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I have a question that I just cannot figure out. I have two Basenji puppies that are 7 months old. They do everything together. They were shipped together, they sleep together, even crate together. As of today, approximately 3 hours ago, the male has been growling every time the female gets close to him, or a toy, and I have had to break up two legitimate aggressive instances nothing like their usual play-fights. The female is not instigating, she is merely walking by, not making eye contact and choosing toys that are far from where he is.

They ate dinner next to one another fine, but he all of a sudden cannot stand her or let her near at all. I am beyond puzzled!

The two of them are getting spayed & neutered in 2 days, but I can't see hormones being an issue all of a sudden?
 

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Whenever I see this sort of thing, the first thing I suspect is "littermate syndrome". It tends to come out as the dogs develop and hit maturity. How do they fare when separated? Is there any anxiety? If they are okay without each other, I would begin to separate them and gradually (but as quickly as you can) increase the periods for which you separate them. Walk, socialize, feed and work behaviorally on them as separate dogs. They need to stop functioning as the same "unit".
 

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Could be a natural sense of being 'territorial' is in the guy...and coming out now that he's maturing. He might have been showing subtle signs some time before this that you may have missed ??? But with the outright action he's taking, you can now see it.

The poster Kelly, mentioned littermate syndrome. I've seen it mentioned here but haven't read a lot about it...others might be able to point you to some of the threads where it's been talked about.

Stormy
 

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Whenever I see this sort of thing, the first thing I suspect is "littermate syndrome". It tends to come out as the dogs develop and hit maturity. How do they fare when separated? Is there any anxiety? If they are okay without each other, I would begin to separate them and gradually (but as quickly as you can) increase the periods for which you separate them. Walk, socialize, feed and work behaviorally on them as separate dogs. They need to stop functioning as the same "unit".
They are the same age, but aren't actually littermates... And I just tried seperating them for walks, and both had extreme anxiety with the other gone. The one on the walk was fine, but the one left behind was extremely destructive and loud.

The female is very skittish outside the house, but did better on the walk as a single dog.

The male usually is better on the walk with her, and did worse than ever on his lonely walk.

I was planning on getting seperate crates, but wasn't 100% sure when. I guess this is the time?
 

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Yep littermate syndrome can crop up any time you acquire 2 puppies within a few months' age of each other.

Try separating them as much as possible. And make a special point of socializing the male with other dogs. A puppy play class (without his adopted sis) might be good for him. He needs to learn how to interact with other dogs and also learn how rewarding it is to compromise a bit with other dogs, rather than always getting his way.

I would also for safety reasons crate them separately for sleep AND when you leave the house. It's been known to happen that littermates can get into really nasty fights with each other, and you don't want that happening when you're not around to break them up.

I think that you have caught this at just the right time. I think that there's a lot of hope for these two. People have come to the board before with littermates and the story goes something like "They've gotten into a few serious fights and now they can't stand to be in the same room!" You can see how by that time, the dogs have a lot of reasons to fear each-other and that makes training them even harder! The fact that neither dog has done anything traumatizing to the other means that you are not working against a history of negative experiences between the siblings.
 

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It's going to be a long process to teach them how to be dogs away from each other but it is possible and it will help them both. Can you get them playdates without each other? It's best done while they still have 'puppy leeway' with other dogs, and that won't be for much longer.
 
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