Littermate Syndrome in Dogs: Handling and Prevention

Have you ever considered adopting two puppy siblings from the same litter? While it may seem like a great idea to bring home two pups at once, it can lead to a common issue known as littermate syndrome. This syndrome can also occur when raising unrelated dogs, so puppy raisers must be aware of the potential risks.

Littermate syndrome, or puppy siblings syndrome, occurs when puppies from the same litter become too attached, causing behavioral problems and making training difficult for puppy raisers. This causes symptoms such as separation anxietyaggression towards other dogs, and difficulty socializing with humans. The causes of littermate syndrome can also happen when two unrelated puppies are brought home simultaneously as young pups.

Dog owners should know the risks of littermate syndrome when adopting sibling puppies. They should consider getting only one pup at a time or waiting until their first dog undergoes obedience training before bringing in a new sibling. Signs of littermate syndrome include excessive barking, separation anxiety, and aggression toward other dogs.

But what exactly is littermate syndrome, and why do sibling puppies develop it? Pups raised together by the same puppy raisers can become overly dependent on each other and may struggle with crate training, leading to behavioral issues.

Let’s dive deeper into the world of littermate syndrome in dogs, especially when it comes to sibling puppies or pups. Crate training is one of the things that can help prevent littermate syndrome.

Understanding the Development and Signs of Littermate Syndrome

What is Littermate Syndrome?

Littermate syndrome is a condition that affects pups who are raised together, especially puppies from the same litter. It occurs when two pups form an excessively strong bond with each other and become overly dependent on one another. This can cause several behavioral problems that can be difficult to manage. Crate training and work can help prevent the development of Littermate syndrome. Pet owners need to seek advice from a professional like Graddy to ensure their pups grow healthy and happy.

Why Does Littermate Syndrome Happen?

Littermate syndrome happens because pups from the same litter spend most of their time together during their critical socialization period. During this time, they learn how to interact with other dogs and humans and develop important social skills. However, when two pups are raised together, they tend to rely only on each other for play and companionship, which can hinder their social development. Crate training can help prevent littermate syndrome by giving each pup space to rest and play. It’s also important for each pup to spend time with other dogs and humans to avoid becoming too dependent on their littermate. Graddy can be a great addition to the pups’ socialization as he is a well-behaved older dog who can teach them proper behavior and manners.

When Does Littermate Syndrome Start?

Littermate syndrome usually develops when the pups are around six months old. At this age, they may start showing signs of separation anxiety when separated from each other and may benefit from crate training. They may also become aggressive towards other dogs or people outside their immediate family, which can be addressed with proper socialization under the guidance of a professional Graddy.

The Causes of Littermate Syndrome

The primary cause of littermate syndrome is spending too much time together without proper socialization with other dogs, pups, or humans. Puppies raised alone tend to be more independent and confident than those raised with littermates. However, if the pups are raised with their Graddy, they can still develop proper social skills and avoid littermate syndrome.

Another factor that contributes to littermate syndrome is genetics. Some breeds are more prone to developing separation anxiety or aggression towards other dogs than others. This is especially true for sibling puppies or pups raised together from birth. The close bond between littermates can lead to a lack of socialization with other dogs, causing them to become overly dependent on each other and aggressive toward outsiders. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as Graddy and pet owners must be aware of this potential issue when adopting multiple puppies.

Signs of Littermate Syndrome

The signs of littermate syndrome can vary depending on the dog’s personality and breed. However, some common signs include unrelated dogs, pups, and young dogs. Graddy may also exhibit similar behavior.

  • Separation anxiety: Pups with littermate syndrome may become anxious or distressed when separated from their sibling.
  • Aggression towards other dogs: Pups with littermate syndrome may display aggressive behavior towards unfamiliar dogs or their family members.
  • Difficulty learning basic obedience commands: Pups with littermate syndrome may have trouble following basic commands, such as sit, stay, or come.
  • Overdependence on each other: Dogs with littermate syndrome may become overly attached to their sibling and rely on them for comfort and companionship.

Why the Littermate Syndrome Myth is Problematic

There is a common myth that raising two puppies together is better than raising one because they will keep each other company and tire each other out. However, this is not always the case, as it can lead to littermate syndrome, which can cause several difficult behavioral problems to manage without proper dog training.

Furthermore, raising two puppies simultaneously can be challenging for even experienced dog owners. It requires twice as much effort in training, socialization, and exercise. If not done correctly, it can lead to long-term behavioral issues that are difficult to correct.

Common Symptoms of Littermate Syndrome

Aggression towards each other

Littermate syndrome is a condition that occurs when two puppies from the same litter grow up together and become overly attached. One of the most common symptoms of littermate syndrome is aggression toward each other. This can manifest in various ways, such as growling, biting, or fighting.

This aggression is because both dogs see themselves as part of a pack and may compete for resources like food, toys, and attention. In some cases, the dogs may also feel threatened by each other’s presence and try to establish dominance over one another.

You must intervene immediately if you notice your littermates displaying aggressive behavior towards each other. You can start by separating them and providing individual training sessions to help them learn how to behave appropriately around each other.

Separation anxiety when apart

Another common symptom of littermate syndrome is separation anxiety when apart. Because these dogs have spent most of their lives together, they become highly dependent on each other’s company. As a result, they may experience severe anxiety when separated from their sibling.

This anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as excessive barking or whining when left alone or destructive behavior like chewing furniture or digging holes in the yard.

To address separation anxiety caused by littermate syndrome, you need to gradually teach your dogs how to be independent of one another. Start by separating them for short periods and gradually increasing the duration. Provide plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied while apart.

Difficulty in training and socialization

Training and socialization are crucial aspects of raising well-behaved dogs. However, with littermate syndrome, these tasks can be challenging due to the high level of attachment between the siblings.

Dogs with littermate syndrome often struggle with basic obedience commands like sit or stay because they are more focused on being near their sibling than paying attention to their owner’s commands. They may also have difficulty socializing with other dogs and people outside of their littermate.

To overcome these challenges, you must provide individual training sessions for each dog and gradually introduce them to new people and dogs. You can also enroll them in obedience classes or hire a professional dog trainer to help you address these issues.

Early Signs of Littermate Syndrome to Watch Out For

Aggression towards each other

One of the most common signs of littermate syndrome in dogs is aggression toward each other. Dogs raised together from a young age may become overly dependent on one another, leading to an inability to interact with other dogs. As a result, they may become territorial and aggressive towards each other, which can escalate into fights if not addressed early on.

If you notice your littermates growling, snapping, or biting at each other frequently, it’s important to intervene immediately. You should separate them and work with a professional dog trainer to help them learn how to interact with each other and other dogs properly. It’s also crucial to provide them with plenty of individual attention and socialization opportunities so they don’t rely solely on each other for companionship.

Separation anxiety when apart

Another sign of littermate syndrome is separation anxiety when the dogs are apart. Littermates that have spent their entire lives together may struggle when separated, even for short periods. They may whine, cry, bark excessively, or engage in destructive behavior like chewing furniture or shoes.

To prevent separation anxiety from becoming a problem, training your littermates separately from an early age is essential. Gradually increase their time apart and teach them coping mechanisms like crate training or providing interactive toys when alone. Ensure that they have individual playtime and training sessions to develop their personalities and interests.

Difficulty in training and socialization

Littermate syndrome can also make it challenging for your dogs to learn basic obedience commands or socialize with people or animals outside their immediate family circle. Since they are used to being around only each other all the time, they may find it difficult to focus on anything else.

To overcome this challenge, start by training your littermates separately before gradually introducing them to each other during training sessions. You can also enroll them in obedience classes or hire a professional dog trainer who can work with you to design a personalized training plan that meets their individual needs.

Socialization is equally important, and you should expose your littermates to new people, animals, and environments from an early age. Take them for walks in different neighborhoods, introduce them to friends and family members, and enroll them in puppy playgroups where they can interact with other dogs their age.

Poor Social Skills in Littermates

Lack of Proper Socialization

Littermate syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when two puppies from the same litter are raised together and become overly dependent on each other, leading to various behavioral problems. Poor social skills are among the most common issues associated with this syndrome. This happens because littermates do not receive proper socialization during their critical socialization window between 3 and 14 weeks of age.

Socialization is crucial for dogs as it helps them develop appropriate behaviors and responses towards humans, other dogs, and their environment. During this period, puppies learn how to communicate with others, explore new surroundings without fear, and adapt to different situations. However, when littermates are raised together without exposure to different people, animals, or environments outside their pair, they miss valuable learning experiences.

Issues in Social Situations

As a result of inadequate socialization during their early development stage, littermates may face problems in social situations with humans and other dogs. They may be shy or fearful around strangers or show aggression towards unfamiliar dogs due to lack of exposure to them. In some cases, littermates may exhibit separation anxiety when separated from each other as they have developed an unhealthy attachment.

Furthermore, siblings raised together may not know how to interact appropriately with each other since they have been spending all their time together since birth. They may become overly aggressive or possessive towards one another over resources such as food or toys. This can lead to fights between them, escalating into more severe behavioral issues if not addressed promptly.

Importance of Early Socialization

The good news is that these issues can be prevented by providing proper socialization sessions at a young age for littermates. Experts recommend starting socialization training as early as possible, within the first few weeks after birth, considering that the critical window for optimal learning closes at around 14 weeks old.

Socialization should be done controlled and positively to ensure that littermates have a good experience. It is essential to gradually expose them to different environments, people, and animals while monitoring their behavior closely. Positive reinforcement techniques such as treats or praise can reward good behavior and encourage them to interact appropriately with others.

Extreme Codependence in Littermates

Dominant-Submissive Relationship

Littermate syndrome is a term used to describe the strong bond that can develop between two puppies from the same litter. This bond can be so intense that it leads to a dominant-submissive relationship, where one dog takes on a more dominant role, and the other becomes submissive. This dynamic can create problems and cause aggression toward other dogs.

When littermates are raised together without proper training and socialization, they may struggle to understand their place in the hierarchy of their new home. One puppy may become more dominant, while the other becomes submissive. The submissive puppy may rely heavily on its sibling for guidance and security.

Separation Anxiety

The strong bond between littermates can also lead to separation anxiety when they are separated. Dogs with separation anxiety often display destructive behaviors such as chewing furniture or digging holes in walls or doors. They may also bark excessively or howl when left alone.

Separation anxiety is not limited to situations where one dog is left alone; it can also occur when both dogs are separated. If one of the littermates is taken away for an extended period, the remaining dog may become anxious and distressed until reuniting.

Struggle with Socialization

Littermates with extremely codependent relationships may struggle with socialization outside of their bond. They may have difficulty interacting with unfamiliar dogs or people because they have never been exposed to them.

Proper socialization is crucial for all puppies, especially those with intense bonds with their littermates. Owners need to expose their puppies to new experiences early on to learn how to interact appropriately with different people and animals.

Aggression Towards Other Dogs

Extreme codependence between littermates can result in aggression towards other dogs. This is because the bond between the littermates is so strong that they may view other dogs as a threat to their relationship.

Aggression towards other dogs can be dangerous and should be addressed immediately. Owners should seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to work with their littermates on socialization and training.

Training and Socialization

Training and socialization are crucial for littermates to thrive independently. Owners must establish themselves as the pack’s leaders rather than allowing one puppy to take on a dominant role over the other.

Separate training sessions for each puppy can also help them learn how to function independently of each other. This will help prevent separation anxiety and ensure both puppies are well-adjusted and confident in different situations.

Aggression and Fearfulness in Littermates

Risk of Aggressive Behaviors in Sibling Puppies

Bringing home two puppies from the same litter can be a fun and exciting experience for any dog owner. However, it is important to note that sibling puppies are more likely to develop aggressive behaviors toward each other. This phenomenon is known as littermate syndrome.

Littermate syndrome occurs when two puppies raised together become overly dependent on each other, leading to behavioral issues such as aggression, separation anxiety, resource guarding, and even fearfulness. The constant presence of the littermate can make it difficult for the puppies to develop their identities and establish relationships with humans.

Aggressive behaviors between littermates can range from mild growling and snapping to more severe fighting. In some cases, these behaviors may escalate to the point where one or both puppies must be rehomed. Owners must recognize the signs of aggression early on and seek professional help from a certified dog trainer or behaviorist.

Fear and Anxiety in Littermates

In addition to aggression, fear and anxiety can also arise in littermates due to conflict and competition. Littermates may feel threatened by each other’s presence, leading them to exhibit fearful behaviors such as hiding, trembling, or excessive barking.

Fearful behavior can also manifest as separation anxiety when one puppy is taken from its sibling. Left alone can lead to destructive behavior, such as chewing furniture or excessive howling.

To prevent fearfulness in littermates, owners must provide individual attention and training sessions for each puppy separately. This will help them develop their sense of identity and confidence outside of their relationship with their sibling.

Struggles with Maturity

Littermates may struggle with maturity due to their constant dependence on each other. They may continue to exhibit puppy-like behaviors into adulthood, such as play biting and excessive chewing.

Owners must establish boundaries and rules early on to prevent these behaviors from becoming ingrained. This can be done through consistent training sessions and by giving each puppy individual attention.

Owners should also consider separating the puppies for short periods each day to allow them to develop independence and confidence. This can be done by crate training or taking each puppy separately for a walk.

Seeking Professional Help

If owners notice signs of aggression or fearfulness in their littermates, it is important to seek professional help from a certified dog trainer or behaviorist. These professionals can guide how to manage littermate syndrome and prevent behavioral issues from escalating.

In some cases, it may be necessary to separate the puppies permanently or rehome one of them if the aggressive behaviors persist. However, with proper training and management, many littermates can live happy and healthy lives together.

Addressing Separation Anxiety in Littermates

Common Issue of Separation Anxiety in Littermates

Littermate syndrome is a common issue that occurs when puppies are raised together. One of the most significant problems associated with littermate syndrome is separation anxiety. This condition arises when littermates become overly attached and cannot tolerate being apart. It can cause destructive behavior, stress, and aggression towards their owners or other animals.

Importance of Addressing Separation Anxiety in Littermates

Addressing separation anxiety in littermates as early as possible is crucial to prevent it from becoming a severe problem. Separation anxiety can lead to destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing on furniture or objects, and even self-harm. Moreover, it causes undue stress on both the dogs and their owners.

Techniques for Reducing Separation Anxiety in Littermates

There are several techniques that pet owners can use to help reduce separation anxiety in littermates:

Separate Walks and Individual Attention

One effective technique is taking the littermates on separate walks and providing individual attention to each dog. By doing so, they will learn to be comfortable being apart from one another gradually. Providing individual attention also helps build trust between the dog and the owner.

Gradual Separation Technique

Another technique that pet owners can use is the gradual separation technique. This method involves separating the dogs for short periods initially and then gradually increasing the duration over time. For example, start by separating them for five minutes before gradually increasing them up to an hour or more.

Comfort Items

Providing comfort items such as blankets or toys can also help ease separation anxiety in littermates. These items provide security and familiarity while their owners are away.

Building Independent Behavior and Seeking Professional Help

Seek Professional Help for Behavioral Issues

Littermate syndrome in dogs can be a challenging issue to tackle, especially. If you notice that your dogs are exhibiting destructive behavior or any other problematic behaviors, it’s important to seek professional help. A certified dog trainer or behaviorist can help you identify the root cause of the problem and develop a personalized training plan that addresses your dog’s specific needs.

It’s important to note that not all trainers or behaviorists are created equal. Look for someone with experience working with littermates or multiple dogs and a solid understanding of canine behavior. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or check online reviews before deciding.

Encourage Independent Behavior in Dogs

One of the key ways to prevent littermate syndrome is by encouraging independent behavior in your dogs. This means giving each dog individual attention and training them separately. It’s essential to avoid treating them as a unit, which can lead to co-dependency and other behavioral issues.

To encourage independent behavior, create separate feeding areas for each dog, give them their toys, and provide individual exercise time. You can also train each dog separately on basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and leave it.

Attend Obedience Training and Training Classes

Obedience training is an excellent way to build good behavior in your dogs while promoting social development. Attending obedience classes will teach your dogs basic commands and expose them to new experiences that promote socialization.

Training classes also provide an opportunity for you to work with a professional trainer who can guide you through the process of building good behavior in your dogs. These classes often include group activities where dogs can interact with others and pets under controlled circumstances.

Expose Dogs To New Experiences To Promote Social Development

Socialization is crucial. Exposing your dogs to new experiences and environments can help them develop the skills to interact with people and other pets.

Take your dogs on walks, visit dog parks, and introduce them to new people and animals. Make sure to do this gradually so your dogs don’t become overwhelmed or anxious.

Trust The Trainer And Put In Hard Work To See Good Behavior

Building good behavior in your dogs takes time, effort, and patience. Trusting the trainer you’re working with and putting in the hard work required to see results is essential.

This means following through with training sessions, practicing commands regularly, and providing consistent reinforcement for good behavior. Remember that building independent behavior in your dogs is a process that requires dedication on both your part and theirs.

The Role of a Third Dog in Managing Littermate Syndrome

Breaking Up the Intense Bond Between Littermates

Littermate syndrome is a phenomenon where two puppies from the same litter become excessively dependent on each other, leading to behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, and aggression towards other dogs and even their owners. One effective way to manage this condition is by introducing a third dog into the household.

A third dog can help break up the intense bond between littermates by providing an additional source of socialization and companionship. It can also encourage each littermate to become more independent and self-reliant. This will help prevent them from becoming too reliant on one another, which can lead to unhealthy behavior patterns.

However, it’s important to note that introducing a third dog should be done gradually and with caution. Rushing the process or forcing a new dog into the household may cause further stress for all involved parties. Instead, take your time and allow each dog to get comfortable with one another before allowing them to interact freely.

Providing Socialization Opportunities for Each Littermate

Another benefit of having a third dog in managing littermate syndrome is that it provides socialization opportunities for each littermate. Since they are used to being around only each other, they may not have had much exposure to other dogs or different environments.

Introducing a well-trained and balanced third dog into their environment allows them to learn how to interact with others outside of their immediate family unit. This will help them develop better social skills and reduce any aggressive tendencies they may have developed due to being overly reliant on one another.

Introducing a Third Dog Gradually and With Caution

Introducing a new dog into your household requires careful planning and preparation, especially when dealing with littermates already exhibiting signs of behavioral issues due to their close bond. It would be best if you introduced the third dog gradually and with caution to avoid causing further stress.

Start by allowing the dogs to sniff each other through a barrier like a baby gate or screen door. This will help them get used to each other’s scent without physical contact. Once they seem comfortable, you can begin allowing supervised interactions in a neutral environment like a park or backyard.

It’s also important to ensure the third dog is well-trained and balanced. A poorly trained or aggressive dog may exacerbate the existing behavioral issues of the littermates rather than helping to alleviate them.

A Well-Trained Third Dog Can Serve as a Positive Role Model

A well-trained and balanced third dog can be a positive role model for the littermates. Dogs learn from one another, so having an example of good behavior can be highly beneficial for littermates who are struggling with behavioral issues.

When introducing a new dog into your household, look for one with good social skills, who is calm and relaxed around other dogs, and who responds well to commands from its owner. This will help ensure that the third dog positively influences the littermates’ behavior rather than reinforcing negative tendencies.

Preventing Littermate Syndrome: Tips for Pet Parents, Puppy Raisers, and Dog Trainers

Avoid Getting Littermates at the Same Time

Littermate syndrome is a condition that can occur when two puppies from the same litter are raised together. It can result in behavioral problems such as separation anxiety, aggression towards other dogs or people, and a lack of independence. To prevent this condition, pet parents should avoid getting littermates simultaneously.

While it may seem like a good idea to get two puppies at once so they can keep each other company, it’s important to remember that each puppy needs individual attention and training. When two puppies are raised together, they may become overly dependent on each other instead of bonding with their human family members.

If you decide to get two puppies at once, ensure they have separate play areas, toys, and beds. Also, spend quality time with each puppy individually every day.

Proper Dog Training and Socialization

Proper dog training and socialization are crucial in preventing littermate syndrome. Each puppy should be trained separately to learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and heel. They should also be socialized separately by exposing them to different environments and people.

When training littermates together, there is a risk that one puppy will dominate the other or that both puppies will bond too closely with each other instead of their human family members. This can lead to behavioral issues down the road.

By training and socializing each puppy separately, you’ll allow them to develop their personalities and bond with their human family members.

Follow the “One Puppy at a Time” Theory

Puppy raisers should follow the “one puppy at a time” theory to avoid littermate syndrome. This means raising one puppy until it’s fully trained before introducing another puppy into the household.

Raising one puppy at a time allows you to give them individual attention and training. It also helps prevent littermate syndrome by avoiding the risk of two puppies bonding too closely with each other instead of their human family members.

Use Separate Crates for Each Puppy

Using separate crates for each puppy can also prevent littermate syndrome. Crates provide a safe and comfortable space for puppies to sleep and relax. When two puppies are created together, they may become overly dependent on each other instead of bonding with their human family members.

Using separate crates’ll allow each puppy to develop independence and bond with their human family members.

What Does Science Have to Say?

While there isn’t much scientific research on littermate syndrome in dogs, many trainers and behaviorists have observed its effects firsthand. Remember that every dog is different, not all littermates will develop this condition.

However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Following these tips for preventing littermate syndrome’ll give your puppies the best chance of developing into well-adjusted adult dogs.

Separating Littermates: Tips and Advice

If you’ve already adopted a pair of littermates, it’s important to take steps to ensure they develop into well-adjusted adult dogs. Littermate syndrome can occur when two puppies from the same litter are raised together, leading to behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, aggression towards other dogs, and difficulty with training. To prevent these problems from occurring, here are some tips and advice on how to separate your littermates effectively.

Separate the Littermates as Much as Possible

The first step in preventing littermate syndrome is to separate the puppies as much as possible. This means providing them with their sleeping areas, feeding stations, and toys. It’s also important to give them individual attention and playtime so that they learn to interact with humans independently of each other.

Provide Individual Training Sessions for Each Dog

Training is essential to raising any puppy, but it’s especially important when dealing with littermates. By providing individual training sessions for each dog, you’ll be able to focus on their unique needs and abilities without distractions from their sibling. This will help them develop into well-behaved adult dogs responsive to commands.

Encourage Independence and Individuality

One of the biggest challenges when raising littermates is encouraging independence and individuality. It’s natural for puppies to want to stick together, but this can lead to behavioral issues down the line. To prevent this from happening, make sure each puppy has plenty of opportunities for solo playtime and socialization with other dogs.

Seek Professional Help From a Dog Behaviorist or Trainer

If you’re struggling with separating your littermates or preventing behavioral issues from developing, it may be time to seek professional help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. They can guide how best to train your puppies individually while promoting healthy interactions between them.

Understanding and Managing Littermate Syndrome in Dogs

If you are a pet parent of two puppies from the same litter, you may have heard about the term “littermate syndrome.” This condition can cause serious behavioral issues in dogs that grow up together.

To summarize, littermate syndrome can lead to poor social skills, extreme codependence, aggression, fearfulness, and separation anxiety in dogs. Early signs include excessive attachment to each other and difficulty interacting with other dogs or humans. To address these issues, pet parents should focus on building independent behavior in their pups and seek professional help if needed. A third dog can also play a role in managing littermate syndrome by positively influencing the pair.

Preventing littermate syndrome is always better than managing it later on. Pet parents should be smarter when adopting two puppies from the same litter by considering breed compatibility and age differences. If you’ve already adopted a pair of littermates, don’t worry; there are still tips and advice that you can follow to help your pups develop into well-rounded dogs.

In conclusion, understanding and managing littermate syndrome is crucial for every pet parent who has adopted two puppies from the same litter. By following our guidelines above and seeking professional help, you can ensure that your furry friends will live happy lives without behavioral issues.

FAQs

  1. Can I adopt two puppies from different litters? Yes! Choosing puppies with an age difference of at least six months is generally recommended to prevent potential behavioral issues.
  2. Is it possible for my dogs to develop separation anxiety even if they don’t have littermate syndrome? Yes! Separation anxiety is common among dogs regardless of whether they grew up together.
  3. Will neutering or spaying my dogs prevent littermate syndrome? No, neutering or spaying your dogs won’t necessarily prevent littermate syndrome. However, it can reduce the likelihood of certain behavioral issues, such as aggression.
  4. Can I train my dogs to be more independent? Yes! Training your dogs to be more independent prevents and manages littermate syndrome. Providing them with individual attention and socialization with other dogs and humans is essential.
  5. Should I adopt a third dog to help manage littermate syndrome? It depends on the situation. A third dog can positively influence the pair, but it’s important to consider factors such as breed compatibility and age difference before making this decision.