The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete (1991, 2011)

The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New SketeIf a family puppy finds its way under your tree this year (either joining your household now, or as in our case, in spring) sprint to the store for a copy of this highly recommended classic puppy training book, recently updated and reissued for its 20th anniversary. The book was first written in 1991 by the monks of a New York state monastery with a breeding kennel. The monks’ approach is simple. Your dog is your companion, and it’s your responsibility to train your puppy.A well-behaved pooch doesn’t bark uncontrollably or jump on small children, responds to your command to leave that dead thing in the grass alone, and lies quietly even when you are eating at the table. So how do we get there? The monks take you on a step-by-step process of teaching your dog the five basic commands – sit, down, stay, come, and heel. They emphasise the importance of playtime as part of training, and provide helpful guidance on how long to spend training, how to deal with recalcitrant behaviour and the importance of the three-step correction – a firm jerk of the lead while saying No, repeat the command, and praise her when she obeys. Some of the tips I found particularly useful: Start housebreaking outside if at all possible. Train her to ring a bell when she needs to go out by tapping the bell yourself every time you go outside. Never use your dog’s name in a correction (that will be a tough one!) as her name should be a word she associates with pleasant activities. In addition to training, the book covers important dog ownership information on grooming, health care, dental care, feeding and troubleshooting misbehaviour. The new edition is revised and expanded, providing an updated perspective on everything from raising a puppy in a city apartment to a thoughtful discussion on the use of electronic collars. Definitely buying a print copy of this one for under the tree this year!
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