Jeremy has been breeding labradors for over 25 years. He is a member of the Kennel Club and lives in Lancashire and is well known as a writer on country sports and rural issues.
Mark is an ‘A’ panel Kennel Club judge for spaniels and has represented England six times in international gundog events. He trains and breeds labradors and spaniels at the Cheweky Gundog Kennels in Yorkshire.
It’s great when an older gun dog takes to a youngster and you have been right not to do too much with the new boy.
However, it looks as though he has become so attached to his mate, he wants him around all the time and isn’t concentrating on you when you need him to be focused on his training.
We try to avoid similar situations when running two pups on together; it’s always easier from a management point of view, but we always make sure we get them to spend some time kennelled with others so they don’t get too fixated on a littermate or one particular dog.
I am assuming your dogs live in the house; if that’s the case I would suggest you start devoting more time with the younger dog, now that it’s moving into the teenage stage, to help build up a one-to-one relationship.
The older dog should not become jealous – provided he gets his share of time with you too. Instead of just spending time training the younger dog, try walking him and taking him out on his own so he starts to respond to you in all sorts of situations and builds up his confidence.
I am also going to assume he is possibly not going to be a dominant type, in which case he is probably looking for his mate for reassurance. You need to make him realise you are the one he can rely on too, so don’t get hard with him; he needs to realise life is not a threeway partnership and you are just as important as his four-legged mentor!