members to help out. No way would I be without either of the dogs –I love them both dearly but they have been very hard work. If I hadn’t had a lot of invaluable help from a marvellous trainer ( Paul Daly ) I’m not sure how I would have managed. I take them out seperately a lot- and they then behave very well — Take them out together and they can be a bit like Bonnie and Clyde! They have an incredibly close bond with each other and most people comment on how well behaved and calm they are and that is now true 95% of the time — . They have repaid me for all the hard work – but it was hard. The other thing I hadn’t taken into account was that living alone made training much harder than when my husband was alive but they enrich my life every day and bring much joy and happiness.

  13. I have another positive story of litter mates. I had only ever had a dog as a child and she had dominance and temper issues. I was determined not to make those mistakes and really wanted two to be companions for each other. They were polar opposite natures from the very day they were born and perhaps this is why there has never been an issue. Never a cross word has passed between them. I trained them by placing them in different rooms and alternating 10 minute sessions two or three times per day. They became very placid, calm, quiet dogs and this is commented on frequently everywhere we go. They are socialised extensively to other dogs and children and can behave impeccably in pubs and public spaces. They are bonded very strongly to us, more so than each other, they were never playful dogs but prefer closeness and cuddles with their human companions, although they do groom and comfort each other.

    • Hi there,

      Did your puppies sleep in totally different areas? Also after separate train times did you allow them to play together? Or where they kept separated most of the time?

  14. I completely disagree with this, especially with Labradors. My husband & I have raised many Labs, and when we lost 4 in one year, (his 2 and my 2 to old age and to cancer), we researched and found a great breeder. We brought home our Emmy & Fitzy, a brother & sister. They are completely bonded to us, and have been since we held them in our arms for the first time. They take more time and patience and a slightly different training approach, but we believe they belong together and with us. They are such happy, wonderful kids of ours. We would do this again in a heartbeat, and actually we have, because we rescued a pregnant mix from a kill shelter and have raised her pups. While our Labs have never fought to establish dominance; these rescue pups have, and have needed to see the vet. We monitor them closely, but 2 brothers in that litter have had their battles. Our Labs work their frustrations out differently, but likely that is due to their biological parents’ safe, happy upbringing. The rescue pups’ parents had only known severe abuse. We think raising 2 Labs instead of 1 is easier and happier in many ways.

    • Thanks for this Kelly, I’m actually crying reading this, happy tears though. My husband and I are getting 2 Lab x retrievers next week. They are brother and sister and soooo cute. We very sadly lost our 12 year Lab last year and I have felt hear broken since.
      I can only hope we have made the right choice in getting our 2 new members of our family. Hopefully they will love each other and us as much as we will love them :).

    • Hi Kelly- can you give me some advice on how you potty trained 2 pups at once? I have 2 yellow lab pups, brothers, they are now 10 weeks old. They were the 2 left in the litter so we took both. Unfortunately this “breeder” (not really) that we got them from did not really take good care of them. They were filthy and when we took them to the vet, we found out they were both sick- tested positive for parasites. They are on their last week of medication now. But because they were already sick, we did not want to bring them outside so they go potty on puppy pads (not always). Since they are doing better, I tried to bring them outside to go potty, but no luck. They laid on the puppy pad, chewed on the leash, cried… I waited an hour until bringing them back inside. As soon as we got inside, they both went.

      Right now, they live in a pen and yes there is a puppy pad there and they do use it but they still go everywhere too. Should I get a crate now? And if so, do I get one or two? They sleep together, if not on top of each other, they are touching. How do I crate train two boys? It looks like it can be done…I just don’t know where to start. Thank you for your help. If anyone can reply here that would be very helpful!

  15. We had 2 beautiful black lab boys from the same litter – best thing ever. They were best pals, ate together, slept together, played together. We focused on human bonding throughout their training with great success. It was more difficult having 2 puppies but with good planning and simple clear training we had 2 of the most beautiful, loyal, well behaved boys ever and they were an absolute joy.

  16. I had two lurcher brothers nearly 3 years ago now, and I cant deny it is double the work, but also double the love and fun. We have had no trouble with bonding and believe it or not there is no top dog. So If you can face double the poop and your sofa being destroyed double quick time I would highly recommend two pups.

  17. We had 2 Goldens from the same litter 2 fantastic dogs ever lived until15 years and passed within a few months of each other. Now have a working cocker 15 months nightmare ! Despite reading TR twice he does not respond at an acceptable time.!!

  18. We got 2 dogs from the same litter. We only intended to take1 boy but visited the breeders home several times in the weeks before we brought him home and the little runt, a female, hadn’t been offereda home and we ended up taking her too. They’re westies and not labs but I’m assuming the same things apply regardless of breed to a greater or lesser extent. They are very close but not to the detriment of their bond with us which is very close. We actually found that training them together was better for her as she was a little slower in picking things up than him so she tended to learn what to do by watching what he did in order to get his treat & then copy him!

  19. We adopted two female labs from the same litter because our daughter was drawn to one whilst I wanted the polar opposite puppy. For us it has been 90% wonderful & I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The breeder didn’t encourage it & we explained our reasons behind our choices. There have been issues in training them to walk properly & they are walked separately. We’ve experienced zero problems with bonding issues. At any given time we each have a dog to bond with instead of waiting for our turn with our dog. The dogs are four now. They’ve learned from each other & communicating with them is enhanced because of the two. For our family it was the right thing to do.

  20. I rescued a brother sister pair almost two years ago, and I’m great full I did. I had three other rescues in the house prior to Coco and Wonka. Two pits and a Corgie. I would do it again in a heart beat. My male pit, Devo, who is a year older than the twins did 90% of the work. The twins followed him every where and he did most of the training. It took me one weekend to house break them, or should I say it took him one weekend. The three are best of friends and when I went back to work after being home for a year and half, after a knee replacement, Devo help fill the gap. It may not work for most but I would do it again. PS thanks Moore Lab for filling a gap in my heart after losing my black lab, Daytona.

  21. We lost our beloved Labrador – Kerri, and after about 6 months felt we were ready to get another one. We went to look at the puppies and eventually took two litter sisters.. Lots of people said we made a mistake, but if we did, its the best mistake we ever made.. 7 years on, they have NEVER had a cross word, eat out of the same dish since puppyhood, and love us equally. Can’t say they are the best behaved girls when somebody comes to visit, they love people and take a few tellings to go to bed, AND STAY THERE..lol. Maybe we have been extra lucky with them, but we have never come across two such gorgeous natured Labs in the fifty years since I got my first Lab. for my 16th Birthday… As for training them together, it worked out beautifully. (except for MY blunder) When teaching them to lie down I was using the old treat bit… They now sit side by side, and will sit, lie down, sit up in unison… HOWEVER, if I want them to lie down I need to have a biscuit treat. No treat.. No lie down.. If that’s the worst they do.. I’m happy..

  22. I have 3 labs. I got them 1 year apart and have a great time with them. I trained Roxy in the first year. The second pup, Buster showed up and I trained him right along with her and had no problems. Then Maggie showed up another year later and I added her to the pac. She fit right on in and shes still being trained.
    I have found that they listen way better if you talk to them, I have NEVER used a treat to coax them.
    LOVE, And thats what I gave them from day one. and to this day. Dont get mad at them they have to learn just like your kid.
    LOYAL, is what they have been since day 1. and you must be.
    Acknowledge them, When they want to be pet or play, dont push them away.
    You see videos of people coming home from the war and their dog is so happy to see them, well that is every morning when I get up and when I get home. They even stand in line for a hug.
    So before ya get 2 from the same litter think about this if you want more than 1 pup. Have a great day and treat your puppy like it was your baby. Kevin

  23. Oh my now I am a little worried now. We bought 2 boy fox red labs yesterday from the same litter. I thought it was a good idea…am I in trouble? We are crate training. What could you recommend?

    • Hi Lesley, you can either return one of the pups, or you can keep them both. If you decide to keep them both you will need to take steps to ensure that each pup spends plenty of individual time with you, which means separating them quite a bit. You will also need to train each puppy separately so will need to commit to individual training sessions as the pups get older. If you have successfully trained several dogs in the past, this should not be too much of a problem for you. You can get help and support in the forum, and talk to others about how they coped
      Best wishes, whatever you decide.
      Pippa

  24. A friend has two girls from the same litter and they are wild! It seems like they have each other so they don’t really need people as much as all the other dogs I have known. They are terrible on the lead and wrestle like puppies really violently even though they are fully grown. He has had about ten dogs before, up to three at a time and never had theses problems until he got litter mates.

  25. I got caught up in the moment and ended up with 2 8-wks lab puppies from the same litter. I had them less than 2 weeks, and one got parvo. following the vets advise we (my whole family) have been working with her non-stop. She seems to be getting a little better, but boy she got it bad, I figure she may have been exposed to it prior to my getting her. Labs are very active, smart and fun. But they take a lot of time and do their own thing but want you to participate. Anyways, once my little girl is well, I might decide to just stay with her and find another owner for my other one. Wish me well.

  26. I have 2 golden retrievers from the same litter – and my Dad had 2 border collies from the same litter. I have never had a problem and neither did he. My two are company for each other when I work and I do have a strong bond with both. The only thing that does worry me a bit is when I lose one of them. They have never really been apart and don’t like being separated.

  27. We´re moving to a new house, with a good grass garden and a pool, and a friendly neighboor just give 2 eight weeks old Lab puppies (boy and girl) to my 6 years old twins (boy and girl) …
    To make things a bit worse, they are not only littermates, but their mother and 2 sisters will stay just a fence away, and although I had dogs before, there are near 20 years that I have no pets.
    My twins are just amazed, and now there are no chance to say no to them or to the new neighboor (to be true, I don´t want to).
    I only hope we´re able to “survive” this crazy combo: 2 twins pairs.

  28. Well, I’ve got two labs. They’re not littermates, but they are father and son. (What happened was that Ned (the dad) shared an outdoor kennel with my dear old springer, Sam. They were very close and, when Sam died in February, Ned clearly missed him. As did I. However, Ned had recently sired a lovely litter and they were 8 weeks old. So I had one to fill the gap.) Oscar (the son) initially lived indoors but, when he was 4 months old, he joined his dad outside. They immediately bonded and became great mates – Ned, hitherto a rather reserved and dignified dog, even became quite playful – almost at times puppyish.

    But there are a few problems. For example, they hate being separated and, as I agree that Oscar’s training must be just him and me, I have to adopt various stratagems to achieve this. Ned is a trained gun dog (as I hope Oscar will be) and, as the shooting season is now under way and Ned will be out all day, I foresee some difficulty. However, when Oscar was small (and incredibly cute) I spent a lot of one-on-one time with him and we’re very close. Thus when, for example, I take them for their (joint) walk, although Oscar chases around with Ned, he’s continually watching me and checking to ensure that we’re not losing touch.

    But the great asset is that, as they spend a lot of time in their kennel, they have each other for company which I’m sure supports their overall well-being.

    (BTW Ned is a slim 30 kilo dog aged 6 years. Oscar is not yet 9 months but is already 32 kilos and still growing. Although they look very similar, I can quickly tell which is the puppy because he’s the biggest!)

  29. Hi
    We bought 2 Labrador littermates. 2 girls and they are the sweetest dogs you could ever wish for. They are inseparable and will pine if one is taken somewhere without the other. As for training well, I think we must have been lucky. We did not experience any problems with our two girls. Ruby is daddys girl and Berry has bonded with me. Perhaps we are the exception but our experience has been a good one and if we were ever looking to buy again, we would probably buy two rather than one.

  30. We almost ended up with two, when I went to choose (but not bring home) Juno; I took my mum to look at the pups and she fell for one. The breeder didn’t think it was good idea (neither did I, I wanted Juno focussed on me not her sister) but marked her for us so we could think about it. It took a lot of talking but we only brought one home, the breeder was relieved and thought we’d made the right choice, he put us on a list for future litters and I got Juno’s niece from them few years later. When I got Hebe there was one boy left a beautiful lad called Merlin and I was so tempted to take him home too and in this instance I think I made the wrong decision. Hebe is a very dependent dog, she’s currently wrapped around my feet, very nice but a bit warm! I didn’t know until I collected her at just under nine weeks that they weren’t fully weaned, she was a very demanding puppy. Her parents were sound (dad is now a Ft ch) and the breeding set up was excellent but the breeders were (I later found out) inexperienced and had made lots of mistakes. She became part of our ‘pack’ consisting of Labs of 10 and 7 years old plus a five year old wolfhound. She couldn’t eat what I consider real food, wasn’t used to feeding times etc. she bonded with the Wolfie and took her as a surrogate mum. I think if I’d taken Merlin as well the two would have offered each other comfort in the crate and when they were left. Not quite sure how they would have coped being trained separately, however, I do think a companion puppy or litter mate would have helped Hebe no end. I had contact with the breeders for quite a few years after I got Hebe and I understand Merlin’s owners had similar problems with him as I did with Hebe. So whilst it’s not something I would ever plan to do it’s something I would consider in future, although ideally I’d want a pup ready to leave mum and stand on her own four feet.

  31. I know that there are always exceptions to every rule but on the whole , I agree wholeheartedly that to try and bond with two is much harder and training can be a nightmare, I know this because I`ve done it myself ! Admittedly they werent Labradors , they were two Jack Russell Terriers , brother and sister who faced an uncertain future . We were living in France at the time and these poor souls were kept in dreadful conditions and each had health issues, I couldnt leave one so took them both and boy , did I know about it ! Thankfully for me , they had a wonderful tutor in my Lab Tess who taught them manners and obedience as they followed her lead but whilst I loved them dearly, it isnt an exercise I would ever wish to repeat !
    My current Lab boy Sam was nine months old when we took on our JR rescue boy of roughly the same age and this has proved hard enough work as Sam still had some way to go with his training when we took on a dog who had had no training whatsoever and so I thoroughly endorse what you are saying Pippa , its too easy to let heart rule head !

LEAVE A REPLY