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Top 10 Books For New Puppy Owners

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You just got a new puppy – Congratulations! Welcome to the world of puppy breath, adorable antics and 3 A.M. pee walks. The first weeks of parenthood are critical to raising a well-balanced dog for life.

There are a crop of concerns you’re probably stressing over. To crate or not to crate – that is often the question. Over the years, training methods have evolved drastically. Positive reinforcement is used much more now than it used to be. There is no ‘rubbing their nose in it’ or yelling anymore. New techniques and approaches can be confusing to new owners. Not to worry – these questions and many more are covered in our top ten books for new puppy owners. They’ll offer great insight into raising your new best friend to be a happy creature… instead of a furry monster.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books When Training A Dog

By The Monks of New Skete

In this book, the Monks of New Skete will hold your hand throughout the entire process of rearing a puppy. They help you decide what type of puppy to get, whether to adopt or get from a breeder, and stay with you throughout the training process. I highly suggest that this book is read before adding a new fur family member.

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By Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson

This is one of my favorite puppy-rearing books because of how well it’s broken down. Before even getting into training, this book profiles different puppy personality types and what to expect as they age. My Smart Puppy also covers in depth how to fix common puppy problems and holds the human accountable for their actions. The training is reward based, and easy to understand.

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Related: Kickstarter Book Exposes Truth – Puppies Are Dicks!


By the faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

This puppy book is an all-inclusive guide to raising a new family member. Because it is more science based than some of the others, it answers questions about what to feed your dog and what to do in a medical emergency. Training and picking the proper puppy for your household are also science-based in this manual. 

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By Patricia McConnell, Ph. D., and Brenda Scidmore

The Puppy Primer uses humor to help new dog owners understand how to relate to their puppies. This is one of the books I still find myself picking up after training dogs for eight years. No matter how experienced you are, McConnell’s insight is a great help. It can be common to have unrealistic expectations for a new puppy, and this book prevents that. It explains how distractions interact with a puppy’s learning development.

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By John Grogan

This is the book the blockbuster movie is based on! Introducing a new family member is never easy. Puppies can be little destruction machines, chewing and peeing on everything in their wake. People have this ideal of the cute puppy wearing a bow in a cardboard box, not always realizing that without proper training they can be tough little mutts. This book is not informational, but it serves to remind us that we are human, and they are dogs. No matter how frustrating it can be to find your favorite heels chewed up, we need to remember to be patient with our new pets. This book is a tear-jerking look into the love we have for our pets and how they are a part of our life’s journey. 

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By Alison Smith and Claire Arrowsmith

There’s no room for insecurities or mistakes when you know exactly what you need to do- week by week, step by step! Instead of giving you general outlines, this comprehensive guide is structured as a week-by-week planner that covers the first six months of your puppy’s life and beyond. I often give this one to complete newbies to dog-owning, as it really offers insight into all the important details. Clearly illustrated and full of useful advice from experts, this handy book will help you with everything from socialization and training to choosing the right type of diet and providing first aid to your new pet.

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By Sarah Hodgson

You might not be a dummy, but if you’re not new to puppy owning adventures, you’ll want this one in your personal library. I love this one because it’s very detailed and largely relies on the latest studies about canines and their cognition and behavior. This book doesn’t just tell you what to do but it also explains why you should do it, how to do it, and when to do it. It is focused on positive reinforcement and raising a loved, happy dog- and that’s something any new pet parent should strive for!

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By Cesar Milan

With the right foundation, you can build anything. Cesar Milan is a well-known dog behavior expert and trainer with an alpha dog philosophy behind his methods. If you’re a fan of the techniques and the results you might have seen in his TV show, then I’d recommend this book: it’s the same principle only tailored to the needs of puppies and young dogs.

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By David Brunner

This funny, informative read can be of help even way before you have a puppy in your life. I think it’s amazing that it covers all the factors that could help you choose the puppy’s breed as well as prepare you for all the ups and downs of being a dog pawrent. Honestly, this is one of my favorites because of the style it is written in- it’s so hilarious yet it offers some solid advice and useful information so you’ll feel more confident in your new pawrent role as soon as you get your hands on this one.

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By Sophia A. Yin

If you’re a visual learner, this one’s for you. With over 400 photos on 286 pages, this book will literally show you what you need to do to make sure your puppy is growing up to be a well-behaved pooch. In my opinion, this illustrated guide is a perfect match for novice dog owners that are completely new to training and canine behavior- it is a great starter book but if you already have some knowledge about puppy upbringing, it might not be detailed enough for you.

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