Saturday, January 14, 2017

Puppy Fever! Best Books for the Dog Owner To-Be

So You Want A Dog

Let's say you suddenly decide you want a dog, and manage to get everyone on the family on board, including the person who is destined to be the one who will be with said dog most of its life. Now what? Well, if you're reading this you obviously love books, so the next step is obvious - read books to learn all about owning and caring for your first puppy.

Books for the Puppy Owner To-Be

These are books for the new puppy owner that I started with, and they all complement each other.

This is a great puppy user manual that I picked up on Christmas. There are six chapters, each with Special Topics, New Exercises, and a Summary. The chapter topics are: First Things First!, Next Steps, Pleas Stop Doing That (Do This Instead), Play! Play! Play!, Raising Happy Confident Puppies, Adolescence and Other Quandaries.

The book is clearly written, with humor, and will build confidence in the reader. One drawback is that there are no illustrations.

Blurb Excerpt:
Trainer favorite! Engaging, humorous and easy to follow, the updated Puppy Primer is packed with positive reinforcement tips and tricks, special topics and more. This updated and expanded version of our best-selling Puppy Primer is used by thousands of trainers across the U.S. New dog owners love it because it provides clear and concise information that makes training effective and fun. It's tone is upbeat and encouraging, yet it is chock full of even more useful information that every puppy owner needs.

Dr. Dunbar is recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on dog training. He is a pioneer in positive dog training, and established the very first puppy off-leash training and socialization program. He has a mountain of dog training resources at his site DogStarDaily, and the contents of this book are available there as free PDFs.

The book is written with a wry sense of humor, and has a very straightforward set of do's & don'ts. Some readers object to the "strict" tone, but Dunbar is looking at the process from the point of view of someone who has seen way too many dogs end up in shelters and euthanized because of basic training neglect as puppies. There are a lot of photos throughout the book.

Blurb Excerpt:
Before & After Getting Your Puppy is a simple, practical guide for anyone bringing a new puppy into the family. In clear steps, with helpful photos and easy-to-follow training deadlines, Dr. Ian Dunbar, who pioneered puppy classes and a loving style of dog training in the 1970s, presents a structured yet playful and humorous plan for raising a wonderful dog.

Cesar Millan is a self-taught dog rehabilitator who became famous as the star of the tv show The Dog Whisperer. He has a lot of fans and also a lot of detractors, who think his "dominance" method is old-hat and cruel. I like watching his shows because he puts such an emphasis on changing your own "energy" before trying to calm down a nervous or angry dog. And his emphasis on first making sure that you are meeting the dog's primary needs, specially exercise.

Cesar's Way is a bit of memoir, and then it goes on to talk about different methods that dog trainers use. He interviewed and observed some excellent, well-known trainers, including Dr. Dunbar. That chapter is quite interesting, because despite how some dog owners think they are vastly different, they actually got along quite well. It's a good read, even for people who don't have a dog.
Blurb Excerpt:
Now, in his usual straightforward, confident manner, Cesar takes on the topic of training for the first time, by explaining the importance of balance as the foundation for a healthy relationship between you and your dog. In order to provide a variety of training options, he calls upon some of the foremost experts in the field to offer their advice so that you can find the perfect approach that works for you and your dog through a variety of methods.

Zak George has a Youtube channel with a bunch of very cute, very upbeat, dog-training video shorts. If you watch the videos then the book is probably redundant. He is a fan of Dr. Dunbar's and uses a positive approach. I enjoy watching his videos, and it's very helpful to see the importance of timing to communicate what you want with dogs.

Blurb Excerpt:
Zak George is a new type of dog trainer. A dynamic YouTube star and Animal Planet personality with a fresh approach, Zak helps you tailor training to your dog’s unique traits and energy level—leading to quicker results and a much happier pet.

For the first time, Zak has distilled the information from his hundreds of videos and experience with thousands of dogs into this comprehensive guide.

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