Do animals remember their birth?
How do dogs recognize their siblings?
The birth of a dog is a very special experience. Most of the time, puppies are not born alone, but as siblings.
How many puppies a bitch produces depends entirely on the breed. A very special question arises here for many dog owners:
If the littermates recognize each other,
if they meet again a long time later?
In principle, littermates can recognize each other by their smell even after a long period of separation. Dogs have a memory of smells.
The longer the puppies and the mother stay together, the more the smell will be remembered.
If the animals have spent around five weeks together, there is a very good chance that they will recognize themselves after years.
Do dogs recognize their littermates by their smell?
Most of the puppies grow up together with siblings. In the first days of life, mother and littermates are the center of the world.
The little dogs snuggle up close to each other. Being close to family members is particularly important. The dog family keeps you warm and calm. Later there is games and raging.
At some point the day will come when the siblings will be separated. Every animal comes to its new family.
First weeks of life among siblings
In general, puppies should stay with their mother and siblings for at least eight weeks after they are born.
Dogs go through different development phases after birth:
- Vegetative phase or neonatal phase
- Transition phase
- Imprinting phase
Each phase is important for their later life because they learn from their mother and siblings.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible. The family may be separated early or the dog may be seriously ill. In this case it is up to his human to get the dog used to his later life.
Development stages of puppies
The first two weeks of life are called vegetative or neonatal phase designated. Ears and eyes are closed. The dog sleeps a lot, cuddles with mother and siblings and is suckled.
This is followed by the Transition phase. The little one still sleeps a lot, but slowly begins to perceive his surroundings.
The next phase is especially important, the Imprinting phase. The puppy is now beginning to make its first social contacts and contacts with people.
Puppy leaves mother and siblings
So you can imagine how important the littermates and the dog mother are to the puppy.
Parents and siblings are what he sees, feels and smells first in his life. The dog family gives warmth and conveys security. In addition, the puppies learn from each other and the later characters of the animals develop.
After the eighth week it is usually time to say goodbye. The puppies are passed on to their future families and may never see their siblings again.
However, the dog's olfactory memory remains. And that is exactly what can last for a lifetime.
Dogs have a memory of smells
This means that the dog may be able to remember the smell of the family, i.e. its mother and littermates, for a lifetime.
According to research, the memory of the smell should already manifest itself after the dog has only spent a day or two with its mother.
It takes longer for the siblings. If the animals have spent around five weeks together, the chance that they will recognize themselves after years is very good.
It can become a problem if you have littermates. This is known as littermate syndrome.
The littermate syndrome
Exactly this fact can make it more difficult to raise littermates together.
Keeping several dogs from one litter can sometimes be problematic. This is especially the case when it comes to dogs of the same sex.
You have to imagine that these animals are learning from each other and that they have everything in common. They are therefore perfectly coordinated and the person is a minor matter.
If the dogs are separated from each other at a much later point in time, they show strong separation fears.
Do littermates get along?
Raising several littermates requires significantly more time and perseverance than raising a puppy because the bond between animals is stronger than that with humans.
Siblings can fight violent power struggles.
It can be particularly uncomfortable between littermates during the ranking phase. The dogs then try to clarify their place in the family. This can lead to fierce competition among siblings.
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