DEAR OLD TRAINER: You convinced us. Bella, our 6-year old mix (lab and anyone’s guess) acts so sad when we leave we are going to add a second dog. Bella is a little cranky and territorial. What’s the best way to introduce the second dog?
Miles, Manhattan, Kansas
A: Visit the shelter and pick out the dog you think will fit into Bella’s life. Makes no difference if No. 2 is male, female, bigger or smaller. Look for one a little younger than Bella. Anywhere from 9 months to 5 years old. That makes it likely No. 2 will see Bella as the boss and bring new energy to the pack. A new dog often energizes and excites the old one and makes her feel like a puppy again.
Introduce Bella to her new friend at the shelter or any neutral site. Let them smell and get to know each other and, if they will, play a little, before introducing the new dog to Bella’s space. Start in the yard for half an hour or so—while you keep an eye on them—before moving inside.
Bella may bristle a little when the new dog arrives, but that has to do with working out rank in the pack, not animosity.
Bella has the right to protect her toys, her bed, and her favorite spots. It takes a while to sort out who goes in and out the door first, gets in the car first, and who sits closest to you, but let them do the sorting. If tempers flare raise your voice to get their attention, pet both, and the problem will pass in a few seconds.
No. 2 will learn most commands from Bella, but you may need to help the newcomer understand the rules.
The most likely trouble spot is feeding time. Feed them at the same time but place their dishes 10 feet apart and stand between them. Watch until they are finished for the first week or so.
Relax and enjoy it all and the new dog will be assimilated into the pack in 48 hours.
DEAR OLD TRAINER: I took Daisy, my Papillion mix, to the vet with ear problems. He advised me to treat her with Mometamax. When I got home my daughter said she heard that drug was dangerous so we took Daisy to another vet. He just washed her ears out and the problem vanished. My question is this, was my daughter right about Mometamax?
Erica, Madera, California
A: Yes. Mometamax is effective at curing ear problems but has a serious side effect—it can damage a dog’s ears, and in some case causes a complete loss of hearing.
I checked with the company that sells it and they say the problems arise because people do not follow directions and blame vets for not making that clear.
Makes no difference to me who is to blame, I will not use the product. I am leery of ANY drug and only use them on my dogs as a last resort.
When my dogs have ear problems I rely my fallback remedy, a mixture of 50-percent water, 50-percent apple cider vinegar. I apply it to the inner ear three times a day. They get some relief within hours and the problem is gone after three days.
If not, I see the vet, but I won’t use Mometamax. There are safer alternatives.
A trainer for more than 30 years, Jack Haskins has rescued, trained and placed more than 2,500 dogs. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.