We are getting a puppy! Well, my boyfriend and I are planning on getting a puppy. We’re trying to buy a house with a yard first, and that’s proving challenging. But someday. Hopefully soon. We both grew up with dogs, but this would be our first dog without parents and siblings to help take care of it. Also, I don’t think my dad used the latest and greatest training techniques. For my part, I’m pretty excited, and I’m taking my future dog ownership very seriously. And that’s why I bought The Puppy Primer (2010) by Patricia B. McConnell and Brenda Scidmore. So, months before we might be ready for a dog, I sat there and read the entire puppy training book. I’m sure I will have to reread everything when we finally get a dog, but it made me feel better to have some idea of what I was getting into.
The Puppy Primer was highly recommended on Amazon, so I chose it from the many dog training books out there. Because it looked like a practical resource book, I bought a hard copy, since I assumed we would be referring to it often. After reading it through, I think it will be very helpful. My boyfriend has promised to read it before we actually get a dog. The chapters in this book are divided into things you teach your puppy in the first eight weeks at home with you. The instructions are step-by-step and very detailed. For instance, sitting is one of the first things you can teach your puppy, and the book explains where to put your hand and how to move to get the puppy to do what you want. This follows with some stay, leave it, and beginning to heel commands.
In addition, there are helpful hints with potential problem areas, including house training and if your dog pees when it’s excited. The book also discusses crate training and the need to start with just a couple of minutes and make it a pleasurable experience for your pup. The question I have with this is: What should I do with the puppy at night? Especially the first night? You don’t want to just stick it in a crate by itself because that wouldn’t be a positive experience, but I can’t imagine you just take the puppy to your bed. I’ve found none of the books particularly clear on this point, and it may depend on your situation and your puppy, but I’d like some more explicit advice here.
Although the guidance in training will be helpful when we finally get our dog/puppy (we haven’t completely decided yet), the most interesting part of the book for me was when the author described situations from both the owner’s and the dog’s perspective. One was when a puppy found a remote controller to chew on, and how the puppy reacted to the owner’s negative reaction.
It’s too early to know how the practical training will actually go, but so far I recommend this book to others thinking about getting a puppy.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.