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.)
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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!