John, we have just lost our 7.5 year old chocolate labrador retriever to hemangiosarcoma. We have a 6 year old German Shorthaired Pointer who has lived with us and our lab his whole life. He is generally fine, but has been more clingy than usual. Is it possible to introduce a new lab puppy to him safely? For 40 years we have always had multiple labs and 3 times a lab + GSP pair. I’m not sure why I’m feeling concerned this time, we never had a problem before. The lab is likely the more relaxed disposition of the 2, but they alway complemented each other and learned from each other before. I’d appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. Wish you were located in our area!
Has he given you any hints as to how he feels about dogs other then the one he lived with? Generally introducing new dogs is best done after thorough exercising and then on neutral territory as even dogs that like other dogs can get their knickers in a knot if another dog suddenly appears on “their” territory. Neutral territory should be somewhere your dog is entirely unfamiliar with as sometimes dogs that go on regular walks in the same area don’t think they’re walking so much as patrolling.
For what it’s worth, before introducing another dog you might focus on increasing the GSP’s cardio. A lot of dogs only go for walks and don’t ever really run hard enough or long enough to get their heart rates up. This is of course very good for their bodies but it also impacts them mentally in a very positive way. I always recommend it for grieving dogs or dogs going through any sort of life upheaval.
Also here’s an article about adding a second dog. More from the perspective of whether to do so, rather then how to do so. Second Dog – Good Idea Or Not?