Please help with my puppy

(46 Posts)
RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 13:12:25

We purchased a gorgeous golden cocker spaniel pup just over week ago. He is now 10 weeks old.

My parents also purchased one of his litter mates and we explained to the breeder at the time of viewing them that we planned for my mum to look after the two pups in the day while me and my husband are at work. The breeder didn't show any concern in fact she said how lovely it would be.

Fast forward to now and despite both being only 10 weeks old, they start to play fight as puppies do and this escalates in to a full on fight for the top dog position. My mum now keeps them completely separate in the day. However, yesterday my mums pup was crated and Tommy went over to him for the first time that day. He peed by his crate and mid flow, we popped him outside thinking nothing of it. He came back in again and did the same thing. In total he peed 3 times in quick succession. We could not work out where it had all come from! My mum also said how she had struggled with them both and that Tommy would cry constantly when crated when she was dealing with her own pup.

At home, our pup has got in to the habit of deliberating peeing in his crate even though i've deep cleaned it so many times (and by this I mean, he lays by our feet just after toileting outside; gets up and pees in his crate while point blank staring at us).

It is really getting us down and we have no idea what to do. I have cried every day since getting Tommy and it's putting a strain on my relationship with my family as they are worrying about me. Today I was sent home from work in floods of tears as while I love this pup and want to keep him with all my heart, I can't see any quality of life for us, my parents and the two dogs.

I contacted the breeder who laughed and said "well this can happen" which was so unhelpful.

I don't know what to do or where to turn. Please help me.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Tue 08-Oct-19 13:16:03

It’s a really bad idea to take two puppies from the same litter. Sounds like your mum isn’t able to cope with toilet training and enforcing boundaries with two puppies. You need a new daycare plan. Did you not take any time off work to settle the pup in?
He’s not deliberately doing it. He doesn’t know he shouldn’t be peeing in there because you haven’t taught him not to yet.

missbattenburg Tue 08-Oct-19 13:33:55

So it looks to me like you have 4 issues here:

1. The fighting
2. The peeing
3. Your mum's ability to handle 2 pups
4. Your emotional reaction

1. The fighting

I don't know that 10 week old puppies can really be fighting and play fighting can look very fierce and noisy indeed. However, it won't do their behaviour any good to wind themselves up into a frenzy, regardless of what the real reason is. I would seperate both puppies unless they are tired and sleepy. In reality this probably means baby gates around your mum's house. Almost certainly the puppy isolated from the human/other dog will kick up a storm. She will have to work through this, remaining seen and flitting between them until they grow used to it as being normal.

2. The peeing. Dog's don't really learn not to pee indoors. Toilet training consists of giving them so many experiences of peeing outdoors that it only ever feels right to them to do so in future. At no point does a dog 'know' it shouldn't pee indoors but do it anyway. At 10 weeks old yours is still far to young to really know anything at all. You should still be on basic toilet protocal: taking him out every 30 mins plus immediately after waking, playing, eating, drinking plus anytime he looks like he might want to go (pacing, sniffing, circling etc). Expect to do this for several more weeks and for him to be about 5-6 months old before he's anywhere near reliable in the house.

3. Your mum's ability to cope.

One puppy is hard work. Two puppies are MORE than double that. Your mum is going to need to watch them pretty much every minute of the day. She should treat them seperately which means toileting each one in turn rather than together etc. Play with them seperately. Do any training with them seperately. Feed them seperately. It's a lot to ask of someone and only you and she know if she can realsitically do that.

4. Your emotional reaction. The old puppy blues. It is really common and plenty of the puppy threads on here will give you insight into it. It does tend to get better but you have a long road ahead of you yet - as someone once said when Battendog was a pup "all puppies are arseholes, you will have months of this". Buckle up smile

adaline Tue 08-Oct-19 13:42:52

Your poor mum having to look after litter mates - one puppy is hard enough let alone two from the same litter! Did she really have any idea what she was taking on when she agreed to look after your puppy for five days a week on top of looking after her own?

I would seriously look at another option for your puppy. At 10 weeks he's too young for daycare but someone could come and watch him in your home - however this won't be a cheap service. It'll cost around £20-30 a day to have someone come and sit with your dog for that length of time.

I think it's really unfair to expect your mum to practically raise litter mates on her own. I have to ask, did either of you do your research before getting these dogs? Littermate syndrome is well-documented and it's known that two puppies from the same litter are a LOT of work. They need to be trained, walked and fed entirely separately to avoid aggression and fighting. It's not the same as just having two dogs of different ages.

Getting a puppy when you worked full-time and had no proper plans in place to care for him was daft as well, I'm sorry to say. It looks like you didn't do your research and the puppy is the one who'll pay the price for that.

The peeing incident you describe is 100% normal and has nothing to do with your mums dog. Puppies need to be taken outside every 20-30 minutes, every time they've eaten/had a drink, after naps, after play and training, and every time they show signs of needing to go. It's really time consuming and not something that your mum will find easy with two dogs to deal with.

Did neither of you think to take any time off work to spend settling and training your puppy?

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 13:48:20

@Wolfiefan We had never of heard of two pups from the same litter being an issue until it was too late. We are disappointed that a supposed KC assured breeder didn't make us aware of this. I did take time to settle him in and build a bond. I totally understand he isn't deliberately doing it. He is still so little and learning but I just don't understand how he could pee so much and why he aimed his behaviour at his brother.

His brother is NOTHING like our pup at all. He is very confident, calm and loving until he gets the opportunity to play fight with Tommy. Once away, he settles back down again almost instantly but Tommy is the complete opposite.

I guess I am worried this is a sign of things to come. I'm worried as they get bigger, as will the problems we face.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Tue 08-Oct-19 13:48:40

I'd also just add that you've only had these puppies a week or so.

Whilst that feels a long time to emotional humans it is no time at all to puppies - they have not yet had anywhere near enough time to settle into their new homes and so are likely to be behaving in all sorts of ways while they mature and learn what is expected of them.

Puppies are a long term project. Expect these dogs to be 18 months old or so before they are adults.

adaline Tue 08-Oct-19 13:50:25

Puppies are a long term project. Expect these dogs to be 18 months old or so before they are adults.

I agree with this, and even at 18 months they're not fully matured and settled. Mine is 20 months and I'd say 90% of the time he behaves well and he's calm (assuming he's had enough exercise) but he still gets over-excited and has some silly moments. It's to be expected - he's not even two yet!


missbattenburg Tue 08-Oct-19 13:51:08

why he aimed his behaviour at his brother

I don't think he did. His urinary sphincter is not yet developed enough for him to have any real say where he pees. It's possible that he feels safer near his brother and so that relaxes him, for e.g something like that. But even that seems like a stretch, to me.

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 13:58:31


The do genuinely fight. Tommy had hold of Harbour's nose and would not let go despite him squealing to say enough is enough. We had to physically part them. Now they are completely separated, they won't again have the opportunity to do this again.

I totally understand that it is our responsibility to teach them where to toilet and I appreciate accidents in the house can and will happen again. It just seemed Tommy was trying to wind Harbour up and god knows where all of the pee came from as when we take him out, there is a barely a teaspoon!

My mum knew it would be hard work and still agreed to the arrangement. I keep checking in to make sure she is still OK. She is of the mind that it will get easier we just need to get this initial stage right first.

OP’s posts: |
fivedogstofeed Tue 08-Oct-19 14:02:56

Two pups is too much for most people.
It sounds like they have very different personalities and it's practically inevitable that one will bully the other. As they get older the potential to harm each other is obviously a lot more.
Keeping them separated unless they are playing nicely or sleeping is of course the best course of action for the moment, but of course it's stressful and certainly not the way your pictured it.

I have a foster pup here at the moment who came from exactly this situation - he was the stronger character and spent his days picking on his brother and fighting him for food. By five months the owner had had enough.

Your 'breeder' knew exactly what she was doing. £££££££££

fivedogstofeed Tue 08-Oct-19 14:05:03

* She is of the mind that it will get easier we just need to get this initial stage right first.*
I hate to tell you, but it will get worse rather than easier. I say this as someone who has also raised littermates who are now 12.

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 14:06:52


My mum knew it would be hard work of course. Neither of us had ever heard of Littermate Syndrome before nor did the breeder bring it to our attention. It is never something we would have researched. In fact, we thought the pups would take comfort from being with each other and the breeder said it was a great idea.

Our plan was for my parents (who both agreed to look after them both) to take care of them. They haven't once said they can no longer do it as they understood it was a commitment.

You say 20 - 30 mins but this incident was literally 1-2 minutes apart and i'm sorry but I don't think this constitutes as normal. He gets taken out every 20-25 mins or when he is finished doing anything.

My mum is at home 24/7 and I took time off work to settle our own pup and begin training.

Perhaps i'm seeing something that isn't there, I don't know anymore. I am just terrified of what's to come.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Tue 08-Oct-19 14:08:21

OP it takes far longer than a week to settle a pup in. So you haven’t done that.
KC assured doesn’t mean good breeder. They’re selling you the pups. Of course they want you to take two. It’s up to you to do the research.
You are assigning human motivation to a dog. He’s not aiming his behaviour at anyone. He’s being an exuberant pup who doesn’t know not to pee in the house.
You need longer off work.
You can’t leave your mum to look after two pups.
You need to learn much more about dog behaviour and training.

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 14:12:42


Totally agree and as they grow, it will become harder to manage as they get stronger and more confident.

I have a total distrust for breeders after this experience. Of course, we do take some responsibility for lack of awareness of this problem but she knew about the potential issue and never said one word. I thought that due to the worry, time and money involved in breeding most people who do it would genuinely care about their dog and the pups but clearly this isn't the case and it's been a massive wake up call.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Tue 08-Oct-19 14:14:17

Most breeders want money. I can’t believe you really don’t understand that. hmm

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 14:20:55

@wolfiefan of course she wants money but she clearly doesn't value dogs that much and THAT is what baffles me.

OP’s posts: |
NoSquirrels Tue 08-Oct-19 14:22:06

Would the breeder take your puppy back? He is still very young.

User666666666 Tue 08-Oct-19 14:23:29

I have two litter mates - however, I bred them. I also have their mum and two other dogs.

I would never have sold two to anyone else though, nor would I have recommended the set up that you have.

My two get on well and always have. The reasons for this? They are brother and sister so no domination going on. Their mum is a hugely beneficial influence and always has been. My other two dogs have also been a very good influence.

Most importantly, they had me with them, every day for their first 3 years. So consistent training was taking place every day. They were also walked separately, hard work for me, but necessary.

I don't know how experienced you all are but honestly, having litter mates together is very hard work and not for the inexperienced.

adaline Tue 08-Oct-19 14:23:51

You say 20 - 30 mins but this incident was literally 1-2 minutes apart and i'm sorry but I don't think this constitutes as normal

Of course it's normal. They don't have bladder control yet. The follow up incident is because he hadn't emptied his bladder the first time around and he still needed to pee! We had several incidents of ours peeing in the garden and then coming in and peeing inside - it's not indicative of any kind of problem.

I think your mum is in for a massive shock as these dogs get older and I do think you need a back up plan in place if she can no longer cope looking after your dog. The teenage years start at around 5 months and believe me, they're bloody difficult. We have one dog and I was in tears several times - the jumping, the disobedience, the mouthing, the pushing of the boundaries, the hormones - my God, it was hard and it lasts longer than the initial puppy stage.

In addition, you say you did your research but a quick google of "taking litter mates from the same litter" would have told you all about littermate syndrome and why it's a really, really bad idea!

I don't mean to sound harsh but you are really going to have your work cut out if you want your mum to raise both of these puppies together. At 10 weeks the problems are minor but when she is dealing with two boisterous teenagers who need to be trained, toileted and walked separately...well, good luck!

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 14:27:22


Unfortunately, she is not interested in having the pup back with her.

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Tue 08-Oct-19 14:28:29

By far most puppies sold in this country are from people who care more about cash than dogs. You can’t be so naive as to think this woman should be the only place to get information from? And yes a quick google should reveal littermate syndrome.
You need to find different daycare.

NoSquirrels Tue 08-Oct-19 14:32:39

OK, so she’s a shit “breeder”. Report her to the KC?

Do you want to keep this puppy? Can you train and commit to it and can your mum - REALISTICALLY? Because if not and in a few months that becomes apparent the dog would be better off rehomed ASAP as a young puppy.

missbattenburg Tue 08-Oct-19 14:36:32

Unfortunately, she is not interested in having the pup back with her.

I would ignore/disregard pretty much anything she said because with that one piece of information you can already lump her in the 'bad guys' bucket. Decent breeders care much, much more than this.

Your choice, OP, is what you want to do.

A 10 week old cocker puppy, rehomed sensibly through a decent charity or breed rescue will find a new home quicker than I can cook a pasta dinner. Don't wait until they are teenage nightmare.

However, if you want to stick at it, then find a good (APDT) trainer who offers puppy packages and will come out to you and your mum to observe and support you through these first weeks. Then keep in touch with them because, chances arem you'll need them again as the dogs get older. Don't try and go it alone.

Would be my advice, anyway.

In addition, there are good books (Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy and The Happy Puppy Handbook to name two) and good online resources (the fb site Dog Training Advice and Support) which can provide you with good foundaiton knowledge about dog behaviour and how best to raise and train them.

RusticFern Tue 08-Oct-19 14:37:55


Of course not, we've spoken to our vet and a dog trainer as well.

OP’s posts: |
Windydaysuponus Tue 08-Oct-19 14:39:29

Sorry you are having a hard time op.
Some of us might doubt you even have a swishy dpuppy without pics.....
The breeder needs a bad review wherever you can for selling 2 dpuppies knowing your planned arrangements...

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