Lamenting Littermate Syndrome

Training Program: Littermate Syndrome Treatment Plan
Hometown:  Westerly, RI

We are a family of five with three teenage girls.  It was a little over 1 year ago that we had to put our 14 ½ year old male Dalmatian to sleep as he was getting old and starting to fail.

A year later on, 02-20-2011, we purchased two male Dalmatians born on 01-01-2011 from a breeder in Washington State. We were only looking for one dog however they had two males, one black spotted and the other liver-spotted, and the liver-spotted was deaf and the breeder was hoping they would go together.

So we ended up with two seven-week-old puppies and not having a puppy for the past 14 or so years it was an experience, to say the least.

At 12 weeks old, we found the two dogs occasionally fighting and we were having a hard time separating them as they were locked onto each other. As a few weeks went on we found the problem becoming more frequent so we decided to attend a dog behavioral class at the Westerly Animal Shelter and it was at that class where we met Brian as he spoke about dog behaviors and training.

After the class my wife took his card as we were impressed with his knowledge and dedication to dog training.

Shortly after getting home (same night) the two 3-month-old puppies began fighting which resulted in one of their ears being cut open and the other leg as well.

As a result, my wife called Brian and left a frantic message looking for some assistance. He got right back to us the next morning and scheduled a session with us within two days.

While not promising anything, he explained we may ultimately have to find a new home for one of the dogs, as unfortunately and unbeknownst to us, this was not uncommon with littermates. 

Brian explained it would take a lot of home work and us working with him to correct the problem.

He arrived for the 1st Session and wanted all three children there during the entire three-hour session as he wanted us all to be on the same page.

Brian spent three hours with the dogs and us and came up with many suggestions, one being for us to limit our excited physical affection toward either of the dogs until the next session (two weeks later).

Brian instructed us to feed them, take them out, and show no excited Affection to them at all. This was extremely hard as they are two puppies and want nothing but attention!

We worked our best at doing this and at the next Session, Brian worked on all kinds of techniques with us showing while showing the pups that we were “in charge” and they were not.

At times, this work was very frustrating and it often seemed like it would not work, as they were always on their best behavior around Brian.

He explained if we worked hard at overcoming the problems – we would correct the problem, but we had to be committed.

In the end, we had two more At-Home Sessions and we have not had any other fighting since the 2md Session.

They are always side by side and play with each other for hours at a time. They play rough, however, there has been no fighting and they have developed into two (most of the time) well-behaved 8-month-old puppies!

When it was all said and done, Brian trained us and the dogs to overcome the problem and thanks to his quick response, patience, commitment, and dedication to addressing the problem early – we were able to keep our two dogs together.

I have the utmost respect for Brian as he is very well-versed in dog behaviors and offers the right type of training to overcome behaviors, without the need for special tools or tricks.

With trainers like Brian, pet owners should feel confident that their hard work and commitment will allow them to reach their goals.

We have become friendly with Brian and have taken his recommendation with Life Abundance dog food, as well.

We have also taken advantage of his SleepOver Boarding services on three occasions, which has taken the stress away from us when traveling.

The dogs actually enjoy going and get excited when arriving at his kennels.  They have gained great social skills because all the dogs play together.

Keep up the good work Brian, as I would highly recommend you to anyone looking for behavioral assistance with their animals, as anyone in need of boarding.

Thanks for all your help;

Chief Shawn M Lacey – Westerly Police Department