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on 19 May 2011
Ian Dunbar is a bit of a drama queen, yet despite this the book is packed with great advice. A kind, gentle and effective way to train a puppy.

The drama queen bit....Ian Dunbar sets certain ages/dates that are critical in a dogs life. If they've not got it by this age all is lost. Yet at the same time he rescues older dogs. Dune, who is featured in this book, is an older dog in training. There is a little discrepancy here!

Yet at the same time he makes the very valuable point that puppies take a lot of time and input if they are going to grow into great dogs. Don't get a puppy, leave it home alone all day and expect a faithful loyal obedient companion.

So if you can cope with the dramatic emphasis this is a really great book about how to prepare for and train your puppy. Follow his instructions and you will get a great dog. Just take the drama with a pinch of salt. For example he says puppy must meet 100 people by 12 weeks. Translate to mean "meet as many people as possible in the early days, of all kinds, types and in/on different modes of transport (bikes, skateboards wheelchairs etc) and your puppy will accept these as normal". Great, but don't take him too literally and panic because you have one day to go and you are only up to 86 people and puppy has not yet met a bearded man in a hat with a facial tattoo, or a tall lady with a wedding hat and gaiters on a bike, or.......
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on 29 March 2005
Buy this book!!!I have a wiggly 9 week old springer spaniel and i have bought numerous puppy training guides and books to help me train her properly. this book is by far the best.it gives advice on bite inhibition, people socialisation, puppy classes, car journeys, chewtoys, grooming, recall training...just about everything you need minus a dog!!!
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on 31 January 2006
I made the mistake of not buying this book before i got a puppy. Having read it, i am now trying to correct the things i have done wrong. With out this book as a guide, i think i would have been in deep trouble. Now my puppy is adjusting to family life and i can see an improvement, especially with toilet training. This book is money well spent.
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on 31 March 2009
Buy this book, ideally before you get your pup, but if not, as soon as possible afterwards. I bought this book well before our new arrival, and had the crate and pen already set up before she came. I didn't follow it absolutely religiously, however am pleased to report that our pup is nearly 10 months old and hasn't chewed a SINGLE incorrect thing, which I find astounding given the destruction we suffered at the hands of other pooches over the years! She is also crate-trained and always sleeps in her crate (with the door open now, and often with the cat for company!) using the crate as a 'den'. We occasionally shut the door on her to keep her used to it (handy for vet appointments if they get taken in). From thinking crates are cruel, I'm now a big fan, and can't understand why others having issues with their pup just won't try it. If we ever breed our dog, when the deposits are handed over for the pups, the new owners will be handed a copy of this book.
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on 28 August 2007
I have read many, many dog books as I have undertaken several courses in canine behaviour and training. This is the book I recommend anyone getting a puppy to buy. It's easy to read, provides practical information on training and is based on positive methods. If you're thinking of getting a puppy, or have one already, this book is truly brilliant!
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on 17 September 2012
This book nearly made me call a rescue centre and give up my puppy!

I found this book both negative and discouraging. Owners are informed early in the book that allowing your dog to make just one mistake can lead to years of poor behaviour. Ideas for schedules and routines are inflexible and (to my mind) impractical. Suggestions that you should lure groups of men to your house with beer and pizza or women with chocolate and wine, just so your puppy can meet them, are just down right silly.

We did try to follow the schedule and ideas laid out in this book as our vet had told us it was the best book availiable for how to handle a puppy. However, we found that within days our puppy was withdrawn and becoming quite unsocialised. Whilst we have used a crate to contain our puppy, the suggestion that for the first two weeks your puppy should be almost exclusively contained within the crate felt barbaric and resulted in our puppy attempting to bite us every time she was allowed out (as she had had no time to bond with the family) within such a tight schedule.

The worst part about this book though were the warnings that if your puppy hadn't done certain things by the time they were a certain number of weeks old this would mean that your dog would never be able to do them. Our puppy was a few weeks older than they usually are when they go to a new home and the scare mongering in this book literally gave me a sleepless night trying to decide if we should just get rid of the puppy now rather than risk having a dangerous and unsocialised animal near our child.

Thankfully I then read The Gwen Bailey book, which makes many similar suggestions and encourages you to do certain things with your puppy by certain times in its life, but it does it in a more encouraging and positive way. It also gives useful ideas as to what to do when things go wrong (unlike Ian Dunbars offering).

Seriousl,y buy Gwen Baileys book and forget this one!!
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on 18 August 2015
I understand that this book is trying to stress the importance of socialisation, bite inhibition and training a young puppy, but I think it does it completely the wrong way. I know a lot of soon-to-be puppy owners underestimate how much effort goes into socialising a puppy, but if I was new to puppy training and read this book I would be terrified!

There is so much emphasis on things you MUST do (eg you absolutely must get 100 people to come *into* your house and meet your puppy within the first month of getting them - um, I only know five people in this area!!), otherwise your puppy will be ruined and turn into a difficult to manage dog. These quotes show what I mean:

"some puppies are well on the road to ruin by the time they are just 8 weeks old"

"Allowing a single housesoiling mistake is a disaster"

There is also the repeated threat that if you miss any of the developmental deadlines he outlines in the book you WILL abandon your puppy to the back garden / basement, then surrender the dog to a rescue, and finally the dog will be put to sleep. I think there's even a quote in the book along the lines of 'sadly the majority of puppies fail to live long enough to enjoy their second birthday', and that they suffer from the "terminal illness" of being unwanted / untrained.

There *are* some good ideas and advice in this book, and it does go into quite a lot of detail...but it seems incredibly OTT to me, and I think the scaremongering is unnecessary. I much prefer The Happy Puppy Handbook for it's gentle approach. Whilst still stressing how important it is to get the first few months right, it also reassures you that you can correct mistakes.
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on 12 January 2012
Where do i start with this book? Its American/Canadian and maybe their ideas are different to ours. The concept of puppy training is sound but it doesnt answer real questions. How long before I can release my pup from her crate altogether? It doesnt say. How long before I can place my pups meals in a bowl and not a chew toy? It doesnt say.

There are lots of good points to to this book, but I found it too boring.
Its printed on cheap paper and there are few pictures, (mainly of dogs who have done well) its just mainly text, pages and pages of text which I didnt find easy pick up when I needed help.

Buy this if you need a good nights sleep.
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on 21 October 2006
I purchased this book as a present for a friend. He has since told me it was an easy read, with a lot of information he had never even heard of, prior to reading this book. The illustrations and layout are appealing. All-in-all, a worthwhile book to get, concerning what to do BEFORE, and AFTER getting your puppy!
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on 4 June 2012
I cannot recommend this book.

I read it three times when we got our (at the time) six week old puppy around eight months ago. The puppy was a rescue and came as a surprise into my life.

1) I didn't like the layout on the Kindle for Android.
The index is very confusing which is especially annoying because with a book like this you want to look up certain things later to refresh your memory. I find that very hard with this book. If you buy this, make sure to bookmark and take notes from the start.

2) The book is frustratingly specific. The author made the assumption that we all live in the perfect puppy world and does not consider exceptions (which in my opinion are way more common).
This way of being specific goes from picking the breeder and the puppy to simply being ridiculous by having the puppy meet (and interact!) with HUNDRED PEOPLE BEFORE IT'S THREE MONTHS OLD. I laughed out loud while reading that.
What you are supposed to do is invite twelve different people every week. The advice even goes that far that to give you tips how to trick your friends into meeting the puppy: "Lure men with TV, beer and pizza and women with ice cream, chocolate and good conversation.".

3) Some training methods simply don't work and the reader has to come up with his own ideas as there is never a plan B. I did find this very frustrating and look up training methods on youtube.

4) The books starts out well with useful information to prepare for the big day when you bring the new member of the family home with you and guides you well through the first couple of weeks in terms how to prevent and adjust certain behaviours, but falls apart later. There are sudden jumps between different development stages which can make it hard to follow the deadlines the book with.

5) You are screwed if you miss one of those deadlines. "By week six you puppy needs to learn this and this" but if you miss a deadline or you read the book later in the development of the dog it's complete useless and the book even goes so far to refer you to a dog trainer. Well, thanks for that advice.

The ground principles and general approach of the author are good and you can take certain things with you from the book, but from the practical side I find this book is doing a lot wrong, is unrealistic or is simply missing information. It might be a good read for the puppy and the family in a perfect world but for me mere mortal it wasn't a good read.
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