Puppy's First Steps: The Whole-Dog Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Puppy


The new gold standard in raising puppies for the enlightened dog owner: a unique whole-dog approach combining health, training, and behavior

If you feel bombarded with conflicting advice about what to feed your new puppy or uncomfortable rapping her under the chin, if the idea of a choke collar makes you wince even though you’ve heard it’s the right way to go, here at last is advice you can trust—and embrace. The faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts ...

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The new gold standard in raising puppies for the enlightened dog owner: a unique whole-dog approach combining health, training, and behavior

If you feel bombarded with conflicting advice about what to feed your new puppy or uncomfortable rapping her under the chin, if the idea of a choke collar makes you wince even though you’ve heard it’s the right way to go, here at last is advice you can trust—and embrace. The faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, one of the most prestigious and pioneering veterinary schools in the world, now shares its accumulated knowledge and experience in this groundbreaking whole-dog approach to raising the healthiest, happiest, most well-behaved puppy possible.

The authors of Puppy's First Steps are singularly qualified to look at a puppy from all angles, physical, emotional, and behavioral. In contrast to a single breeder's or trainer's theory about what is effective most of the time, the recommendations in this book are scientifically proven to work. This integrative body-and-mind approach stands out from the one-size-fits-all mentality that pervades the dog-training world. And the advice here delivers not just during the puppy's first year—the most essential twelve months of a dog's development—but throughout the dog's life, ensuring a strong, happy bond between you and your new best friend for years and years to come.

Puppy's First Steps features:

* How to test a puppy’s temperament before you decide which one to take home

* The most nutritious, safest food for your puppy

* To crate or not to crate?

* Socializing your puppy with other people and dogs

* Easy-to-implement training methods based on reward, not punishment

* Housetraining in less than a week

* Overcoming puppy’s fears and phobias

* Keeping your puppy happy while you’re at work

* What to do in a medical emergency

You'll want to get your puppy off on the right foot, and now the best advice is in your hands. Comprehensive yet accessible, sensitive, and, above all, practical, Puppy’s First Steps is the only book a puppy owner will need.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is essential if you are getting a new puppy."

—Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

"Fascinating...Puppy's First Steps is a must-read."

—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

"Excellent and very readable...should be as essential as a leash."

—Andrew N. Rowan, Executive VP, Humane Society of the United States

"If you can have only one book about raising a pup, this is the one to get."

—Stanley Coren, author of How Dogs Think

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618663040
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/18/2007
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

LAWRENCE LINDNER is a best-selling collaborative author.

The CUMMINGS SCHOOL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY treats more than 26,000 cases annually, and its emergency critical-care program is the largest residency training program in the United States.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface Each year, 13 million households in the United States adopt a dog, often a puppy. They love dogs and, like you, finally make the decision to raise one and enjoy the special kind of companionship only a dog can bring.
The next year, half of those households surrender their young canine charges to shelters and pounds, where most of them are put to sleep. Clearly, there’s a gap between the wanting and the doing, a hole that needs to be filled.
That’s why we wrote this book—to get you and your puppy off to the best start so that you’ll enjoy many happy years together, developing the kind of bond you always hoped for and that your puppy deserves. Our experience has shown us that the first twelve months of a dog’s life is the time her owner(s) most need recommendations and guidance on health and deportment.
We’re in a good position to know—and to know what new dog owners need to hear. Each year, nearly twenty thousand people bring their dogs to see us at our hospital for small animals, providing us with one of the largest canine caseloads in the country, which in turn affords us an incredible opportunity to learn exactly the kind of advice puppy owners need and how best to communicate it.
We have among us some of the world’s most celebrated veterinarians doing the communicating. Housed in various facilities on our 585-acre campus in Grafton, Massachusetts, is a team of patent-winning, premier veterinary practitioners and investigators who combine practical clinical programs with cutting-edge research to bring together the best in health care and behavior.
Consider, for instance, that our nutrition faculty is often consulted by the pet industry in designing new diets for dogs—in health, in the face of disease, during growth, and during maintenance. Our emergency critical care program is the largest residency training program in the country. And we use some of the most refined equipment anywhere for diagnostic imaging of puppies, including an MRI, a spiral CT scanner, quantitative EEG, ultrasound, and nuclear imaging technology. All of these advances allow us to understand as much as possible about the conditions we treat. We also practice preventive medicine so that painful, debilitating, and costly diseases can be avoided, or at least attenuated, down the line.
But Tufts doesn’t specialize only in expensive medical diagnostics and preventive medicine techniques. We have also identified the best choices for general health care maintenance—everything from spaying and neutering to vaccinations, grooming, and flea and tick prevention.
Then, too, humane care of small domestic animals is our priority. Tufts is one of the few institutions in the country that study human-animal relations (we even run a bereavement hot line for pet owners), so we know what works for the best people-dog relationships. And we have a behavior clinic that’s second to none. Its approach is not hard-line or punishment- based. Rather, it is holistic, based on understanding, canine lifestyle enrichment, and positive reinforcement of desired deportment. Our experience has demonstrated that dogs behave better—and more consistently—when they are rewarded for their good actions rather than punished for their bad ones.
It’s a paradigm shift from the approach still put forth by a number of popular schools of dog training and espoused in numerous dog care books—even though that shift should have taken place throughout the training community a hundred years ago. At the beginning of the 1900s, psychologist Edward Thorndike showed that you could teach a dog (and a number of other species) a lot more by rewarding the right response than by punishing the wrong one. Positive reinforcement works more quickly and more effectively over the long term. Nonetheless, nine out of ten dogs whose owners bring them to us to help correct behavior problems have been through hard-knocks training in their puppy classes—punishment-based tactics using choke or prong collars, or worse, methods that were first employed to get military dogs to perform essential maneuvers during World War II and then, unfortunately, brought into the civilian dog-training arena. A lot of people bring their dogs to our offices in those very instruments of torture, meaning to do the right thing yet feeling bad about the pain they have been inflicting.
Owners don’t have to feel bad any longer. Punishment, aside from making a puppy anxious and miserable, teaches a dog nothing other than how to avoid punishment. There’s nothing learned about what goes into positive interactions between a person and a pup and how the two can get a mutually beneficial relationship going. In fact, once you begin with punishment tactics, youu have to keep punishing to keep getting the desired response, which only breaks down the human-canine bond even more.
The bottom line heeeeere: you can get a lot more out of a puppy with a carrot than with a stick. Thus, if hitting a dog with a newspaper, pinning him on his back, or bopping him under the chin as methods of training all feel wrong to you, your instincts are right, and you’ve come to the right place.
We’re not saying your pup doesn’t need firmness. But inflictions of physical pain are not simply “corrections,” as they are sometimes euphemistically called. They are abuse. We’ll tell you, instead, what you need to do to keep your dog happy as you teach him to be well behaved.
Follow our recommendations and your canine companion will go through life not only healthy and content but also easy to get along with—the kind of pet you like having around and that others will be well disposed toward, too. Good feelings from others will only enrich the relationship between you and your dog that much more. Your role will not be insignificant; proper puppy rearing takes commitment. But the return on what you put into the process during that first year will be immeasurable—for years and years to come.

Copyright © 2007 by Tufts University. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Table of Contents

A Note to the Reader ix Tufts Faculty Contributors xi Preface xv

PART 1: BEFORE THE PUPPY COMES HOME 1. How to Select a Puppy 3

PART 2: UPON ARRIVAL 2. Getting Puppy Settled In 39 3. Puppy’s Physical Well-Being: Preventive Medical and Health Care 55 4. The Best Puppy Diet Ever 81 5. The Socialization Period 102

PART 3: PUPPY INSIGHTS 6. How Puppy Perceives the World Around Him 117 7. Young Dogs and Young Children Under the Same Roof 135

PART 4: SIT! AND OTHER TRICKS 8. Training Your Pup 157 9. Housetraining 187 10. Nipping Behavior Problems in the Bud 200 11. Environmental Enrichment 223

PART 5: IN THE EVENT OF ILLNESS 12. Is It a Medical Emergency? 249

Resources 261 Acknowledgments 265 Illustration Credits 269 Index 271

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2007

    Sit Down Dodman

    I find it funny that this publisher tells Cesar Millian to sit down when Dodman 'the author' should. This is all backed up by science and normal behavior patterns, it doesn't mention breed type behavior. The book is written as though all puppies have the same behavior pattern. I would suggest the book puppies for dummies then Cesar's way when the dog grows older. I found the puppies for dummies very helpful for training and correcting bad behavior. Cesar's book is the prime example of how to be a good pack leader! This book is a waste of time and money. This book doesn't even tell you to show affection. Don't buy this book for the description the only one who needs to sit down is this author!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2009

    High regard for Dodman

    I chose this book as a guideline for raising our newly adopted Shelter pup
    because of my awareness of Nicholas Dodman and his body of work. Dr. Dodman is compassionate, and a strong advocate for positive reinforcement. There are all too many authors /trainers who use brutal or rough methods (choke collars, prong collars, yanking, etc.). Dr. Dodman states emphatically that such methods are wrong, and will backfire, and he has the experience to prove it.
    This book has good guidelines for developing appropriate schedules and habits for a fulfilled and well-adjusted canine family member.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2009

    This is the best book I have seen on puppy raising

    A great book that gives information on every aspect of caring for your puppy from choosing the pup to the car ride home and training and healthcare etc. It emphasizes positive reinforcement training and teaches techniques to the owner quite effectively. Instead of dominance like millan it emphasizes leadership.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2007

    It changed my attitude

    I found this book to be just what I needed to help in the training of my puppy. It gave me the confidence to take charge, be consistent, know that it's up to the trainer to lead the 'lead'. The book is humorous, well structured, and provides a user-friendly guideline. This was the right tool for a person who needed a shoulder to lean on during the training process.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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