The first time we were in the presence of a litter of puppies, I melted. We immediately chose Rodrigo – a Border Collie, Blue Heeler mix. We stayed for three hours visiting with the rescue group and that’s when the seed of adopting littermates was planted.
The rescue group chose his sister, Sydney, for us. Four years later, we are now raising two sets of littermates - Scout and Zoey joined our family last year.
If you’re thinking about adopting littermates, you should be aware of the sacrifices you'll need to make to handle such a commitment:
- Say goodbye to money! It’s going to the pet store, veterinarian and dog trainer. Raising littermates is 4-5 times the expense of raising a single dog. You need to factor in food, supplies, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, micro-chipping, pet licensing, pet insurance, and your dog trainer (not optional) - and this is just the start.
- Say goodbye to a good night’s sleep. With our puppies, I woke up every two hours to take them outside (potty training) and this tapered down to once a night until they could make it through the night. This took three months. Lack of sleep isn’t fun.
- Say goodbye to your favorite pair of shoes. I’ve lost many pairs of slippers and two pairs of rain boots. It’s my fault for leaving them near puppy teeth. Puppies can have a room full of toys, but until they’re properly trained, they will use anything to exercise those jaw muscles.
There are a lot of stories on the web about Littermate Syndrome that will lead you to believe that adopting littermates is the worst idea in the world. It was the best idea for us and we wouldn’t change a thing, but we were prepared for two puppies. Not everyone is ready or aware of the time, cost and sleepless nights that come with raising littermate puppies.
If you find yourself in a room full of puppies, take a moment to ask yourself if you’re truly ready. If the answer is yes, your next call needs to be to a dog trainer. Dog training is the best investment we’ve ever made with our dogs.
For more tips on raising dogs naturally, visit Keep the Tail Wagging.