Where we celebrate the noble nanny dog character of mythology, history and entertainment.

How to Raise the Perfect Dog

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through puppyhood and beyond
by Cesar Millan

Cesar Millan’s newest book, ‘How To Raise The Perfect Dog Through Puppyhood and Beyond’ co-written with Melissa Jo Peltier, documents the lives of five pups – Blizzard the Labrador retriever, Junior the pit bull, Mr. President the English bulldog, Angel the miniature schnauzer and Eliza the soft-coated wheaten terrier. The first four pups were raised by Cesar and the terrier was raised by cameraman Chris Komives and his wife Johanna.

This book is an extraordinary resource for anyone contemplating the purchase of a puppy. Cesar discusses the importance of finding a good breeder, and what qualities to look for in the prospective parent dogs. He explains why puppy-mill bred dogs come into the world with so many disadvantages and how to identify and steer clear of those puppies. He gives advice about how to pick the right pup for your family based on energy level, and this important information can be applied to puppies acquired from a rescue or shelter, as well as older pups or adult dogs. Cesar’s excellent advice is –

“As a good rule of thumb, I recommend people choose a dog with the same energy level or a lower energy level than their own. If they have other dogs at home, it’s even more important not to choose a dog with an energy level higher than that of the dogs or humans already in the family pack.”

Cesar thoroughly documents the puppy’s conception, gestation and birth. Every step in the puppy’s growth is covered, how the mother dog and family pack teach the puppies, and how you, as the adoptive family, can start becoming involved with your puppy before bringing him/her home. He spends several chapters explaining how to prepare your home and family for the new addition, how to make the first few days as stress-free as possible, and how to care for your new puppy. In all 160 pages are devoted to teaching you everything you need to know about puppies to set you up for a successful adoption. Learn –

  • what to expect at each stage of your puppy’s life
  • stress-free and effective housetraining
  • the importance of proper nutrition
  • vaccinations and avoidance of over-vaccinating

The next part of the book deals in training. Yes, he instructs you in how to train your puppy basics like walking on a leash, but he also teaches you how to identify your puppy’s strong suits – for instance Angel the miniature schnauzer had a talent for sniffing out cigarette butts in the park, so Cesar cultivates this natural skill hoping that one day Angel will be able to sniff out cancer in humans. And he tells you how to use play time to balance genetically-bred characteristics of certain breeds to reduce natural tendencies, such as the the bulldog’s inclination to challenge other dogs. You will learn how to –

  • establish rules, boundaries, and calm-assertive leadership
  • avoid the most common mistakes
  • recognize and correct issues before they become problems
  • use play to bring out the best in every dog

In addition, Cesar discusses the top ten most common problems, their causes and how to resolve them (which can also be applied to older dogs adopted through a rescue or shelter) –

  • jumping up on people
  • chewing
  • barking
  • nipping and mouthing
  • housetraining
  • not coming when called
  • digging
  • won’t walk on a leash
  • crying and whining
  • excited or submissive urination

The last part of the book deals with the challenges of adolescence, a time when many dogs are given away, surrendered to rescues, or thrown away at a shelter. Cesar prepares the new owner for the physical and emotional changes they can expect and how to navigate this time of the young dog’s life. He spends several pages discussing the advantages of neutering, dispelling myths about neutering, and concludes –

“I come from the point of view of wanting to prevent unwanted puppies growing into dogs that we put to death, simply because we can’t find homes for them. To me, this is a moral outrage, something that creates negative karma for our entire species.”

This book deserves five stars for it thoroughness in covering all aspects of puppy rearing, it’s enjoyable readibility, and it’s practical, easy-to-follow instructions to make your puppy adoption a calm and smooth experience.