Every other month, our pet expert and Canine Coaches dog trainer, Jill Bailey, will answer your pet questions. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Canine Coaches visit caninecoaches.com.
My family and I want to get a second dog. What is the best way to introduce the new dog to our current dog?
There are a lot of factors when introducing a second dog to the family. Are you adopting the dog from a shelter? Is the dog a puppy or full grown, maybe even a senior? Is the new dog a large breed and your current canine a toy breed? All of these details matter; however, there are still some general rules to follow with new dog introductions.
Let the dogs meet on neutral ground and have them both on a leash. Make sure the leashes are slack, especially if they decide to interact with one another; this is key because a tight leash may cause a dog to react aggressively when it otherwise wouldn’t have. The most important thing is to be observant and watch for stress signs.
Dogs use body language to communicate with each other. There are signs to watch for when introducing the dogs – play bows, where the dog has their butt in the air and front legs are down; wagging tails, but be sure it isn’t a stiff tail, it should be loose and low, are a couple examples of positive signs.
Seeing a dog with ears forward, a stiff body or a tight, closed mouth are all signals that the dogs should be separated, calmly calling the dogs away from each other.
There are so many steps when introducing a new dog to the family. Not only do you have to take the canine brother or sister into consideration, but also a human brother or sister, a busy household, or a low key one, will a human be home most of the day, or will everyone be gone for eight to 10 hours a day? Please be sure to research and take all factors into consideration when looking to grow your canine family. Training and managing a dog’s environment are key elements to the successful introduction of another dog into the family.
My dog gets ear infections all the time. What can I do to prevent this?
Ear infections in dogs are very common, it is even more common in certain breeds of dogs such as basset hounds, beagles and cocker spaniels, just to name a few. These breeds tend to experience ear issues due to their big floppy ears. Basically, this makes it more difficult for a dog to shake and clear out the ears and it can make water that is present in the ear warm, causing the perfect recipe for bacteria or yeast to grow. Allergies are also a culprit. Try to be diligent about keeping your dog away from what he or she is allergic to whenever possible.
There are many reasons for ear infections and many treatments you can explore. Take your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect an infection. Signs of an infection are bad odor, inflammation and redness. Discuss options with your veterinarian for future prevention of infections or to at least try and lessen the amount of infections, such as an ear drying solution that can be used for routine cleaning.