“He’ll be a friend to come home to, everyone who knows him love and adore him, and you will be proud that he is yours.”
Why did I get this book?
I bought this book on a whim as I saw it on a shelf in my local supermarket. I picked it up, saw it was published in collaboration with DKK (the Danish Kennel Club), and decided that perhaps this would be the last installment in my hunt for the perfect puppy book.
What does this book do?
This book is a puppy book and so it covers subjects such as house training, home alone, basic cues, socialising, and so on. Overall it is based on positive training and that is wonderful in its own right. It is written from a very human perspective that gives grace to the reader being just that: human. The author does a fine job of making room for human flaws in the process and even though some passages of the book had me frowning and thinking “huh? That’s not necessary.” I soon realised that if you actually follow the previous steps, the unnecessary thing will in fact be unnecessary and that’s just wonderful. So while I may not agree, I think that allowing the reader, who will usually be the average pet parent, the option to tell the dog no and walk away, while at the same time giving them the tools to not need to do it is far more empowering and motivating than other books I have read that will repeatedly tell the reader “don’t this and that” in every chapter.
Aside from the general training, you’ll find in most puppy books, this book also covers the development of the puppy and a brief section on purpose-bred dogs. Ideally, this is the book you get before you go get a puppy because it runs through how to pick a puppy too, which is a very valuable thing for the new pet parent. This book is as close to a perfect puppy book as I have gotten so far, and one of the most important components of the book is that it teaches the reader how to raise a puppy without relying on strict confinement and the potential risks for long term damage to the puppy’s mental health. This was something I expected as I picked up the book and recognised the author, who is from Germany where they don’t have a crate culture such as is commonly seen in North America and is slowly showing up in the UK, and it has been a steady requirement in my search for a puppy book to recommend.
What does this book not do?
Well, as mentioned above, the book has a few iffy phrases I’m not overly thrilled with, and this means that my hunt for the perfect puppy book is not yet over. However aside from that, the thing that this book will not teach you is to use excessive confinement and micromanagement of your dog – and this is a brilliant thing. It wouldn’t hurt Gwen Bailey to update her language a bit, so if you’re looking for a 100% force-free and perfectly phrased book (honestly, I haven’t really found that yet either), this isn’t it. But in all fairness, the methods described using the slightly aged vocabulary perfectly well to create a good guide for first-time puppy parents.
Where do I get the book?
The book I read is the Danish edition “Hvalpebogen”, but you can find it in English too under the title “The Perfect Puppy”. It is available in most bookstores, both online and on the streets.