Thinking Of Adding Another Lab To The Family?
"Moose" at 13 years and "Winslow" at
Are more than one Lab lots more fun?
by Laura J. Dedering, Folklaur
Many Lab owners start to wonder what it would be
like to add another Lab to their families. So far, all of the Labs I have
placed in homes with existing Labs have been successful. I highly recommend
having two. Some of my homes have three! Here are a few thoughts on the
When should I add another pup?
All of the following situations
have worked out fine:
1. Add another puppy when the first dog is
six years old or older -
Positives: The new puppy is much easier to housebreak
and train since he follows the lead of the older dog and youíve been through it
once so you know how to handle it better this time. Also, he has another dog for
company and to play with. You already have a lot of the
equipment, toys, etc. and have had a few years to save for another pup.
The new puppy doesnít go through all of the separation
anxiety the first one did. However, since the average
life expectancy is 12 years, when the older dog passes away the younger dog is
only around six. You then get another puppy and you
donít have to deal with the loss of both dogs at around the same time.
Your existing Lab may not take well to an annoying, energetic
teething machine entering his territory.
There is more hair and more dirty paw prints. You have to go through the
housebreaking and teething again. There are additional costs for food, vetting
and boarding. You may need a bigger auto. When the older dog passes away, and
you donít want to start with a new puppy again, the other dog may get lonely for
2. Add another puppy when the first dog is
one or two years old -
Positives: The first dog is still young at
heart but is now housebroken and through the teething stages. Most of the
positives above. When the dogs get old they may pass away around the same time
so there is no dog left grieving for its friend. With
both dogs gone, you may be at a point in your life when you donít want to be
Most of the negatives above. Both dogs are close in age and you may lose them
around the same time.
The grief could be doubled.
3. Buy two pups at the same
The puppies donít have to deal with separation anxiety, have playmates other
than people to chew on and they have company when their humans are not home.
Negatives: There must
be sufficient numbers of family members to make sure that each of the puppies
get individual attention and bond to humans.
There are increased expenses since you need two
of everything, i.e. bowls, crates, collars, leashes, vet bills, food, including
the cost of the puppies, etc. There are two to
housebreak, to teethe on your furniture and to keep track of. They could get
wild, running in the house, bouncing on and off the furniture.
Maybe I should
add another Adult, instead of a puppy?
Adding another adult Lab to the family is an
excellent idea! And there are many sources of lovely adult Labs available.
1. Contact your Breeder -
If you already have a good relationship with the breeder of your current Lab,
contact them to see if they have any older pups that didn't turn out to be show
quality or an adult who is retired from showing and/or breeding.
Positives: You already have a good relationship and can trust
why the breeder is placing this dog. You will have a full history for the dog.
Your new dog will have been the pick of it's litter. It will be housebroken and
leash trained and done with teething. It may already have some or all of it's
health testing done. Breeders almost always place their older dogs on a trial
period for compatibility and will always take them back, no matter what. Your
existing Lab may take better to an adult entering his territory than an
Negatives: Your existing Lab may not take as well to an adult
entering his territory. An adult dog has most of it's personality established.
If the dog was strictly a kennel dog, it may take longer to housetrain it.
However, Labs are especially loving, adaptable and trainable, so it may still
take less time to housetrain than a puppy.
2. Check with your local Labrador Club's Breeder Referral
If you didn't get your current Lab through a breeder, or your breeder
doesn't have anything available, see if there are any listings with the regional
Lab club. Their members may have older pups that didn't turn out to be show
quality or adults who are retired from showing and/or breeding.
A good source is the Jersey
Skylands Labrador Retriever Club - Breeder Referral
3. Contact a Lab Rescue Group or Visit a Shelter -
Many dedicated individuals donate their time to find good homes for unwanted
Positives: Some poor Lab may be in need of a home and you can
provide them with a great one. You will be helping to save a life. How wonderful
for you both! The dog may have been surrendered through no fault of it's own,
i.e. the owner died, lost their job, a divorce, etc. You can obtain a lovely Lab
for a reasonable donation. Or the dog may have a health or temperament issue
that has kept it from being adopted, but you have the time, the knowledge, the
financial resources and all the love needed to save this poor dog.
Negatives: You may not know the REAL reason the dog was
placed with rescue or dropped off at the pound. It might not be the dog's fault,
but it also might be because the first owner never trained it, or they abused it
or it has health or temperament issues. It may even have bitten someone. You may
not have the willingness, time, training knowledge or the money to help some
poor Lab that comes with "baggage".. If you have kids, you need to consider
their safety, and your other Lab's safety, around the new dog. You need to use
your head as well as your heart before you adopt a dog with possible issues.