Aisling Labradors  

Quality Traditional Dual Purpose Labrador Retrievers
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More about our "One Puppy" Policy 

As you've already read, we are not a "facility"; we don't have kennels with dog houses where our dogs spend a majority of their time, they live in our home with us.  This means that when we are raising a puppy, we are going through everything that you will experience raising a Labrador Puppy...the house training, the crate training, the ongoing process of teaching them civilized behavior, impulse control and obedience.  We know how much hard work is involved in the first two to three months a puppy part of the daily life of a any dog owner.

Since 2014, we have raised two sets of two puppies and the experience has led to our current "One Puppy" Policy for those interested in Aisling Puppies. Kona was six months old when we brought home 8 week old Dreama and Roamin' was 16 weeks old when Bree came to us at 9 weeks.  Contrary to the popular "two puppies will wear each other out and make life easier" belief, the reality is that everything takes at least twice as long to achieve unless you are lucky enough to get two puppies with an equal temperament, equal size and equal playstyle!

The Reality!

1. Puppies must be crated seperately, trained seperately and socialized seperately!  

        • Crating them together creates a dependence upon each other.  Puppies that are not crated seperately will never learn to be alone leading to personality disorders in the future.   This is the same whether they are littermates or just puppies of a similar age.

    1. Although simple trick training can be done together using treats, more important training like recall and stay require one on one training and proofing.  Puppies "trigger" each other's worst behaviors rather than their best as each is competing with the other for your attention and the reward or simply more interested in playing with the other puppy than they are in you and that treat.
    2. Each puppy must learn to be alone - both need to be taken out to the beach, the pet store, or for a play date seperately in order to learn how to be alone and to play appropriately with other dogs.

2. Playstyles

    • Dogs are individuals in every way - from temperament, to food motivation, to focus, impulse control, the ability to read the body language of other dogs and even in the rate of growth.
    • Some dogs instinctively engage in passive play while others in dominant play and still others will alternate between the two.  The ability to read the body language of another dog protects both dogs from accidental injury during playtime.  A dog who is immature in this ability is a danger to himself/herself or to others.  Focused training and maturity are both required to socialize this type of dog to appropriate play.  All playtimes may require close supervision in order to intervene before things get out of control or a puppy is injured by another puppy.
    • Puppies who are raised together and not closely trained/monitored during play times will result in a dominant puppy engaging in inappropriate biting and body slamming of the more passive puppy during all time together.  Most of the time, this dynamic leads to a rehoming of one or both puppies.

3. More about Training - House Rules, Focus and BondingSuccessful training depends upon the puppy focusing on you and learning what behavior is required of them
        • Puppies raised together are more prone to focusing on each other than on their humans.
        • Free play outside is extremely difficult to control and end when the puppies are close in age because in addition to their focus being on each other, neither is fully trained to vocal commands.  Each time you lose control of their playtime and are ignored when giving the command to come or go inside, it is a step back in your training of BOTH puppies. 
        • Free play inside the house is equally challenging for the same reasons but there are added dangers to the puppies themselve, to the human who gets in the way of bitey face or an unexpected butt tucking of both puppies and to household furniture and things like Digital Cameras and Lamps (I've lost count of the number of items broken by one puppy - let alone two playing together in the house!)
        • Teaching each puppy to "just be" in a room with you without full on playing is challenging enough, teaching two of them this behavir requires that each be taught it first and then both be taught it together!  You can expect this to take twice as long in most cases and sometimes longer!

It took four full months to "pack" Kona and Dreama and we are still working on it with Bree (9 months) and Roamin' (11 months).  What do I mean by "pack"?  That is what we call it when all of the dogs are able to be together in the house or the yard and we know that they will listen and respond to vocal commands.  If we say "inside", they will break from what they are doing and head for the door; if we say "Gazebo" they will all head for the gazebo.  In other words, even when "free", we are still in control of the pack's behavior.  If they are in the house, they are playing quietly together, chewing on a nylabone independently or napping and not engaging in running or rough-housing.

The four months difference between Kona and Dreama was challenging, but not so much that it was a huge disruption to our daily life here at Aisling.  The seven weeks between Bree and Roamin' has been a disruption to how we lead our lives each day.  T