Book Review: How to Raise the Perfect Dog

How to Raise the Perfect Dog
Published By: Crown Archetype
Publication Date: October 2009
Page Count: 320
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Nonfiction

I wanted to read this book as I have just adopted a new puppy. I thought this would help me with techniques and tips for getting her to be a well trained, polite youngster. As it turns out, there are not that many real tips that I could use. Cesar wrote an engaging tale of his temporary adoption of four pups of different breeds. He wanted to try and raise well balanced puppies, so he wrote quite a lot about picking a well balanced pup in the first place. This was interesting to read but I think made his challenge less challenging. 

I imagine that most people would pick up this book for the same reason that I did. They might equally be slightly surprised that you have to read a good third of it to get to the point where Cesar brings home a pup at all. There is much talk of good breeders, selecting the right pup and so on, which would be valuable to someone thinking of buying a puppy, rather than to someone who is looking their new pup in the face! 

When I got on to the behaviour management bit, there were a few cool ideas that I picked up and knowing a bit more about dog psychology was great. I particularly liked his ideas about channeling the mother dog and thinking about her style of discipline. Cesar also made a good point about the importance of a well balanced older dog to a new puppy; something I don't have either! My main frustration was that his whole methodology revolves around having a zen like state of calm assertive energy. If you achieve this, then you are basically a dog behaviour Yoda and one look will keep you puppy in line. I think I am fairly calm and assertive, and I certainly have discipline and rules (being a strictish teacher) but that hasn't worked well for me. I also would have liked some diagrams to show exactly where an adult dog would nip a youngster to reprimand them. I tried his technique of doing this with the claw hand and my pup didn't even notice so I must be doing it wrong!! 

Either way, I found it interesting, just not as helpful as some of the articles and blogs I found online. A good book to read if you are thinking about getting a puppy, but this isn't really the "how to" manual that I thought it would be. 

From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel's Dog Whisperer, the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog. 
For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, says, "Yes, you can raise the perfect dog!" It all starts with the proper foundation in the early years. Here, Cesar tells you everything you need to know to create the best environment for a well-balanced dog in order to avoid behavior issues in the future, and shows you how to correct the most common behavior issues for young dogs. 

Based on Cesar’s own detailed experiences raising individual puppies from some of the most popular breeds, How to Raise the Perfect Dog is like having Cesar right beside you, as your own personal expert, coaching you and your dog from the first day of your life together.

Packed with new information aimed specifically at the particular needs of puppies and adolescents, and written in Cesar's friendly, accessible style, How to Raise the Perfect Dog answers all the most commonly asked questions and guides you towards a loving, satisfying life-long relationship with your best friend.

#1 New York Times bestselling author, Cesar Millan shows you how to raise the perfect dog and prevent behavior issues before they start, including:
• what to expect from each stage of your puppy's development
• quick and easy housebreaking
• the essentials of proper nutrition
• the importance of vaccinating–and of not over-vaccinating
• creating perfect obedience from day one through rules, boundaries, and calm-assertive leadership
• how to avoid the most common mistakes owners make raising puppies and young dogs
• how to correct any issue before it becomes a problem
• unique exercises and play to bring out the best in every breed


  1. I read this book when we got our shiba inu and found a lot of his idea useful, just not the implementation. Aversive techniques don't work on all dogs. We found that positive reinforcement and resource withdrawal was far more effective than prodding our pooch in the ribs.
    The crate training process worked for us though and what he says about patience is totally true. Once we stopped rushing and accepted things would take time, we saw much better results even if people thought we were mad waiting 30 mins for our new pup to stop being afraid of the stairs, and another 30 before we even got him to go up and down the stairs.

    Congrats on your new pup! Hope you post pictures!

  2. I agree on the patience thing. A lot of times I wait for Belle and its like I can see her thinking about things. She works it out eventually. That might be the bit I liked best about this book - in the wild dogs/wolves have to work stuff out for themselves; it IS a dog eat dog world!! LOL!

    Anyway, I took some of the philosophies from this book forward and Belle and I have found our groove now. I am the pack leader, and she knows pretty well that she follows me and I make the decisions. Until she meets another dog on a walk and then she's all "let me go say hi!".

    And here's a picture of her:

  3. Aw, a puppy?! How exciting :) I'm a cat person myself and I really like reading books like this for cats. Animals are just interesting!


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