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"FOR THE LOVE OF LABRADORS"
My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

My responce to "Teri's Tail Wag"

Thanks to Teri and her comment on my last post: Wasn't it just yesterday that they were puppies?, here's my response.

Teri,

I'm so happy for you and your new family members. You are doing much better from the start than I did and I hope you avoid some of the struggles that I ran into. I don't think you need to keep your puppies apart for days on end.

Here are my thoughts but keep in mind that it may be good to keep looking for advice. I would check with the books from the awesome trainers I've recommended here on my blog for starters. First and foremost go with what you know, and what feels right for you. They're your dogs and it has to be right for you and them. Dogs have as diverse temperaments as children and so need different approaches in their training and raising as well. This blog is about my experience with my two unique dogs.

Here are my thoughts on some of the key times you've mentioned:

  • Crate time - different crates are a must. Whether in the same room or different room is up to your logistics and your gut feeling. Dogs are pack animals and I think that it is positive and important to nurture this natural characteristic dogs have, as long as we are the ones leading the pack by setting necessary limits and building their trust and confidence. We had to put a visual separator between the two crates to tone down the whining. They could however, get audible reassurance that the other was close. If your puppies are doing well at night in separate rooms then stick with what is working for you.
  • Feeding time - We still do, and have always done this together, but I would suggest different areas in the same room with at least different food dishes. It may be easier for them to share a water dish but this is up to you. It sounds like you have this logistics worked out already.
  • Play & Training time - They should have both dedicated play time and training time with you. This will give them both disciplined and relaxed time with you and they will learn to distinguish the difference in your body language and tone of voice. But I would definitely allow them to play together with you and all members of the family. They need this because as I've mentioned already it's hard wired into their instincts to be "family" (pack) oriented. I personally feel it's also important for their emotional and psychological development. Towards the middle and end of adolescence (9 - 13 months) I would also encourage you to bring them together for training time. That way they learn that they need to pay attention and obey not just play when they are both with you. You got two dogs like I did so that you could enjoy both their company. You need them to be able to be disciplined as well as relaxed when they are together.
  • Obedience class - Logistically it was not possible for us to take our dogs to different "puppy" and "beginning/intermediate" obedience classes. We did run into some problems as adolescence started but we had not done some of the important things you are doing already so we had the cards stacked against us. If you can take them to different classes they will learn to socialize with other dogs independent of each other. This will be very good especially if un-beknownst to you they would have the tendency to double team on a new dog and overwhelm that dog. Fear is never a good emotional state for any dog not to mention any dog encounter.
These are just my thoughts and my experience is limited to my two dogs. I hope this offers you some food for thought. Keep me posted on how things go.

"Sunshine"

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