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Chelsea Handler's Dog Struggling With Arrival of New Puppy

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Chelsea Handler has made a career out of over-sharing -- but while not everyone is comfortable hearing about her sexual exploits, we doubt there are any complaints when she tweets pictures of her adorable dogs, Chunk (a Chow/Sheppard mix Chelsea rescued) and Gary (a Bernese Mountain puppy).

Handler is known for having an unconventional cast on E!, so it made sense to think Chunk and Gary could wind up as regulars on her new NBC comedy, Are You There Chelsea?

Mom quickly shot down that idea. "Gary can't even learn to go to the bathroom outside all of the time so he's definitely not going to be on TV," Chelsea declared. "I'm not going to reward him with a television cameo until he gets that down."

But what about Chunk? "We have to film the show in Burbank, which is the valley, and Chunk's never been to the Valley so I don't want to shock his system just yet. He's just dealing with the fact that I got another dog."

Like most senior dogs -- he was 7 when Chelsea adopted him several years ago -- Chunk is having a hard time coping with Gary's arrival on the scene. "Chunk's very very jealous," Chelsea admitted. "He's just thinking about me and where my attention is steered. It's the same with men -- you have to be very careful with dogs."

How To Bring a New Puppy Into the House

Chicago-based veterinarian Tony Kremer, has acknowledged that it’s typical for people with older dogs to want a second one that’s younger. “On the one hand, young dogs can learn a lot from older dogs in terms of housetraining and boundaries. But old dogs can suffer if the new one is simply too energetic.”

Kremer offers the following advice for preparing your senior dog for a new puppy:

Make it a perfect fit

“There’s no hard and fast rule like the dogs should be ‘this many’ years apart in order to live well together,” said Kremer, adding that some 3-year-old dogs act like 10-year-olds and vice versa. “It’s more a matter of knowing your current dog well and applying a little common sense.”

That means:
  •     Using what you know about your older pet to narrow the playing field in terms of the type of new dog you get.
  •     Paying attention to how your senior dog interacts with others on walks and at the dog park. Is it drawn to puppies or older dogs?
  •     Identifying the type of dog your senior prefers and seeing how it does with individual candidates.
“Try to isolate your dog and the prospect in a room so you can watch them interact,” Kremer said. “If it’s a good fit, they’ll get over their initial apprehension quickly. But if the younger dog jumps all over the older dog or either one looks irritated, move on.”

Your senior dog in training

Once you find the right fit, prepare your older dog for the new dog’s arrival both physically and mentally:
  •     Take your dog to the dog park to fine-tune its socialization skills – especially if it’s been isolated.
  •     Integrate activity slowly, especially if your dog hasn’t been getting regular exercise. “Give it daily walks in 10-minute intervals,” said Andrea Metcalf, a fitness expert in Chicago, “going up hills and stairs gently for strength training.”
Finally, if you plan well in giving your senior dog a friendly and well-matched companion, the benefits can far outweigh the risks, Kremer and others agree. “They’ll keep each other company, be more active, and stay in better physical condition,” he said. “And that can be a real positive.”  The most important thing is to make sure you care for the needs of your senior dog, while providing the proper training to your new puppy.   

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