January 20, 2012

Book Review: Cesar Millan's How to Raise the Perfect Dog

Trying to be a better poochie parent, I took some time to do some research on pets. I figure while I wait on the next stage of my fostering project I would take the opportunity to review some of the material I have read.

Not overly familiar with his show, The Dog Whisperer, I had heard of Cesar Millan. His book, How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond was the first book I had read on the topic of pets, and I was very glad that it was. Overall the book was easy to follow and had a conversational feel to it. There were plenty of cute stories and good advice to keep the book moving and helpful.

There are two disclaimers with this book. In an attempt to ensure he was conducting a thorough approach to dog rearing, he uses a pack of puppies of various breeds, from various locations to illustrate his points; so, much is made on these dogs background and their personalities and growth. Some will appreciate this more than others.  Second isn't really about the book, but of the author. Cesar Millan does not employ a completely hands off approach to raising pups. There is no harm or violence condoned to pets; he stresses positive reinforcement, but distinguishes his approach with a structure and discipline with which some are simply uncomfortable. In this book it really didn't touch on those ideas and I read nothing I found out of line. However, I have since read criticisms of his methods employed on his show.

This book is geared towards people who are planning on bringing a puppy into their households. If you do not yet have a dog and are thinking of adopting a puppy, I would recommend this as a crash course. Or if you just like to hear stories about puppies, there is plenty to entertain. However, if you are looking for the end all be all of dog training, have specific habits or behaviors you need to work through, or already have a full grown adult dog, there may be other options better suited to your needs.  Overall, I would highly recommend this book.


Would just like to say that the criticism Cesar has received over the years is because people mistakenly think he is a dog trainer. He rehabilitates problem dogs, and sometimes (he says) you have to be a stronger pack leader with a problem dog while rehabilitating it. His motto is "I rehabilitate dogs, I train people" so he's not a trainer, and that's why people freak out. I've met him. He is a wonderful person, and he would NEVER harm a dog. Dogs are his entire life. Thanks for listening.

I think that is an important point to distinguish. Thanks for taking the time to write in and visiting!

Thanks for taking the time to comment. You make an important distinction. I personally think we are all working towards the same goals, which is why I tried to frame the post as neutral. I enjoyed the book.

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