I’ve been a dog owner for over a year now and I love it. It feels natural to look after the tiny, fluffy, living creature that I essentially keep captive in my house, but it wasn’t something that came easy. I was really worried – I had no previous knowledge of keeping or training a dog. Growing up, my family were more goldfish people!
As I like to do with any new project, I spent weeks researching what I’m supposed to buy, prepare, and expect. I think it’s fair to say that there is a lot of information out there, and everyone has an opinion. It was pretty overwhelming, so I ended up going back to basics and looked for a book.
After reading a ridiculous number of book reviews, I settled on the number one book for Dogs on Amazon (with 300 x 5 star reviews): The Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey.
It took me a couple of days to read it cover to cover, but I came out of it with so much knowledge and confidence in what was to come. The main questions I had were:
- What should I expect on the first night?
- What happens if he tries to go to the toilet in the middle of the living room floor?
- When do I feed him?
- How do I teach him what’s right and wrong?
- When can I take him for a walk?
The book covered everything I wanted to know and more. One of my favourite sections was the suggested routine, something I was quite worried about:
I didn’t go for the exact routine they laid out, but just knowing what was needed (a LOT of pee breaks) really helped.
I won’t go through the book page by page, but if you have a puppy and are looking for something simple to read to get you started, this is it. It breaks down all the training into easy chunks, and answers the stupid questions you’re afraid to ask.
Among the many things I took away from this book, two things stood out for me:
- It’s all about patience. Just keep at it and your puppy will get it eventually.
- Never punish, only praise. Dogs don’t understand why you’re shouting, so there’s no point.
A year down the line, this still holds true.
The book is also bursting with cute puppy pictures. This was my favourite, his little face is adorable!