Raising two puppies from different litters is a challenge, but not quite as huge of an undertaking as raising two puppies from the same litter. With two puppies from the same litter you are dealing with a pair who are already bonded to each other, and it takes a great deal of effort on your part to become part of their group. Two puppies from separate litters, however, will bond with you as well as each other.
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Tip #1 - Select one puppy of each sex if you haven't already chosen your dogs. It's impossible to know what type of disposition your adult dogs will have, but you can increase the likelihood of your pups getting along when they reach adulthood by getting both a male and a female. Dogs of the same sex, particularly two females, often refuse to get along, even if they have been raised together. Spaying and neutering, which has many health and behavioral benefits, will not stop these disagreements.
Tip #2 - Allow some time for the new puppy to adjust before you add a second one. Even if you want the puppies to grow up together, a few days for the first puppy to get acclimated to his new home and family can make the transition easier for both puppies. Two scared puppies, separated from their littermates and put together with strange humans, can create a lot of stress for everyone. By separating the arrival by a few days, you can focus special attention on each one during the transition.
Tip #3 - Start obedience training as soon as you bring your puppies home. You can't expect your new puppies to have the attention span of an older dog, but you can start teaching them to come when called, sit down when you ask them to and use your hand to put them in position, and walk on a leash. Several 5-minute sessions each day, working with each puppy separately, will help establish a bond between you and your new pals. Don't compare the puppie's progress. Some breeds mature quicker and are more focused at a younger age. Since your puppies aren't related, don't make the mistake of expecting them to behave the same way.
Tip #4 - Provide separate eating and sleeping areas for each puppy. While you may find the sight of your puppies piled together snoozing to be enchanting, it can create some bad habits. If you expect your puppies to share a crate, one of two things can happen. They may start fighting from being forced to remain in such tight quarters, or they may develop such a tight bond that they whine, cry, dig and become frantic when separated. Sharing food dishes can lead to fights and resource guarding, where the puppies don't want anyone, including you, around while they're eating. If there is a disparity in size or temperament, you may need to feed the puppies in separate rooms to prevent the larger or more assertive pup from scarfing down his food and then moving to the other's.
Tip #5 - Socialize your puppies so they're used to other dogs and people. Take them to the local dog park and for walks so they get used to strange sights, smells and sounds. One of the major challenges in raising two dogs together is they become overly dependent on each other. You can minimize that risk by getting your puppies out into new environments as much as possible.
By Stephanie Dube Dwilson
About the Author
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.