In this excerpt from Chapter 6 of Cesar’s book, “A Short Guide to a Happy Dog,” Cesar explains how to bring a new dog home.
This is the point in the process when many people make the biggest mistake, frequently out of excitement over having a new family member. They drive home, bring the dog out of the car and to the front door, throw the door open, take off the leash, and let the dog loose to explore her new home . . . and the poor dog has no idea what’s going on or where she is. It may look like she’s excitedly investigating as she runs from room to room, sniffing everywhere, but she isn’t. You’ve just thrown her into a completely alien environment with no direction, and these early associations are going to stick. The place is unfamiliar, it smells different, and there doesn’t seem to be any way out. If you have previously had pets in the house, it will smell like them, and your new dog will be uncertain about invading someone else’s territory.
The idea is that you slowly introduce your new dog to her new place, one room at a time, and you should begin with the room where she will find her food and water, making her wait until you have gone through the door and invited her in. Have her sit while you get her food and water ready. After she has eaten, she should be even more relaxed. Now you can give her the tour of the rest of the house, avoiding rooms you do not want her to enter.
Once you have completed the tour, it will be time for your new dog to meet each of the human members of the pack, one at a time. Let her smell them first, and don’t allow anyone to show affection until the new dog comes to them. Pack leaders do not go to their followers; their followers come to them.