You have been thinking about a second dog. Perhaps a second Labrador. Two dogs are double the fun and they will be a companion to each other. Whatever your reason for wanting a puppy, the moment will come that the two shall have to meet.
Most people do not realize that it takes time and effort to introduce a new puppy to an adult dog. Fortunately, in most cases the adult dog will accept the new addition to the family and they will be ‘blood’ brothers before you know it. Labradors, as a breed, are particularly accepting and typically relish the company.
In order to make this a positive experience for both humans and canines requires understanding the process, commitment and patience. Here are a few tips to help you make the process of introducing a new puppy to your Labrador, as painless as possible.
Be patient with your Lab and the new pup
- Do not be in a hurry to make the introductions. Take your time and plan the first meet-and-greet carefully.
- It could be helpful to allow the dogs to get used to each other’s scent by introducing an object or a towel with their smell on it to each other.
Neutrality levels the playing field
- Choose neutral territory for the first meeting. None of the dogs should be familiar with this neutral venue. On familiar territory the adult dog could see the newcomer as an intruder or a threat.
- Make sure there are at least two humans present to intervene in case of hostilities that could endanger your puppy.
- Never leave the two dogs without supervision.
- An attitude of suspicion, jealousy and a bit of growling is perfectly normal.
- With both dogs on the leash, allow the dogs to sniff each other and accompany this encounter with friendly, encouraging words.
- Avoid using a harsh tone with the older dog.
Lovingly reassure your older Labrador
- Reassure your older Labrador of their position in the home and family with lots of love and attention.
- Cuddle your new puppy out of sight of the older dog to avoid jealousy.
- You can feed the dogs at the same time, but in separate places.
Don’t invade your adult Lab’s space
- Make sure the adult Labrador keeps his space and privileges to avoid animosity towards the new puppy.
- Give the puppy his own space and keep the dogs separate to begin with.
- Make sure that each dog has his own possessions: toys, blankets, beds, bowls, bones and treats.
- Keep the toys away to start with to avoid the puppy aggravating the older Lab by running away with his stuff.
Repeat until perfect
- Repeat the meetings several times a day and for longer periods of time, if necessary.
- Pay close attention to the behavior of your older dog.
Let the natural pecking order emerge
- The adult Labrador will probably keep the puppy in line with a warning growl. This is acceptable behavior and it is best for the dogs to sort out the ‘pecking order’ between the two of them.
- The older Lab will probably be the dominant dog. The puppy will be lower in the pecking order. This is the natural balance.
Be patient. Be kind. Be encouraging. The dogs will deal with the situation in their own way and in their own time.