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Ask AKC
with Lisa Peterson
Lisa Peterson
Lisa Peterson with her Norwegian Elkhound Jinx.

Dear Lisa: We recently lost our 12-year old English Springer Spaniel. We still have our 11-year-old female black Lab who is full of life. We are interested in getting a puppy. We are looking for the right breeder to buy a male yellow Lab. What advice do you have regarding helping our older dog adjust?Prepping for a Puppy

Dear Prepping: I’m sorry to hear about your recent loss. It’s always difficult when we lose one of our faithful companions after so many years. One piece of advice that will work well for you now and when you get your new puppy is to keep the older dog’s routine intact. Stick to familiar things, same feeding schedule, same exercise habits, and most importantly the same level of attention from you. Many times when a new puppy comes into the home everyone’s attention shifts towards the cute puppy, because well, it’s too darn cute! And in the meantime we forget that our trusted companion is sitting right in the room with us!

Puppy Introductions
Slowly, integrate the new puppy into the Lab’s life. While the puppy will need lots of attention, the less you can do to disrupt the older dog’s existing routine the better. Place the puppy’s crate away from the older dog’s feeding area, and always feed the puppy in her crate with the door shut to discourage shared food. Give each dog separate time, and slowly include the puppy into shared activities like a walk, or sitting on the couch (if you allow that) while watching TV at night. Your older dog is going to want to communicate to the young upstart that you are “her” resource for food, love, and basically everything. Iif the older Lab feels that she is threatened in any way, she may act out a bit against the young puppy as a threat to what is “hers” for her survival. So be inclusive of all their needs, yet exclusive for maintaining her routine and the attention she so richly deserves.


Dear Lisa: I would love to see a column with detailed information about the best methods and equipment to restrain large dogs in cars. While my dogs have always been well behaved in the car, I do not want them to become projectiles in an accident, and I want to do the most to ensure their safety. Even with our current minivan, it is often difficult to set up a travel crate when we have other luggage, and there is never room for two travel crates for two 80-pound dogs. In addition, our minivan is getting old and our kids are growing up, so I envision a smaller vehicle in our future.– Downsizing Doggie Travel

Dear Downsizing: According to a recent survey conducted by AKC and The Hartford, most dog owners are unaware of the safest way to travel with a dog in a vehicle. The answer was, and still is, in a crate, just for the reasons you mentioned. Dogs won’t become projectiles and injure themselves or any human occupants if they are in a secured crate located towards the middle or rear of the vehicle.

Other options
Here are some suggestions to try and keep these large dogs safe in your vehicle.Start with the luggage. Anything that can be transferred to the roof in a cargo carrier will free up space for crates in your vehicle. You may also opt for a crate size one size down from the normal size in order to fit into a smaller vehicle. For the most part, dogs lie down, curl up and go to sleep when traveling, so having a smaller crate should not inconvenience them for shorter trips. Also, you may want to investigate having a sturdy carrier in the rear of the vehicle and perhaps getting a soft-side crate, secured to the back seats, for the second dog. One final option is to get one of those metal grates that divide the vehicle’s cargo area from the front. While not ideal, you may be able to have both dogs in the far back compartment and not have them become projectiles during a head-on collision.


Dear Lisa: My Great Dane's pressure points on both hind legs have become a real challenge. He had to be quarantined for about 12 days with our vet and the concrete floor he had to lie on started this condition. He has always had soft places to lie on at home. I can't seem to relieve this situation and his chewing at these areas makes it even worse. I have tried to bandage them, I have ordered soothing pads and ointment and he licks if off. I try to keep the areas clean with peroxide and coat them with ointments, but they never scab over or heal because he is always chewing them! My vet suggested cortisone cream, but he licks that off too! He chews to the point of bleeding and having difficulty walking. – Hopefully Healing

Dear Hopefully: This is easily solved, but will take great diligence on your part. Get him an Elizabethan collar (a plastic cone that goes around their neck) and make him wear it so that he cannot physically get to the sore spots to chew on them. This will not only let the area heal, but will break this harmful behavior. In addition, because he can’t get to the area, you can put a healing ointment on it with greater success. I have used Horseman’s Dream on my dogs’ rough elbows after lying on concrete and, in conjunction with moving him to a softer carpeted area, it worked so well, the hair grew back . I also once had to keep one of my dogs in the collar for 3 months until a hot spot was healed. This method will inconvenience both of you for a while but it worked like a charm and it broke the behavior to chew at that area permanently. Good luck!


Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at askakc@akc.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions we cannot offer individual responses. Read previous columns here.