Saturday, April 16, 2016

A-Z of #Dog Rescue: New Kid In The Pack — #AtoZChallenge


Because of that space challenge we were talking about yesterday (over-capacity shelters, too few foster homes), rescuers all too often end up bringing a dog home. If you have no dogs, great; but what if, like most of us, you already have a houseful? Will they be okay with this new (temporary, or pseudo-temporary) member of the family?


I know many people have gone off Cesar Millán, but I love him. I may not agree with him all the time, or on every single method, but he's done the world a great service by bringing dog behavior into perspective ("I train humans, I rehabilitate dogs"). And he makes some excellent points here.


In rescue, you often don't have the option of returning the dog (return him/her where? to the street?), so if your own dogs don't accept the newcomer, you'll need to find other solutions... And that takes time. You'll need to be prepared to keep the newcomer separated from your pack—and be prepared before you bring them home.

Introducing a new dog to a pack—any pack, and any dog—is a thing best approached with lots of patience. And a sharp eye for canine behavior cues.


Yes, it takes some practice ;)

Some things you don't want to do:
  • Bring the dog in for the first time at night.
  • Keep only one of them on a leash. There's this thing called The Law of Equal Leashing (okay, I just made that up): leashing one dog while the others are loose puts the leashed dog at a disadvantage; s/he feels constrained, which might make him/her nervous—which might result in unnecessary defensiveness. (Victoria Stillwell talks about this in this video.)
  • "Let them sort it out themselves"... Lots of people believe in doing this, and all I can say to them is you've been incredibly lucky. (And your dogs rock.)
  • Pity the dog. Don't let him/her get away with bullying your dogs (or you) just because poor thing, she's lived on the street all her life. The key to harmony is to be clear—and consistent—on what you expect right from Minute One.

Here are some basics for introducing a new dog—rescued, foster, or adopted—to your home.


You can find Part II here, and Part III here. (Actually, if you're into dogs and their behavior, all this guy's training videos are worth watching.)

 ~ * ~ 


I apologize for the video overload... These guys know their stuff, and when it comes to dog behavior, visuals and action are really the best way to show it. Hope you enjoyed! Have a fabulous day off tomorrow (I'll be busy catching up on visits and replies to comments and next week's posts), and see you Monday!

28 comments :

  1. So often we, as humans, mean well, but we do it all wrong. Every last bit. We don't walk them after bringing them home from the shelter (I never have!). I'm so excited to get them home!!! (Wrong) We don't interpret their body language cues. Just all wrong.

    I love Cesar and have learned so much from watching his shows, but there is always more to learn!!!

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    1. Too right, Robin! I've never walked a dog after bringing them home... though, since they came straight off the street rather than from a shelter, they were probably too exhausted anyway. But still. And yes, we're so clueless when it comes to their body language. (And Cesar rocks :D )

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  2. It's so easy to get it wrong. I'm learning so much from these posts, although I hope I'll never have reason to put them into practice!

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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    1. I'm glad you're finding these posts interesting, Susan :) Thanks for the visit!

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  3. I love the beauty of dog communication! There is so much communicating going on and sometimes people are just clueless, especially about tail wags. Some people mistakenly think that if a dog is wagging its tail, he or she is happy, period. Nothing can be further from the truth. sometimes they are happy but there are so many tail wags that have different meanings. It's hard to understand them all at first and often you have to take the entirety of the situation into account in order to differentiate the meaning of the tail wags. Dog communication is a beautiful language.
    Really enjoying your series Guilie!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Excellent point about tail wagging, Michele—I might just use that for T, actually :D I was one of those clueless people that see a tail wag and think, How cute, this happy dog... until a (very kind, very patient) behaviorist friend showed me the error of my ways. And it wasn't that long ago, either...

      You're so right; dog communication really is a beautiful language. Thanks for coming by, Michele!

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  4. New kid in the pack. PERFECT! I was stumped for an N, so did the No Kill Shelters.
    I love your idea! Excellent. And Cesar Millan - I just love him! Him and the guy that does the Hope for Paws videos. I so admire both of them for how they can read the dogs and know just what to do.

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    1. I love Cesar too, Trisha... And yes, the Hope for Paws guy (wish I knew his name!) is awesome. Haha... I was stumped for N, too :D (Your N makes perfect sense, and I loved that post.)

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  5. I've always hated introducing a new animal. The old ones never like the idea. I've had a few who mixed with the pack pronto and others that no one really liked at first. I'll be watching the videos.

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    1. I hear you, Ann; new "kids" always upset the pack, and it takes a while for everyone to readjust and hierarchies to be reestablished.

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  6. I have been SO fortunate in this regard. Our alpha dog is territorial, but warm and accepting. Over the twelve years of his life, we introduced another four dogs into our house and there was never a problem. That was more because of the exceptional dogs than the ignorant owner ....

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    1. You'll get no judgment from me, Molly; for years I was also of the "let them figure it out themselves" school... And I got lucky over and over again. Until one day I didn't, and a dog paid the price. However (and no, you didn't hear it from me): yes, exceptional dogs make all the difference—but exceptional dogs usually belong to exceptional humans. If your pack accepts other dogs, it's not just because they're great dogs; it's also because of you, because of the energy in your home, the sense of abundance you've provided so that they don't feel threatened by a newcomer. You provided good leadership, even if you didn't know you were doing it. So much for luck, eh? ;)

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  7. What a great post! I really enjoyed the videos!

    We have five dogs and the old pack (rat terriers) have always accepted new dogs like they already know them. My son sometimes babysits a family friends small dog at our house, and they all get along.

    Shelly @ http://hangryfork.com

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    1. Glad to hear it, Shelly! As I said in the comment above, the human has a lot to do with it, even if you don't know you're doing it — so kudos to you!

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  8. Giulie, I was so excited to watch these videos BECAUSE WE JUST ADOPTED A RECUE DOG YESTERDAY AND WE'RE BRINGING HIM HOME NEXT WEEK!

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    1. Susan, I'm beyond excited for you! And Leo looks AMAZING! I'll be looking forward to hearing all about him when he's settled and life is back to normal (read post-A2Z :D ). Wooooo-hooooooo!!!!

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  9. I love Cesar Millan. I learnt so much from him, and a lot of it works! Ladoo (my dachshund) was much easier to manage after I followed some of his rules. And I'm learning so much from your posts. Thank you.

    Aneeta from
    How to Tell a Great Story

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    1. I'm with you, Aneeta; Cesar Millán made a huge difference in my life with dogs, too... He's really a wonderful person, and a wonderful teacher. And I'm so very glad you've found this series interesting!

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  10. Dang , I could have used those videos 2 years ago when I brought Lila home. She attacked my Jax and bit his face. I will never ever forget the look he gave me after she bit him. Breaks my heart! He was so excited to have a sister to play with and she was mean. They love each other now but it was tense at beginning.

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    1. Aw, Holli... I'm so sorry Jax had to go through that. It's such a shame that it takes tragedy to teach us... the same thing happened to me :( Glad they got along in the end, though. That doesn't always happen. They're good dogs. (And they've got a great human!)

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  11. This makes good sense, especially the part about one of the dogs being leashed whilst the other one isn't
    Debbie

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! It took me a while to figure that one out... though I can't image why :D

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  12. I missed this one.....I didn't know people are not liking Cesar Milan as much...why?? I always found him to be quite good. My Katie was a dog that liked to be alpha even though she was a loveable lab. When we brought Wallace in, he was so scared and untrained that he was in his crate a lot. I would let Katie sniff him and when I took Wallace out at first, he was on a leash to get him used to it plus his new surroundings. Wallace took to Katie which was so nice to see. Wallace had a hard time when Katie passed away.

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    1. Birgit, I'm glad you're still in Team Cesar ;) Yeah, there were a few stories about him not being so great after all (someone accused him of mistreating a dog), and you know how it is... people are always happy to discover clay feet on an idol. But no one's perfect, and—especially when dealing with something as unpredictable as animals—mistakes will be made. Let him who is free of sin throw the first stone, I say ;)

      It sounds like you did an excellent job with Wallace. I'm glad he and Katie grew close... Nothing soothes a traumatized dog like good canine company, and Katie's leadership skills probably made him feel safe. As did his human... You're a kind, kind soul, Birgit.

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  13. I've always been a fan of Cesar Milan's and love his tagline. It's so important for people dealing with dogs of all types to understand canine behaviour and body language. These are excellent videos. Thanks, Guilie!

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    1. Too right, Debbie! Glad you liked these :)

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  14. So the question I have is what makes one dog reject another dog? I would think they would be happy to have another of their kind.

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    1. You'd think so, right? Sadly, that's not always the case... Dogs, like wolves, are pack animals. Humans, like chimpanzees and gorillas, are primates. Social interaction varies greatly between our species. But, as I mentioned in other comments, with a strong leader everything is possible :)

      Thanks for coming by, Jeffrey!

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