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Customer Review

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even worth it AFTER you already have your pup, January 29, 2006
This review is from: Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog (Hardcover)
I'd recommend this to anyone who has a pup already (get it quickly!) as well as anyone thinking about adding a dog - also, get it quickly- before the dog, since you can. The "Before" part is a small fraction of the book, but valuable. Reading it before getting Fido would help you better understand the particular (and commmonly unknown)challenges training a dog entails, and help you choose a desirable breeder.

Reading the WHOLE book before getting a puppy would really help you prepare to become its owner and trainer.

Some have said the book scared them, or that it was unrealistic...and if making a mistake scares you, don't buy the book. However, if you can recover, and vow to try to do better, and realize your mistakes or inadequacies do impact others (or your pet), but realize and accept that you can still make things up- just with extra work- get this book. Dunbar doesn't try to scare folks, he just points out that mistakes can create bad/wrong impressions (in people or dogs) and these require extra work to correct...(in people or dogs).

He lays out developmental "deadlines" -just as children have sensitive periods so do dogs, and training in certain areas takes "best" during this period.

He provides non-traditional, positive, somewhat demanding methods for training your dog. By "Demanding" I mean he asks you to do thing at the start that are some work for you....in order to have a lower-maintenance dog later. Inviting (many different) people over to meet your dog to socilalize it is a lot of work, but if it means your dog doesn't bite the meter man or the neighbor's child, and does behave more like Lassie than the neighborhood stray, isn't it worth it to try? Your choice, of course. But he does warn you that you have a special opportunity when the dog is young that doesn't really come again. Take advantage of it!

Essential reading in my mind is the chapter on Bite Inhibition. This could save you much anguish if your dog is ever accidentally hurt...and help ensure that your sweet dog won't wound anyone in her anguish. Paying $20 for this one lesson would be worth the cost of the book in my mind.

Teaching appropriate chewing (from day one) is another literally "valuable" chapter. Our dear and well intentioned dog chewed through over $300 of merchandise as a pup. I thought Kongs were too expensive to buy at $8 each. I bought one, but didn't see any results. Little did I know that if used correctly (as the only accessible chewing object)they could have saved me a lot of $ and annoyance.

Dunbar's techniques work. We used a different trainer, and learned much, but I now see some things (besides the chewing)we missed, that I'll try to make up now using his techniques.

If you get easily stressed if things don't go perfectly a puppy might not really be a good idea. Dunbar suggests finding a mostly trained dog at a shelter could be a lot less stress for you. Some things still wouldn't be perfect, and you'd still have to do work, but but you wouldn't have so many fronts to work on in such a short time as one has with a puppy. Overally just remember, Dogs don't know what you want them to do just because you tell them. They don't speak English.

We teach them that they get treats or affection for certain behaviors so they learn to look for those opportunities.
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