Lamenting Littermate Syndrome

Training Program: In-Patient Program
Program Start Date: April 17, 2011
Hometown:  Westerly, RI

We are a family of five with three teenage girls and a year ago 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. At 12 weeks we found the two dogs occasionally fighting and we were having a hard time separating them as they were locked on to 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 at the class we met Brian as he spoke briefly about dogs 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 and one of their ears were cut open and the others leg. As a result my wife called Brian 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. Not promising anything he explained we may ultimately have to find a new home for one of the dogs, as this was not uncommon with liter mates. He explained we had three things not going in our favor, one: liter mates, two: both males, and three: one was deaf. However he explained it would take a lot of work and us working with him to correct the problem.

He arrived and wanted all three children there during the entire three hour session as he wanted us all to be on the same page. He spent three hours with the dogs and us and came up with many suggestions, one being for us to show no affection toward either of the dogs until the next session (two weeks later). He wanted us to feed, take them out and show no attention to them at all. This was extremely hard as they are two puppies and want nothing but attention. We worked are best at doing this and the next session he worked on all kinds of techniques with us showing them we were in charge and they were not. This was very frustrating and at times 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 other sessions and we have not had any other fighting since the second session. They are always side by side and play with each other for hours at a time. They play rough, however no fighting and they have developed into two (most of the time) well behaved 8 month old puppies.

In the end 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 upmost respect for Brian as he is very well versed in animal behaviors and training to overcome behaviors. With trainers like Brian pet owners should feel confident he will work hard to overcome poor pet behaviors.

We have become friendly with Brian and have taken his recommendation with Life Abundance foods. We have also taken advantage of his 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, as 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;

Lieutenant Shawn M Lacey – Westerly Police Department