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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

So it's only 15 days until Leo and Luna will be ready to come home :)!

Both being Shih Tzu I have read that they may be hard to train, an also having two a brother and sister could be tricky.

Both me and Jack (my partner) plan to train each dog at the same time, maybe in different rooms but in the same way.

Could anyone share their experience of training puppies, where I should start and what I could do.
The videos on this site are brilliant and I plan to stick to those on the training threads.

Any first hand tips would be brilliant,

Thanks, hope your all well
 

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Congrats on the new pups!

I would recommend crate training them and keep the crates in separate rooms. You need to take measures to prevent "sibling syndrome" where they rely on each other so much that they have intense anxiety when they are away from each other. Crating, feeding, and letting them out to go potty separately will help this. Only let them play together once in awhile and never leave them alone together. This brings me to my next tip: when unsupervised, they need to be in a play pen or crate. The unsupervised pups are the ones that learn that all the wrong chew toys are the best chew toys!

You probably know this but I like to say it anyways: make sure your house is picked up so there are no socks, garbage, or anything like that for the pups to get into. I'd also make it a habit of keeping bathrooms and other doors to the house closed so they don't learn how fun it is to get into little garbage cans!

I recommend working with a +R trainer for any puppy. If you go to a puppy socialization class, that will help with training AND socialization (although you need much more than that for the pups). Just be sure to ask the trainer if they use squirt bottles and things like that (not good!). Time outs are the best form of 'punishment' for puppies not playing nicely, and I highly recommend using them and practicing them once in awhile even when they're playing nicely. It isn't a punishment, it is helping them calm down. The more excited dogs get, the more likely they are to get out of hand and get into a fight. I teach puppy classes and we use time outs to help teach pups proper play manners.

My last tip would be to get them used to grooming ASAP. Find a good groomer that you are comfortable with. I've worked with four groomers and they all were known to hit or yell at dogs. You need to find a groomer that genuinely loves dogs, and that wants to be patient with your pups to help them get used to a good grooming routine. You may need to look at most of the groomers in town, and see the reactions they each have to the pups to help you in your decision. Feel free to ask them how they would deal with them if they were fearful. Stay away from anyone who seems to use a rough hand with dogs, or that seem stressed or frustrated. Frustrated humans are more likely to hit dogs. Keeping them cut short for awhile at least will help them get used to grooming too. A short haired dog doesn't have to withstand as much brushing, or the high power dryers for a long time. If you want them to have longer hair in the future, they will be used to those things by then. I've been a dog bather for awhile and many dogs have BIG problems with grooming. If one of the pups hates it even as an adult, do them a favor and keep their coats short. Some dogs are so distraught by being groomed that it is almost torture to allow them to have a long coat. This might not seem like training, but this is gong to be a big part of your dogs' lives so I like to mention this when I can.

Also, shih tzus aren't terribly hard to train as long as you know what you're doing. Taking baby steps and using +R is going to be your best bet. I know some agility shih tzus and they are really nice dogs. Good luck!
 

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It is never a good idea to get litter mates--good breeders don't let litter mates go to the same home because it's rarely successful for both puppies.

It's not as easy as you think--1 trip to the store socialize 2 puppies, easy-peasy--NOT the case, you need TWO trips to socialize two puppies they have to learn to go places alone and have adventures alone. You can't just take them both for walks together all the time, you NEED to walk 1 alone and then walk the other alone.

BUT, since it sounds like you are already committed to both and can't back out of one of them, you should read this article (page 2 starts to discuss what to do if you already got the dogs). Problems Associated With Adopting Two Puppies at the Same Time - Whole Dog Journal Article


Biggest thing with any puppy is that for the first while they are either in their crate, outside for a potty break, in a puppy-proofed xpen, or interacting with their humans. So, if you are doing dishes, you puppies must be contained since you won't actively be watching them. You can't leave them to their own devices--if you aren't actively interacting with them, they need to be contained for potty training purposes AND for proper chewing purposes.

Training wise, start with potty training. The first 5 behaviors I teach EVERY dog (puppy or adult), besides potty training: Name recognition, "touch"/hand target, lay on a mat, sit, and that i'm a valuable item to focus on (not a specific behavior but a concept).

I cannot emphasize this enough, these puppies MUST live separate lives--EVERYDAY they must be separated for a few hours and go on separate adventures. They can spend time together but it should not be the bulk of their day--they absolutely NEED to learn to cope in the world as individuals. They NEED to learn to socialize with other dogs as individuals, NEED to learn to socialize with people as individuals, etc.

You can do your best to prevent the bad things from happening, but you have to take it seriously and work hard to raise two separate, independent, and confident dogs.
 

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Excellent advice above.

I'll add a couple good books that you can use for a guideline:
Perfect Puppy in 7 Days How to Start Your Puppy off Right: Dr. Sophia Yin: 9780964151871: Amazon.com: Books (I also Love her book How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves.)
and The Puppy Primer: Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., Brenda Scidmore: 9781891767135: Amazon.com: Books

There is a great thread on here to get you started with some videos: http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training/helpful-training-videos-articles-11426/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm now really anxious, we only went for two because we thought it would be best for them.

I'm happy to separate them, I will buy two play pens (please suggest which and where to get) I found some online, we are happy to walk, train and raise them separately. However, will it need to be like this forever? Can they never be together? Will they always not bond with us and rely on each other, or if we build the bond could they at some point roam in the house together?

I hope I haven't made a mistake, I really really want to give them the very best possible home. Any help is appreciated

Josh x
 

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It wont have to be forever, just until they are both confident adults (whenever that happens for your individual dogs). They need to learn to be confident individuals or they rely so much on the confidence gained from the other dog that if the other is ever absent the one can turn into a puddle of fearful mush with a side of aggression.

HONESTLY, if you aren't 100% committed to both, it may be easier to only get the one. Once he/she is a confident adult pup, you can get a second dog and you have a well-mannered dog for the pup to help learn the ropes. Litter mates can be raised successfully...but it is just so hard, even for very experienced dog owners.


I like x-pens like this:



because as the pups become better with potty training, you can increase the size of the pen and then you can use them as "gates" to slowly give them more access to the house even if you have open concept home or large doorways.

You may even start now finding an EXPERIENCED positive reinforcement trainer to help you through the process of raising litter mates successfully.

You may enjoy this photo of my mom's shih tzu after a muddy muddy play session at a pond :)

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, I love that Shih Tzu picture!!

Me and Jack are both really committed to giving both dogs wonderful lives. Both of us have a big interest in dog training, caring, grooming and have been desperate for a dog for a long time. I have also trained parrots before so have the patience and time for something like this.

I couldn't possibly say no to one of the puppies now, so I'd just appreciate any help to progress in this situation. As I said, I will separate the dogs for the first year, separate rooms, in separate pens, with separate training and individual walks and feeding.

Should we each account for one dog and then try and bring them together every other day? Can someone give me a plan of action which worked for them?

Thanks, Josh x
 

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They can be together for fun events and family time every day without a problem, but they should have major happenings be separate. Separate socialization trips, separate play times with other dogs, separate time to hang out with visitors (so you could have Dog A out for a few minutes and then dog B out for a few minutes with visitors--if BOTH dogs were confident with the visitors, you can have them both out together). It's not really all about them being totally separated, but the big thing for them to learn is how to cope inthe world as an individual--if they never experience things without their sibling, they won't ever get that. So they can have their puppy play time everyday but they need to also have alone time.

Good for you guys for being committed. I wouldn't delineate that X is my dog and Y is my partner's ... you want the puppies to bond with both of you.

Find yourself a good experienced positive trainer now so if you start having problems, you already know who to call for support.
 

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I also recommend not getting two littermates. Keep in mind that two young puppies now will also equal two senior dogs in 10 years. You can expect to spend $10,000 on each dog in their senior years. See rule number one from the link below. This is an agility instructor's rules, but rule #1 will apply to everyone.

Power Paws Agility | old dogs rule and old dog rules

I agree with much that has been said above. People are not prepared for the 24/7 job raising a puppy is. It's hard, hard work. Having two will actually be MORE than twice the work. I'm in the process of training one pup (4 months). I'd be in the asylum if I had two to raise!!!
 
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I agree that two pups isn't a good idea. I think if at all possible, you should opt to take home just one. I know it would be a hard decision, especially now that you already have them picked out and you've gotten so excited about both. But logically, I truly believe that it would be the best decision for all involved. The puppies will do fine being separated, and I'm sure that the other will still find a great home. You can always add a second dog in a couple years, after this dog has matured some and you have established good habits.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey guys,

Me and Jack had quite the discussion on the litter mate syndrome last night, an although not completely decided we do wish to continue on adopting both dogs.

Our plan is as follows

Each have their own pen in separate rooms. Each eats separately, trains with one of us separately and goes on walks separately meeting new dogs all by them selves. Vet visits will be separate.
They will be together when me and jack are both at home, so that we can both interact and play with them, train them, but out separately if only one of us is around.

We both have a strong passion for animals and would do anything and everything to make this work for them.

We have no children or no other animals and have educated ourselves on this syndrome to make up a routine. We even plan to go to class with them, one each, and stand separately and train separately.

Essentially, and I know I shouldn't say it, but we will each for the first year be playing major roles in both dogs upbringing. But also in each dogs independence. After the first year, we will see and determine how they are and consider brining us all in as a family unit.

Thanks for the help, all other suggestions would be lovely, I think we are set to work hard rather then say no to one.

Hope your all well.
Josh
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry, just to add.

We are not going into this lightly, we weren't looking for two puppies to just keep each other company all day while we work. An we were not just after one "each" like squabbling children. We took it very seriously and want to give each dog the best, both very committed to each dog so that we can be a four piece family. Just like people with children, we would do everything to research and make sure their well being is sort after first. Both are lifetime insured and will get the very best, even coming on holidays with us as we have pre prepared with Lufthansa about flights, the hotels we stay in accept animals etc.

I appreciate all your advice, just didn't want anyone to assume we were just after two cute little Shih tzu to play with and then discard like old toys.

Thanks,

Josh x
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No not full time.
We work a lot from home, an I only work about 3-4 days a week. Jack is home around 2 oclock each day :)

Thank you, only 2 weeks now. So excited x
 

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How old will the puppies be when you get them? As many breeders don't let them go till they are 12 weeks, I cannot see it a problem with them still being together when you first get them. I think the main problem with getting two puppies at the same time is people tend to leave them together all the time as they grow up rather than bothering to train them separately and they actually need to be weaned off each other, the same as they are weaned off their litter. They need to stay calm when separated so should have separate times every day. When they are old enough to go out on walks, it is a good idea to do this separately sometimes.

You should have lots of fun with your puppies as they love having another dog to play with but also need to learn to be independent of each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do the dogs need to be completely seperate? Is there no interaction at all? We can do most of the separation but worried about being on our own at home for a few hours and having to alternate between dogs incase they hear and get upset?

Can they both be out with only one of us there to supervise on odd occassions for a few hours?

Thanks, Josh x
 

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You do not both have to be there in order for them to get out together to play with each other. They do not have to be kept isolated from each other all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey,

Thank you so much. We have been so worried about having two after the barrage of negative messages, we are on another forum and we mainly get people saying dont do it, instead of advising on how to make it work. So really, thanks for everyone on here being so great with it.

Thanks again, Josh x
 

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Since you're getting two, the best thing I can do is to echo what others have said. They will need to be kept separate for a good majority of the time. The most challenging thing about siblings being raised together is that they become very dependent on one another. You can almost say that they bond to each other more than they bond to their human/s. This can also make them harder to control. You can spend time teaching and training them individually, but put them together and it's very likely that they'll decide their sibling is more important than doing what you ask.

Of course they can be together sometimes to play :) But they really need to bond to you and your partner and grow up independently as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey guys,

I apologise for my ignorance. We have spoke to the breeder about it and expressed our concerns, I couldn't simply ignore all the advice and although wanting to home two is great, I just couldn't give both bad up bringings because of having two selfishly.

We will only be getting Luna, this way I ca focus on training and learn all the traits of a shih tzu before I get another. Maybe another puppy after Luna is older. Or maybe the one will be fine.

I qpologise to everyone for my silliness, I was very stubborn to not take in the advice, I has really upset me to say no to Leo, I feel really bad. I would have felt worse if they couldnt have the life they needed though.

Thank you everyone, im going to focus my efforts on raising Luna to be the best dog she can be,

Thanks again, Josh
 
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