My, what sharp teeth the puppies had! The pups were extremely mouthy, especially Aspen. She was like a piranha! I know this is typical puppy behavior, but the tops off my hands were soon covered with bite marks. “What happened to your hands?” a student in my class asked. At a vet appointment, the tech inquired if we had a cat after glancing at my hands. I became extremely self-conscious of how bad my hands looked. Our first Min Pin, Twinkie, was not mouthy at all, so this behavior took me by surprise.
I began to wonder if this mouthy issue was normal. What do inquiring minds do when they are searching for answers? Why, they turn to the Internet, of course. The pups had been in our possession for about a week and a half when I received an unexpected gift, school was cancelled due to a snow day. I was ready to do some research and hopefully find answers to our pressing issue. I spent several hours on my computer hoping to get advice on the mouthy behavior. I explained our situation so many times that afternoon that I lost count. My scenario described how Bob and I had just acquired three female Min Pin littermates and were seeking advice on how to best handle mouthy puppies. I emailed breeders and trainers, and posted on various dog forums, oblivious to the fact that my picture perfect vision of our little family was about to be shredded into a million pieces.
Responses began arriving so quickly that it was almost as if these faceless, anonymous individuals had been waiting for my emails and posts. As I began reading the emails my hopeful state of mind instantly changed to complete and utter shock. With the exception of a few, the emails were full of doom and gloom. The mouthy issue was pushed aside by most responders and attention was directed at the fact that we had made a crucial mistake with the purchase of littermates, female littermates. I was berated for being so clueless and outrage was expressed toward the breeder who sold us the puppies. Comments included, “He could not be reputable if he was willing to allow you to purchase more than one puppy”, and “Professional breeders would never sell a litter of puppies to one family.” Negative feedback kept coming, email after email, painting a bleak picture of how our lives would be should we keep all three puppies.
According to the emails, mouthy behavior was just the tip of the iceberg. Serious fighting among the dogs was not only probable, but a reality we would have to accept if the litter remained together. Horrific stories of dog violence were told that gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Littermates, particularly females, do not do well together as adult dogs was a common theme among those who wanted to chime in with their two cents. Although none of the responses were positive, a few attempted to let me down more easily. Others appeared to take joy in their delivery of such upsetting news.
I was basically told to get my head out of the clouds if I envisioned peaceful neighborhood strolls with my dogs and frolicking dogs playing together in the backyard. “Sure, you can keep all three pups if you don’t mind living like you are in a military camp”, stated a responder. A strict and regimented environment was described that focused on keeping the dogs separated at all times and how gates and barriers would be required to prevent the dogs from killing one another.
Now, at this point, many people may point out that you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet. I did not want to believe any of this negativity, but some of the responders were not so anonymous. One of my emails had been sent to a well-known dog trainer who was the author of a puppy training book I was currently reading. After exchanging several emails, her bottom line was that our situation was not likely to turn out well if we were to keep the litter together.
In a few short hours my entire outlook of our lives with the puppies had been dramatically changed. Excitement over finally bringing the puppies home was cast aside as worry and apprehension set in about what the future may hold. Devastated, I felt like we were experiencing a cruel twist of fate. Important, possibly life-altering, decisions had to be made, but I couldn’t even think of parting with any of our pups.