Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog

ISBN: 1577314557
ISBN 13: 9781577314554
By: Ian Dunbar

Check Price Now


Animals Currently Reading Dog Training Dog Training And Behavior Dogs Non Fiction Nonfiction Pets Reference To Read

About this book

Very few dog trainers have not been influenced by Dr. Ian Dunbar's dog-friendly philosophy. In the 1970s, Dr. Dunbar sparked a dramatic shift in dog training — away from leash corrections and drill-sergeant adult dog classes based on competitive obedience and toward a positive approach using toys, treats, and games as rewards for teaching basic manners, preventing behavior problems, and modifying temperament. Before Dr. Dunbar there were no classes for puppies, very few family dog classes, and not much fun in dog training. His positive approach to training revolutionized the field, especially in training puppies.Now in Before and After Getting Your Puppy Dr. Dunbar combines his two popular puppy-training manuals into one indexed value-priced hardcover edition. In clear steps, with helpful photos and easy-to-follow training deadlines, he presents a structured yet playful and humorous plan for raising a wonderful dog. Dr. Dunbar’s guide is based around six developmental deadlines: completing your education and preparation, assessing a puppy’s prior socialization and education, teaching errorless housetraining and chewtoy-training, completing a socialization program of meeting strange dogs and people, etc.

Reader's Thoughts


A good book for people who want to have a fun happy dog that listens. All based on positively reinforcing your dog's behavior without resorting to hitting or other cruel punishment. Love your dog!!!


I don't have a dog, nor is one in the immediate future. But I will refer to this book should think about getting a dog. I heard Mr. Dunbar's TED talk in which he said that you can train people like you train dogs, which made me curious. Here's what I've gleaned:• Consistency is key• Set up the situation for success instead of failure• Positive reinforcement is a far better tool than anger or shameWorth reading and interesting.


Excellent ideas, especially the encouragement to strongly integrate all kinds of puppy-training into every day life. However, I do think Ian Dunbar is rather unrealistic and terribly discouraging. As I began reading this book, I thought this was IT, the Holy Grail of dog/puppy training. But I quickly realized that with my 9 week old puppy, according to Dunbar, I was already a total failure. Dunbar emphasis error-free house-training (and what new puppy owner wouldn't be excited about THAT concept?), except that this means that once your puppy urinates or poops in the house, EVER, you have now completely destroyed all progress you might ever make with your puppy and are at risk of having to have the dog sent to a shelter where it will be sentenced to death.Once you decide to just take Dunbar's perfectionism with a grain of salt, it's easy to follow many of his instructions and work extensively with your puppy, when you can, to teach new tricks, to play, to encourage compliance. I found the section on bite-inhibition to be particularly helpful. Dunbar emphasizes that the puppy MUST bite, and that the owner must work toward making it increasingly clear what level of puppy biting, then mouthing, hurts, and will not be tolerated. This is in such stark contrast of other advice I've been given, as a new puppy owner. Our vet immediately grabbed our then 9 week old puppy, said he needed to teach us how to discipline our dog, and gave her an alpha-shake by the scruff of her neck. The Petco dog-trainer-wannabe also pronounced as necessary her version of a "therapeutic grab and hug" by rolling our puppy over on her back, snarling "OFF" at her, while putting her hand in the puppy's mouth, holdng the bottom of the mouth, and shaking her. (Our puppy backed away into a corner by the dog food, and peed on the floor.)Dunbar encourages making it clear to the puppy what is acceptable in biting/nipping, by shouting "ouch", and stopping play for a minute or so. He does not recommend being highly punitive, and proposes that there is value in the puppy learning, very early, with baby teeth, what is "too much", and how to inhibit force. Dunbar strongly encourages using an entire arsenal of dog toys for chewing to establish acceptable items for chewing and off-limit items. Encouragingly, these methods seem to be working well with our now 12 week old puppy.Dunbar can be overwhelming, however, making puppy training seem like you might not only need to quit your job, but perhaps hire an entire platoon of servants to help with the work load. (Then again, maybe I'm just now tired, as we enter our 5th week of puppy parenthood.)

Vienna X

This book helped my husband and me tremendously when preparing for our first puppy, an excitable Boston Terrier. Dunbar breaks down the training process for you and makes it less overwhelming and more logical. He definitely seems to understand the canine mind and what ways work best to communicate with our favorite furry friends.Some highlights that helped us:* Crate training within a larger confined area* The joys of kibble- & treat-filled Kongs and other chewtoys* The need to socialize pups with people and other dogs--for a multitude of reasons, one being to help the pup obtain a "soft mouth" and learn that biting is badHouse-training can be challenging and not all dogs take to the same toys, etc. Puppies might take a few weeks or months to want to eat out of Kongs. My advice is to stick with the things you really want your pup to learn--whether it's eating habits, potty training, or cute tricks. Have patience--puppies take awhile to learn new things, just like human babies!There are different schools of thought with puppy training. Dunbar definitely sides with positive reinforcement and is not keen on emphasizing the negative by punishing dogs (which could cause the dog to fear you and make more mistakes). All I can say is, his techniques worked for us and we have a happy, healthy, loving dog and never have to worry about him biting anyone!


If you can get past the stern "do this or permanently screw up your puppy" tone to the book, the advice here is great. This is one of the best books I read before bringing puppy home, and I highly recommend this book (along with ones by Suzanne Hetts and Sophia Yin) for any novice puppy parent.

Tamara Ward

I recently got a new puppy and read almost every puppy book in the library. This book was THE BEST, most informative, most comprehensive one I found. I loved it so much I checked it out before, and after, getting a puppy. (Ironic, no? But true.) It's a great reference and I can't say enough about how helpful it was... and continues to be.


This has been on my to-read list for a loooong time. I didn't know anything about dogs until Faith was not a puppy anymore. (Poor Faith had to go through a LOT of mistakes.) By the time I realized this was kind of a famous book that I should read, I didn't have very much incentive to read it. Now I have incentive because I'm getting a puppy!To be honest, I was a little disappointed. There's some great advice in here and (I think) some not-so-great advice. I liked the parts about bite inhibition and the long-term confinement plan. The socialization parts are kind of opposite of the advice in the puppy CU book; I think a happy medium and an owner who understands her puppy are the best bet. I didn't really like Dunbar's attitude of ONE MISTAKE IN PUPPYHOOD AND YOU ARE DOOOOOMED! Of course, yesterday I came downstairs to discover that Faith had helped herself to a decorative votive holder that was on the dining room table and destroyed it. So maybe the fact that she peed on the floor about three times when she was a puppy did signal many more mistakes to come! (Actually, Faith's belief that anything in her environment is fair game positively punishes me to clean up after myself, which makes me a happier human. Sometimes we have casualties, though!)


A little too much emphasis on developmental dates. He makes you feel as if it's hopeless to start with a 4 month old puppy.


I loved how this book focused entirely on the reward based training model and completely frowns on leash corrections. I have found so many books where the authors want to have it both ways.


Very glad I read this before getting a puppy. With a few months left before we get our puppy, this is a well-written and very informative book about how to create a life with your dog. I wouldn't even say that it's about training a dog. It's more about how to create error-proof habits in your puppy so that you have a wonderfully well-adjusted and well-behaved dog. The book is broken into digestible sections and offers not only big picture advice, but directions for implementing the techniques. I plan to follow this advice very closely when we get our new puppy.


The best thing about this book is that it gives clear developmental guidelines and a training program for the first few months at home. Dunbar stresses that it is imperative to socialize the puppy with humans before 12 weeks, and gives ideas for how to do that (Throw puppy parties and have him meet 100 people). Second most imperative is to teach bite inhibition before 16 weeks (through puppy playschool). Dunbar gives some training tips, but I would have preferred more. In that respect, I prefer My Smart Puppy by Sarah Wilson. However, Dunbar's approach to housebreaking and fostering chew-toy-aholism is clearly described and is working well on my new puppy.


I just got a puppy for Christmas and this book is the automatic go-to when any problems arise with Chloe. I highly recommend this book for any new puppy owners because the advice is great!


Excellent, easy to follow book for new puppy buyers/owners.Not so great for experienced dog people, but that's not its target audience!

Barbra Jacobs

Wonderful book with a lot of great information. I was looking for a book to help me train my new puppy with positive reinforcements and was referred to this book by multiple sources. I was not disappointed!

Rebecca Grace

This book/author was recommended by our trainer, and so far, it's been very helpful. Simple suggestions like making sure I have treats in my pocket so I can INSTANTLY reward outdoor elimination have really sped up the potty training for our two puppies, and I like Dunbar's idea of starting the puppies out in one room of the home, and then waiting until they have gone an entire month without any bathroom or chewing mistakes in that room before adding a second room, then waiting another month with no mistakes before adding a third room, etc. My dogs are very food-motivated, so the positive treat training is working very well for them.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *