Just looking for advice and general opinions on introducing a second lab to the family. My wife is already on the forum here (Lazaretto) and has posted pics of our 5 month old yellow girl Juno, and yesterday night (on a spur of the moment basically) we bought an 11 week old black lab female. Juno is a great, friendly pup herself who has taken very well to basic training and some tricks, but still has a few potty setbacks due likely to having to go inside sometimes during the day when confined in the laundry. She is an ideal lab, beautiful, super friendly.
Cleo is our black lab (pictures later when I rack up 10 posts), she seems a lot like Juno at that age, fairly quiet and a little reserved. She is slightly undersized for her age while Juno is oversized for hers, so bit of a size mis match.
Like Juno, Cleo is going to be crate trained at first and is spending nights in a crate in our room, and eventually can sleep on a mat on the floor when we trust her bladder control. (Juno has never had an accident in the bedroom).
How heavy do your dogs play? I'm pretty sure what I see is playful fighting where there can be some teeth bared, neck biting, legs being biten, etc, it sounds and looks bad, especially to me having never had two dogs in one hours. (Juno is quite well socialized however). However when I seperate them tails are wagging and both seek out the other almost staight away.
Any advice on refereeing play fighting, what to watch for? I'm probably worried over nothing.
Any other advice on toys, feeding, giving treats together etc? I'd be worried about each of them having a bone and one being too defensive, etc.
I think ultimately Cleo will be more dominant that Juno despite the massive size difference because she is pretty ballsy and has won far more tug of wars over Juno so far despite being 1/3 her weight. Its pretty cute.
Thanks in advance, my wife may add more.
Are you sure this is a good time to add a second puppy? At 5 mts your girl is still a baby and will require lots more one on one training. The new puppy will also require one on one time - This will be insanely time consuming.
Play get rough with young dogs, that is normal but they should be trained to stop when you say stop. Nothing wrong with calling a time out when it gets too crazy.
If your girl is having accidents during the day - why not keep her crated?
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I recently added another Lab to the house. Previously I have had a part timer Border Collie, (Gems) so not at all knowledgable on multiyple dogs.Many others are so will give you some good advice.
Here is what goes on in our house.
Gems who was the boss. I had to seperate her and Erns at meal times as he would step aside and let her eat his food. If he so much as took a step toward the room she was in she threaten to tear his ear off. Bones are always seperate rooms with the doors closed and never leave them alone with food. I don't leave any of my dogs alone with bones, chew toys, or food...not that it lasts long.
Erns is my main concern, so any dog that comes into the house I like to fit in with him.
They played together for hours. Lots of play snarling, bitey face and growling noises.
I recently rescued Tessa who will let anyone eat out of her bowl. She loves plays with both dogs. If play gets a bit rough or more serious I call out Hey...which usually distracts them and they stop. I am always listening so know if things start going pear shape (which never have) and ready to stop them before they get too excited. Gems will.
Congratulations. Will be looking for pics of both of them.
The rough play sounds normal. If it should turn into a true dog fight (very unlikely) you will hear a sudden rise in intensity of growls. You will know.
I'm no expert and can only tell you what works for me. I feed them together, give treats together, do not allow a dog to take food away from another. (they never tried anyway). I am able to take anything away from them without resistance. Non play fighting is absolutely forbidden regardless of who started it.
If you keep them on a schedule, you should not have trouble housebreaking, but if they urinate in the house beyond the time when you think they should have learned, it's common for pups to have urinary tract infections and they cannot be trained until that's taken care of (all three of mine had it as pups). To check, just take a fresh pee sample to the vet. Good luck.
The problem I see with your combo is that at 5 months old they are about to enter the "teen" age and become extremely rough and test the limits. The 11 week old puppy could very well be harrased by the older pup, who is a lot stronger and probably won´t give him any "truce" time.
The rough play is pretty normal, but you do have to check out that the older pup doesn´t go overboard with the little one. Its really difficult having to pups at the same time, make sure to train them separately.
when I got Homer, Misha was a little over a year old, and even though she never hurt Homer (he was 2 months old when I got him) she indeed was quite a bully at some times. Homer trying to stop her was pointless, she just didn´t care, so I had to intervene when I saw the little pup had enough.
Things balanced out when he was around 5-6 months old.
They still play a lot now (3 and 4 years respectively) but now are incredibly gentle with each other.
Good luck with two pups it really is a lot of work.
Wow you have a lot to handle!! It's a little like having 2 kids back to back, more difficult sure but totally something you can do! I will say my older boy HATES the crate but he was rescued so who knows what happened before us. Our youngest one could be left out but occasionally had accidents or marked so if they are not outside (which is daily when we are at work b/c they have always played and swam) then Bailey is crated and Jake is just out. If they are stuck indoors they get more walk/play time as really a dog inside in any capacity is not the same as outdoor play time.
A thought with the crate have it out in the main room with the door open so the pup doesn't feel like its a punishment, Bailey laid in his for years ( we finally went down to only 1 in the bed room as he will stay in it all night even with the door open, otherwise he roams b/c he hears the cats running around).
We feed them in elevated bowls and they will sit until we tell them okay to eat. All treats are the same and same with toys, 2 of everything, including their bedtime beds and living room beds.
You may have to watch feeding times but it is likely if one is controlling around food they will communicate that once and you will not have to address it with them again.
As for play, I am withe everyone else they sound fine and yes you will know when/if it is something different.
Good luck and congrats on the new additions!!
Last edited by Emma the Lab; 09-10-2011 at 07:53 AM.
~Veronica and Nikki~
Sweet Emma, 16th of February 1996~26th of November 2010
Always in my heart and soul. Together forever, my love....
Nikki 6 months
I should provide some more background, as I don't think my husband's post above really represents the true nature of our questions.
Firstly, we had planned for some time to add a second Labrador to our home sometime within the first year. We wanted two 2-year-old dogs by the time we start having kids. We knew that this was going to be really time consuming in terms of all the one-on-one training that they require but what we're not too sure about, and what a lot of different websites seem to have inconsistent advice about, is how to determine pecking order and refereeing fights.
The bulk of the advice seems to say that you should only break up a fight if things get crazy enough that their growls increase drastically in volume and one or both actually gets hurt, otherwise, let them sort it out amongst themselves. However, other websites seem to say that two females, especially close in age, may have an ongoing fight for dominance, and that they shouldn't be fighting for dominance between them because WE are the pack leaders. So at what point is enough enough?
We are concerned because even though Cleo is so much smaller/younger, she seems to be initiating most of the fights which she probably won't be able to live with the consequences of, and Juno as a teen may be too boisterous for her without realising she's actually in a big girl's body now. Food and beds are separate, we make them both sit and wait for everything (from eating to being let outside), we don't let one take a toy from the other etc. All play between them is supervised (some sites say that they should NEVER be alone, no matter what age) and we intervene when it appears that Cleo needs a break (going for water or her bed). But if the playing keeps going the way it is, I don't know if we're teaching them that aggression like that is acceptable instead of living harmoniously. Alternatively, if breaking up the fights is sending an equally bad message. We know that play amongst dogs can teach important lessons about social interactions and the bite inhibition.
Any advice from people who have two females, especially close in age? How long before you felt comfortable with unsupervised play? And how to protect a young pup without bubble wrapping them?
And some pics!
Your pups are both so cute!
It would be great if you knew someone with a pair of young Labs so you can visit and see how rough they play. People on this forum have often remarked how rough they play and we can't understand how they don't hurt each other. Maybe someone will post a video/audio of their Labs going at it for you to compare yours. It's true that sometimes two males or two females, not necessarily close in age, fight. But Labradors usually don't. Some other breeds are more prone to that behavior. My two females are two years apart. When I introduced Judy to Mitzi nine years ago, Mitzi acted more like a mother, protected her, played gently with her, and took a lot of abuse from her. Juno and Cleo, being only a few months apart, may relate to each other as littermates and play harder, no holds barred. (just guessing) In any event, I would keep them together all the time... eat and sleep together so they will bond. Mine have always been together from day 1. They behave as a pack and are easier to handle. For example, when I call, they all come. Peer pressure? Pack behavior? Whatever, it works for us. Keep us posted.