I don't have a lab, I actually have a Black lab/Basset hound mix. Talk about the ugly cute that grows on you! He looks just like a midget lab cept for the bow legged front. Anyway, we also have a Pembroke welsh Corgi, and a some terrier/possibly Chi mixed thing. (My DD's) Of all our dogs, the only one I was worried about was Guinness (the lab/basset) because of the double hunting dog "Instincts" and we got him as a rescue, so He was the one I worked with first.
I guess it might have helped that all the dogs could see the chicks and bunnies from the beginning. First in the 55 gal fish tank up on the table, then on the floor in a small chicken wire pen. (We raised our bunnies and chicks together and they share the same mini barn.)
We built a pen outside, really just a bunch of 2 foot high boards leaned against each other and bricks, for the babies to play in. For the first week of taking the babies outside, only Guinness was allowed out during play times. The first day he was allowed to run around the outside of the pen as much as he wanted, but had to come/sit/stay as demanded. Day two we both sat inside the play pen area but he had to sit/stay the entire hour. Day 3 same as the first, by now tho the chickies were completely unafraid of him and even hopped up on his back to scratch or nap. I kept my hand on his neck next to his collar the whole time and just talked calmly. If he got too excited (as is normal..omg new stuff to smell/see/lick etc) I would tell him to lie down and let him back up a min later, to sit/stay. Day 4 we both sat in there, but I would only give him the sit stay command for the first 5 min, then released him. Man was I nervous. But I think so was he. He smelled each chick, and bunny ate some poop , drank some water, came back to me and flopped down. The rest of the week was just the same. (The Bunnies never got too friendly with the dogs, as was expected of course, and Guinness is the only one allowed inside the mini barn with them ever. They tolerate him and after a few thumps our buck will sniff his face, and one of our does will actually play fight with him a bit, before deciding hes boring and goes off to eat.)
I did use a command that was new to him and the little dog, but not to our Corgie, which is "Baby", "Be easy with the baby" And "My Baby". In my house Baby is really anything that is mine, that they need to be nice to, first was my children, parrots, turtles, the lizard, kittens, etc. Although I do use body language and throat growling/teeth bearing as well as verbal commands, kinda habit. We have added a few dogs and lost a few dogs over all the years, but they all learned real quick what "Baby" meant. Thank goodness, it comes in very handy.
Anyway, Im rambling again. . . Chickies are all asleep I got nothing to do. . .
Guinness became "mommy" to the flock of 9+3 buns. During playtime he was their watcher, around the other dogs he was the boss, and even now he is their guardian. (Side note if it matters, hes low man on the totem pole as far as the dog pack goes, Corgie first, lil brat she demon, then the big goof ball Guinness, but when the Girls are out, both other dogs differ to him, neatest thing I have ever seen. Even when she demon jumped over the 2 foot barrier to the mini barn, Guinness charged it barking, when she popped out again all scared looking, he actually dragged her across the porch by her tail. Man I laughed good and hard, she never jumped in there again tho.)
FYI training with the Corgie went fine, he "herded them around and around, ate all the poop then got bored with em. For Zumi the mixed she demon. . all I can say is Ugg! Her training ended quickly. Luckily now the girls are bigger than her, and the one Doe bit her in the butt during her training, so she pretty much ignores them all.
Its really funny to watch him and the not-so-little babies now, they all say good morning to him, My fave hen hops up on his back every now and then still and rides "her" dog around . Oh btw he does the doggy grin too its so cute, but the chickens love to peck at his teeth every time he does! They learn quickly too, with 3 dogs, someone is always bound to bark over something, but the girls will flatten or run for the coop if Guinness barks, and they only look around and become alert if the others bark.
Blah blah blah, as it is I doubt any of this was helpful in any way, except if your like me and cant sleep so you keep reading around Backyardchickens maybe It was entertaining.
Personal note, I do however have the up most respect for people and their working dogs, be it working or sport! I hope you find a great middle ground that works for you.
I know how lucky I am that I seem to get animals that get along. Hmm Maybe I should tell the story of my mama duck and my cat that shared egg sitting duties, naw maybe next time.
Ps sorry..this got really long, I promise Ill go off to bed now! >.> After I read that last other post.