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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Correctly Intoducing a 2nd Lab

Yellow and Chocolate Labrador Retrievers
I am a fan of Lab Brats being a chocolate lab owner myself and have found your advice helpful. We are thinking of adding a 1 year old yellow neutered male to our household. Any advice on how best to make this work. Our chocolate lab is a neutered female about 6.5 years old and seems to be pretty dominate around other dogs--not aggressive just doesn't want to play. I know this one year old is playful and will need a lot of work with recall and help getting rid of his boundless energy. We live out in the country and will have a fenced in yard in place by the time we bring him home. Any advice on how to introduce him to the household would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

My breeder warned me - "One Lab is like one tornado and two is like ten!" Honestly though, I love having two Labrador Retrievers and couldn't picture life without either of the Lab Brats. However, bringing home a second dog can be tricky but wonderful if done correctly.

Whenever you bring another dog into your family pack, you need to help the dogs (and family) understand where the dog fits in. If possible, I recommend a few meetings of the two dogs off site before bringing them into closer contact. If you are rescuing, the Lab rescue's foster family may provide you with an opportunity to have the dogs meet at a local dog park or some other neutral area where they can get to know each other. This neutral field will take away the "property" dominance and help the dogs get to know each other better.

When you are ready to bring home the next dog, have them meet outside in some neutral area of the property. For most people, this would be their front yard as the dogs spend more time in the backyard. Let them get to know each other for hours if you can before even attempting to move them into the house.

Once in the house, have certain areas blocked off to the new dog that your dog has major claims over. If there is a certain area is sleeps, block that off from the new dog and offer that area to be available to the existing dog at all times. For us, we brought home a puppy and had a baby gate in our hallway blocking off the bedrooms. When Dakota had enough of Cheyenne puppy biting all over her, she could easily make it over the fence to her sanctuary (and her bed). Cheyenne also had her crate in the living room and Dakota was not allowed to enter it. The crate was new and as far as Dakota was concerned, it came with the new puppy. Dakota would eagerly flee to get sanctuary as we never pushed the puppy on her and let them develop their own bonds at their own times.

On top of this, we also continued to feed Dakota first, give treats first, pet first, and let outside first. Cheyenne was to stay away from her while eating and was not allowed to demand our attention when we were giving it to Dakota.

Now it would take the Jaws of Life to separate the Lab Brats. The have their own crates side-by-side but when outside of them, they cuddle together on the floor, clean each other's ears (eww!), and play together as though they have always been. It takes time and if properly done, it can be the best doggy relationship ever!

Best of luck!

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Blogger Kate said...

I'm a regular reader of your blog and I need some advice. (I tried to email this to you, but it bounced back several times saying it had a terminal failure...)

I have a lab that is 2 weeks away from being a year old. He is very sweet and well behaved. However, he has recently developed a bit of aggression regarding his kong and his crate. Whenever we have to crate him, he gets his kong with a little bit of peanut butter in it. He always gets excited and runs into his crate to wait for it. I put the kong in the crate in front of him and pet his head. Lately he tenses up when I do this. Today, my fiance (Jeff) was putting him in his crate, and he asked for a paw for a shake (he always sodes this) Diesel sort of growled so Jeff said something like "hey - you don't growl at me!" and told him to shake again. Diesel growled again and nipped at him. So Jeff yelled at him (bad move, I know) and Diesel ran out and hid under the computer desk. Jeff went to get him and tell him it was it was ok, and diesel bit him - (like hole in the hand and blood). Jeff gave him a whack (which also was probably not a good move) and now diesel is terrified of him. What do I do? How do we stop this aggression and how do we help him not be afraid of Jeff now?

Please help!


April 17, 2008 2:09 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...


Please send paste this information into an email and send it to Unfortunately, I am my site is currently in transition to another host and the old host decided to mess with my email addresses so I cannot get any email to at this moment. I hope to have it fixed in the next 24 hours but your situation cannot wait and I need to personally email you information on this situation.

In the meantime, please stop Jeff from doing what he is doing as he could be making the situation even worse.

Don't worry - we will get Diesel through this and I don't see why you cannot get your baby back.

Lab smiles,

April 17, 2008 4:54 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Thank you Shannon!
I have emailed it you you.


April 18, 2008 8:57 AM  

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