A Member Of The Family: The Ultimate Guide To Living With A Happy, Healthy Dog by Cesar MillanA Member Of The Family: The Ultimate Guide To Living With A Happy, Healthy Dog by Cesar Millan

A Member Of The Family: The Ultimate Guide To Living With A Happy, Healthy Dog

byCesar Millan

Paperback | September 15, 2009

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cesar’s Way and Be the Pack Leader comes the ultimate guide for living together with a healthy, happy dog. In A Member of the Family, Cesar Millan coaches you on everything you need to know about raising a dog–from the moment you first think about getting a dog–including information on:

• Selecting the right breed for your family’s lifestyle
• Establishing–and enforcing–household rules from day one
• What to look for in a veterinarian
• Proper nutrition
• Familiarizing a dog with another pet in the family
• Setting up exercise, discipline, and affection plans for your family and your dog
• Introducing your dog to a new significant other or baby

Packed with practical tips and techniques–plus advice from the unique perspectives of Cesar’s wife and sons–A Member of the Family addresses the most common issues and questions for dog owners.
Founder of the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, CESAR MILLAN is the star of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan on the National Geographic Channel. In addition to his educational seminars and work with unstable dogs, he and his wife have founded the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing f...
Title:A Member Of The Family: The Ultimate Guide To Living With A Happy, Healthy DogFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.76 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.2 × 0.76 inPublished:September 15, 2009Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307409031

ISBN - 13:9780307409034


Read from the Book

1A Match Made in Heaven: Determining the Right Dog for You and Your FamilyWhen eleven-year-old Jack Sabato first spotted the little male Pomeranian-papillon mix, his eyes lit up. “This one looks like Dixie!” he excitedly called out to his mother, the Academy Award–nominated actress Virginia Madsen. The little dog in the cage in the back of the van clearly reminded Jack of his adored but recently departed shepherd mix.Virginia is a valued client of mine. Several years ago, she called me in to help with Dixie’s issues of constantly bolting from the yard. Virginia was an ideal client who picked up on the concept of leadership right away, and Dixie turned out to be a dream-come-true as a family dog for thirteen happy years. Now that Dixie had passed away at the age of fourteen, Virginia called for my advice again in selecting the right new dog to add to her pack—which consisted of her, her son, and their aging French bulldog, Spike. This was going to be an interesting and important case for me. What if the family’s choice for a dog went against my own instincts? I could give advice, but it was, after all, ultimately their decision.Virginia told me she wanted a small dog. United Hope for Animals, a group that rescues death-row cases from both Mexico and Southern California, had kindly answered my call to bring up a van full of possible candidates for Virginia and her son to choose from. Jack immediately gravitated toward Foxy, the two-year-old male that reminded him of Dixie. Virginia preferred Belle, a female Chihuahua mix. I showed Jack how to present Spike—rear first—to the other dogs while they were in their kennels in the back of the van, to help smooth the way for an off-leash meeting. Then mother and son took their respective choices into the backyard, to observe their off-leash behavior, and to see how well they interacted with Spike.From the first moment in the backyard, Foxy’s energy became clear. Though he looked adorable—with bright, dark eyes, a foxlike muzzle, and soft, fluffy, reddish fur—his behavior betrayed him as an insecure, dominating male. Foxy’s first order of business was to take a thorough tour of the yard, marking his territory everywhere he went. For me, that was a red flag right off the bat, especially considering the new dog would be sharing his home with another male, Spike. If Foxy was to be the family’s choice, there were going to be dominance issues; and for ten-year-old Spike—a laid-back guy who had enjoyed calm, mellow golden years while living with Dixie—that would no doubt be a very stressful experience. Belle the Chihuahua mix, on the other hand, was curious yet respectful of her new environment. When Foxy spotted Spike’s dog bed on the patio, he headed for it and lay on it, wriggling on his back to cover it with his scent. Spike approached to become a part of the action, and Foxy snapped at him to drive him away. When Jack reached out for Foxy, Foxy nipped at Jack as well.But Jack was clearly enamored with Foxy. “I love the way he’s so affectionate with me,” he said. “She’s affectionate, too,” his mother said of Belle, “whereas he kind of bit you.” “Yeah, but that’s cool!” Jack protested. Foxy’s physical appeal and resemblance to Dixie were powerful forces in driving his choices. Jack was like most potential dog owners—deep, often unconscious personal needs were driving his instant attachment to this particular dog. “I like that he’s so active,” he said to his mother. “But is that right for Spike?” she asked him cautiously. “Are we getting a dog for you, or for all of us?” Ms. Madsen had zeroed in on exactly the right question. Getting a family dog should always be a pack—and not an individual—decision.Selecting the right dog is the first and perhaps most important step in creating the wonderful family experience of adding a new canine member to your household pack. Of course, many of you who own a dog have already gone through this process—some of you with great results; others, disappointing ones. Never fear; I maintain that nearly all common dog problems can be fixed—or at least, greatly improved—by those honest and dedicated owners who are willing to do the work to rehabilitate their dogs, and retrain themselves. In fact, if you do own a dog, you may be tempted to skip this chapter, but I suggest you buckle down and get everyone in the family to read it. First, it will contain reviews of basic skills and procedures I outlined in my two previous books and about which I talk often in my television show. Second, it will be useful for you in your attempt to get honest with yourself about the current state of your relationship with your dog. You can begin to assess which methods that you’ve been using have worked with your dog, and which methods have not. And you can begin to look honestly at your own family and family dynamics as part of the problem with your dog—but also, as the biggest part of the solution!After spending some time with Belle in the backyard and seeing how effortlessly she brought out the young pup in Spike, Virginia Madsen’s son, Jack, put his emotions aside and agreed that Belle rather than Foxy would be the best match for their whole family. I was impressed. It takes a lot of maturity and wisdom for an eleven-year-old boy to do what’s best for everybody, not just himself. I left the adoption certain that the Madsen pack was going to be just fine.Mortgages and DogsOne of the things I’ve learned in America is that when people are getting ready to buy a house for the first time, they make sure to educate themselves thoroughly about real estate. From knowing nothing one day, suddenly, potential home buyers will learn everything about mortgages, loans, percentages, APRs, taxes, and how much they’ll end up paying over twenty or thirty years. The adults, or whoever happens to be the pack leaders who will be paying the mortgage, usually make a very careful decision based on where they need to be, what they can afford, and what will have the best long-term value. Of course, there is always an emotional component to buying a house—but the practical aspects of it overrule the emotional. If the new homeowners make the wrong decision and get in over their heads, the consequences are dire for them, so they do everything in their power to avoid long-term disaster. When it comes to buying a home, most Americans truly understand commitment. But when it comes to adopting a dog that will likely be a member of their family from nine to sixteen years, it’s another story. More often than not, people choose their dogs on an impulse with no planning or logic. If they become unhappy with their decision, they know the Humane Society will always be there to bail them out—even if it is ultimately at the cost of the dog’s life.When people buy homes, they hire knowledgeable Realtors to help them navigate the complex housing market. I would like to be your “Realtor” in the dog world, to help educate you and your family so that you make a solid, conscious decision about the dog you want to bring into your life.Be Honest with YourselfMaking the right decision from the start may seem daunting. The best way to start is to make an honest assessment of your family’s lifestyle and energy level . . . even if that “family” will only be composed of you and your dog. Without an idea of who you are and what your own energy is, you run the risk of bringing an incompatible energy into your home. Why is unflinching honesty so important? Because you can fool many people about who you really are inside, but you’ll never be able to fool a dog. That’s because a dog doesn’t care about your clothes or your hair, how much money you make, or what kind of car you drive. All the dog cares about is what kind of energy you are projecting. Your energy—that is, your essence, your true self—will determine for that dog how to be around you. For a dog, there are only two positions in any situation: leader or follower. If you are showing your dog that you have what is considered “weak energy”—for example, if you’re tense, anxious, overly emotional, or insecure as a person—then your dog will automatically feel that he has to fill in the gaps for you in those areas. It’s in a dog’s DNA to try to keep the pack stable. Unfortunately for both dog and human, this approach usually backfires when a dog tries to take over and run the show in the human world. In my work, I see again and again how dogs form issues because of their reaction to their owners’ energy—and yet the owners have no clue how their own behavior is affecting their dogs. You can avoid this problem altogether by starting the whole process from an unflinchingly honest place. But self-honesty cannot take place without good information, and many of my clients have either no information about how to choose a dog, or they have the wrong information. And sometimes, the results of a “bad match” between human and dog can have devastating consequences.Self-Assessment GuidelinesThe first step in creating a match made in heaven is to call a “family meeting” of all pack members. If it’s just you, call in the help of a friend or family member who knows you well and isn’t afraid to be honest. Whatever your situation, please ask these three basic questions before you embark on the major commitment of bringing a dog home:1. What are our real reasons for wanting to bring a dog into our lives?The dog you choose will figure out those reasons, even if you aren’t consciously aware of them. For example, if two parents want to get a dog to keep a lonely child company, the dog may become so protective of that child, it causes problems. If a mom wants a dog because her kids are leaving the nest, the dog may pick up on her neediness, as well as her resentments toward the rest of her family members, and make them targets. When we make animals totally responsible for fulfilling our own unspoken needs, we place too much weight on their shoulders. Avoiding such a situation starts with a family meeting in which all these issues are laid out on the table . . . before the dog comes home with you.2. Is everybody in the family on the same page when it comes to wanting a dog?If the kids beg and plead and persuade Dad to bring a dog home, but Mom is resentful because she knows she’ll end up taking care of it, the dog is going to pick up on her anger and react accordingly. If a group of roommates bring a dog home but one of the roommates wants nothing to do with the dog, that may be a recipe for some aggression problems toward the “unfriendly” roommate. No matter what the makeup of your family “pack”—be it a frat house at a college looking for a mascot, or a retired couple looking for a late-life “child”—every member of that pack needs to be equally committed to adding a canine companion to the mix.3. Is everyone in the family aware of and prepared to take on the very real responsibilities—including the financial burdens—involved in caring for a dog? Is everyone willing to pitch in and take part in leadership as well as affection?Everyone in the family must be aware of the realities of dog ownership. That means everyone needs to be familiar with my three-part fulfillment formula for creating a balanced dog.Basics RefresherCesar’s Fulfillment FormulaEvery dog needs . . .1. Exercise (in the form of a minimum of two thirty-minute structured walks with a pack leader, twice a day)2. Discipline (clearly communicated and consistently enforced rules, boundaries, and limitations)3. Affection (in the form of physical affection, treats, playtime). . . but in that order! Though you may be adopting a dog in order to give it love, the reality is dogs need a lot more than love to keep them balanced. A good pack leader shows love by fulfilling the dog in all three areas—in the right sequence.Are the Kids Ready for a Dog?I don’t believe any child is ever too young to have a dog. Raising a baby around dogs is a fantastic way to communicate a love and respect for Mother Nature from the start, because babies have no issues, and they are very connected to nature. With older children, in my opinion, there is no best age to bring a dog into a family, but if you are going to try to make the dog a child’s responsibility, you had better know your child well . . . because even if you don’t, the dog will have his or her number.If your family includes a parent or guardian and children, you are likely to wake up one day and hear your kids tell you they just have to have a dog. It’s up to you as a parent to figure out if they’re asking as a whim, or if they are really serious. When a child sees a puppy in a window and simply must have that puppy, that is a child who needs leadership and guidance. It’s a classic “teaching moment.” Perhaps that first whim will eventually turn into a true commitment, but countless parents have paid the price for giving in to their kids’ “please” without carefully considering their decision—and its consequences.It’s very easy for children to fall in love with the way a dog looks on the outside. A child might say he is serious about having a dog and use as an argument that he knows what kind of fur he wants, what size dog he wants, what kind of breed he is attracted to. Of course, liking a dog’s physical appearance can be important to the process of bonding a child to a dog, but as parents, we need to teach kids about the next level of commitment. If you adopt a dog for your kids, but no one in the household is really committed to that dog on a deep, lifelong level, the dog is going to know. Dogs are the best lie detectors in the world.

Editorial Reviews

"[Millan is] serene and mesmerizing. . . . He deserves a cape and mask."
New York Times

"[Millan] arrives amid canine chaos and leaves behind peace."
—Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker