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Help spaniel adjust to pup

Updated: April 29, 2012 8:05AM

Q . How do we introduce a new puppy to our household with a very spoiled 8-year-old female Brittany spaniel that has been the only dog in the house. The puppy also will be a Brittany and we are thinking of getting a male.

A. Make the older dog comfortable by keeping it comfortable. Make sure none of her routines are disrupted during the household’s puppy adjustment. Walk her at the same time, feed her as you have been doing, and leave her crate or bed in the same place.

Don’t force her to pal around with the puppy but let the two of them forge their relationship as they will. Ensure you divide your attentions equally.

Q. I have such a problem relaxing and enjoying my three dogs instead of always wondering if they are getting enough exercise and whether all their canine emotional needs are satisfied. This becomes a real problem when I come home from work and am too tired to walk them or when I go on vacation and leave them with the “in house” sitter.

If I get lucky and get a date or boyfriend, how should I split my time then? Sometimes I wish they were less reliant on me and would play together more. They probably would do this if I encouraged it. I love them so much, but how do I relax a little bit and give myself a break. They are all big dogs, very well-behaved for the most part. I live alone and have a 9 to 5 job.

A. Not to be a wagging “Told ya so,” but you’re the one who got yourself into this dog pack. You chose to have three dogs — not a tiny task. Just follow this maxim: A tired dog as a happy dog. Provide them with plenty of exercise. They will never complain or stare through your soul with big needy dog eyes if they are snoozing.

Presumably, any man who wants to share life with you is a man who likes dogs. And you may find your responsibility is shared by someone who is glad to help you wrangle your threesome. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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