Bringing Up Puppy

In five weeks, my husband and I will be adopting a Blue Picardy Spaniel puppy, initiating my first real experience with dog training.  Several weeks ago, I began perusing the numerous dog training guides in the OC Public Libraries collection, finding many that I feel would be valuable to new puppy owners.  

I chose first to read The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete.  For more than forty years the monks at the New Skete community have bred, raised and trained German Shepherds.  They have written several well-received books about dogs, and in 2011 published an updated edition of The Art of Raising a Puppy. 

In this guide, the monks discuss their positive puppy training methods -- methods which are designed to strengthen the bond between owner and dog -- in a very clear manner.  They begin with house-training, leash-training and establishing yourself as your dog’s “pack leader”, and then progress to teaching the basic commands such as “stay” and “come”, etc.  Discipline is also covered.  But this is not simply a training guide.  Feeling that insight into what puppies experience before  adoption is important, the monks spend time reviewing the early developmental stages of puppyhood.  They also offer tips on selecting the right breed for your lifestyle, grooming, feeding and the basic equipment needed for puppies.
I feel that The Art of Raising a Puppy would be an excellent starting point for any puppy owner.  The monks explain their training techniques in an easy-to-understand style, reiterating key points.   Photos of the training exercises, showing the correct positioning of dog and owner, augment the text in a helpful way.  The monks have decades of experience and use a research-based training program which coincides with many other dog training courses.  The book is also great as a quick reference, due to its comprehensive index and detailed table of contents.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, I have to note that I actually feel changed after reading this guide.  Woven throughout the text is a fundamental philosophy about the truly special nature of the dog-owner connection.  I am left with a new recognition of how important we are to our dogs, and of the time, love and caring guidance which we owe them in return.  I highly recommend The Art of Raising a Puppy to anyone who is bringing a new puppy into their life.


Anonymous said...

Wow! This book sounds great. This is one to add to my list of must reads. I agree with you about how important we are to our dogs and how important they are to us. It is a unique bond between puppy and owner! Great recommendation!

AM said...

Thank you so much for your response! Yes, this book has really opened my eyes. I had a dog as a child, and became "step-mom" to my husband's older (now deceased) dog when I first met both three years ago. Both were beautiful experiences, but with what I've learned from this book, I feel ready to embark on an even deeper, much more conscientious relationship with our new puppy. Hope you enjoy the book!

Jenn said...

I read this book when I first got my two dogs twelve years ago. They've turned out to be amazing, wonderful, loyal companions who are also incredibly well behaved and a joy to be around. I agree that the bok is a must read to anyone with a new puppy in the home. I still have it on my shelf, and may go read it again.

AM said...

Jenn -- thanks for sharing! It's wonderful to hear this confirmation from someone who has actually implemented the Monks' program.