Labs are friendly, happy dogs, in general. It is not typically very difficult to get them on board with a new pet in the home. This partly because they are so eager to please their owners that if they see that the new animal is important to you, they will go out of their way to be accepting. If you bring a new pet into the “pack” they will trust your judgment.
In regard to cats and other pets, it is very important to keep in mind that Labs are natural born hunters who will go after a small animal with whom it has not been trained is a part of the family. But, with a new puppy, there should not be as many challenges.
If you have a senior dog or a very hyper dog you may need to be a bit more cautious as a puppy can get hurt by a full grown Lab at his most energetic and a senior dog may be less quick to accept a “newbie.”
The introduction should be very slow and gradual and you should never push the two animals together. Be sure that you have 2 of everything from beds to food bowls so that they are not in competition with one another for anything. Keep them separated during meal times, rest times and so on until you have seen enough positive interactions to feel safe with the two of them spending more time together.
The First Day
The first day may be tough for your dogs… both of them! This is a big change for your older dog and the new pup is brand new to the world. But, as long as they are given consistent training and socialized appropriately there is no reason that the first day should not end well. Do not make any other major changes at this time that will add stress to the home. If possible, try and give them opportunities to meet before moving in together. But, of course, this is easier said than done.
Your attitude during this transition will be important for both dogs. The happier and more positive you make this experience, the happier they will both be. For example, try not to scold your dog for being too rambunctious around the puppy. Instead, reward him when is calm. That way he will associate the new dog with positive experiences.
Introducing a puppy can be stressful but most older Labs will become quite fond of a new dog and will enjoy helping you to train the new pooch. They will take on a big brother or big sister role that will allow them to feel close to the other animal and, if you are lucky, make training the second dog much easier now that they have someone to look up to.
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