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Monks of New Skete
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The Art of Raising a Puppy

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,445 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews

he Monks of New Skete have been involved in every facet of dog care for over 25 years: breeding and raising German Shepherds, training dogs of all breeds, and counseling dog owners on the many aspects of life with their dogs. What sets their program apart is the monks' compassion, respect, affection, and understanding of canine behavior and how they incorporate that into t

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Published June 29th 2011 by Hachette Audio (first published March 20th 1990)
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This was my first reading of the updated version of this book.

I was first introduced to the Monks of New Skete 20 or so years ago. I had a dog at the time, but not a puppy, so I'm not sure why I read this book then (other than the fact I devoured any and all dog books as a child). And now I remember why they had such a profound impact on my relationships with dogs.

Unlike the conditioning training so popular today (positive methods rely on positive and negative conditioning) the Monks of New Sket
A wonderful book for talking about puppy behavior in the neonatal stages before owners generally get their pups and talking about the importance of an early upbringing. Excellent book also for some basic training information.

I am wary of some of their dominance-based suggestions for training however. Some of the specific suggestions they recommend including giving breeds such as German Shepherds or Dobermans a "cuff" to the chin if they growl at guests could be dangerous. As a veterinarian we kn
Jun 02, 2007 C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to raise a dog
Shelves: animal_behavior
This is my best reference for raising my dogs. The monks have aptly and appropriately emphasized the importance of both reading canine behavior and using praise and corrections that 'speak their language.'

For example, dog mothers do not correct their puppies by saying, "Now Spot, that was not a nice thing to do. I don't like it when you do that so you'll have to stop that, you hear?" This is something I've seen done way too often between human owners and their dogs.

Usually the offending pup (i
Oct 30, 2011 Lindsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Monks of New Skete breed, train, and raise German Shepherds. This book gives insights on raising a puppy from their perspective, which is interesting but their advice is incomplete and unrealistic for most of us living in the real world, and not in a monastery full of adults who know how to interact with dogs. If you live alone or do not have children, then this book might be helpful to you. The respect and reverance they show for the dog-human relationship is an important focus of the book. ...more
Sep 13, 2007 Stef rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogbooks
While I am okay with anecdotal evidence when training dogs, i found this book difficult to apply to what i need to do with my pup. My biggest pet peeve is doing an alpha roll on a puppy. Sure the dog may respect you, but it will be out of fear and resentment.
Feb 10, 2011 Dina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Enjoyed understanding how The Monks of New Skete raise puppies. The respect they have for nature and setting the best foundation for puppies is just remarkable. They take raising/breeding a puppy very serious and make the reader stop and think about, why they want a puppy/dog? Do you want companionship? Do you want only protection? Please just get an alarm system. Because a dog is so much more than that.The key is trust through play, discipline and time. There really is nothing as fulfilling as
Jan 02, 2011 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Even if you're not super into the Monks' training methods, there is SO much good information to glean from this about the stages of puppy development, the importance of starting out with a good foundational relationship with your pup to head off behavioral problems down the line, etc. I really like the emphasis on the fact that even when you're not actively training your dog, you're teaching him/her all the time, so you had better make sure you're teaching and encouragi ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I bought a dog! And everyone says this is THE book! And I bought a dog! And it's true this book is really great! And I bought a dog!

I'm a little excited.

The monks of New Skete are, like, dog GODS, and they raise German Shepherd puppies at their monastery. My dog is a toy poodle, which is very much like a German Sheperd but more wolf-like. (Never thought I'd be a purse dog person. But I live in 700 square feet! What am I gonna get, a malamute?)

So when I bring little Archy home from the breeder at
Jan 28, 2015 Angela2932 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, nook
I have very mixed feelings about this book. After being initially enthralled with the Monks approach, I started to think they were not as sweet-natured, Zen-like in their approach as I had hoped. They are more heavy-handed in their approach, with emphasis on choke collars, and Alpha dominance.

However, I did find some of their advice quite helpful, including the idea of using confinement and crate training for puppies, and their house-training schedule using the crate, being taken out, eating an
Since I have read many books on dog care and training over the years, I feel qualified to say that this is the best book ever on this topic. The monks of New Skete write really well, giving step-by-step instructions on the how to. Then what sets this book apart from all others is the inspiring focus and expression of the spiritual bonding that occurs between a dog and a loving owner. This companionship is what I seek and enjoy with my dogs. This book can show anyone how to develop this deep conn ...more
May 28, 2009 Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I either want a German Shepherd pup or a Monk of New Skete. These guys know their dogs! This book is a great review for those who know dogs and a thorough start for newbies. Although some techniques seem a little outdated, I was really impressed by the endearing approach the Monks take with dog training. This book helped me a lot with Mingus. (More than my uptight Doggie Kindergarten!)
Beth Lind
Feb 09, 2014 Beth Lind rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I got over the fact that this book wouldn't teach my dog to read, I really enjoyed it. The first half of the book is all about how a puppy is born and develops. There were several 'aha' moments as I read about each stage. Since I do not know anything about the first several months of my puppy's beginnings, it helped me to understand why Clementine has some of the socialization issues she has. It really isn't her fault. The last half of the book gave some great ways to train my dog, and mor ...more
Dec 17, 2015 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does a great job of exposing you to all aspects of puppyhood - from finding a good breeder to all of the training that needs to take place. The book offers a lot of good stories that resonate with the reader as well as quite a few tips of how to introduce your puppy to basic commands. It provides a nice list of exercises throughout that you can do with your puppy to build up trust and ensure you and your puppy are safe.

Unfortunately, while the book offers a lot of great advice througho
Lynda Beck
I didn't finish this book. My husband and I adopted a 4 month old puppy from the shelter; this book is really more for people who are purchasing a puppy from a breeder. It really starts instructions from the day the puppy is born, and makes numerous comments that the most bonding happens with your puppy in the first 4 months of it's life. A little late for us to be reading something like that since our puppy was that age at adoption, and also, in my opinion, not true. We have bonded extremely we ...more
Aug 26, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, if you're going to get a puppy---get this book first. Don't bother to read it from cover to cover but jump around. Of course, it does help to actually have read the whole book, but the order isn't important. Whether you begin with the case studies or open the book at the page where they give a house-training schedule (p. 117)---it doesn't matter. It's all good stuff.
The Monks breed and raise German Shepherds (for companion dogs) and have spent a lot of time observing dogs and raising puppi
Jun 22, 2011 margotreynolds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the philosophy of this book. Other reviewers have noted the alpha dominance and the discipline methods in this book. I appreciate both. Dogs aren't human. With our first Weim, now 11, we toed the line between dominance and gentleness. The result is a dog more socialized to humans than dogs, and whose intelligence makes her question dominance and commands. She is a wonderful dog. Over the years I've made it a point to be the pack leader, to borrow from Cesar Milan. I do think the scruff ...more
Alexandria Godina
So we got a beagle puppy and we named her Olive but right now the name Spaz' seems more fitting. This book was recommended to me and although some parts were really great and helpful i don't think the average dog owner could use the same techniques given here. This books also points to the importance of knowing the breeder of the dog and why rescuing a dog isn't a good idea- which i can understand- and Olive is proof why this isn't a good idea- but i also just don't agree with promoting that mes ...more
Matt Willden
Apr 30, 2013 Matt Willden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for those considering a puppy. Great insights into how to channel a puppy's instinctive behavior into a friendly, obedient, and confident companion. I found particular wisdom in some insights into how to "deal with" standard challenges such as indoor urination or excessive leash pulling. I learned that some of the traditional approaches I've seen in the past are counter-productive because they actually reinforce the dog's instinctive behaviors (rubbing its nose in it, getting into a l ...more
Lissa Schultz
Love the idea of monks raising dogs. Expect a monk's approach to be all things peaceful and gentle, and it is mostly that. Most of the lessons and suggestions are great, and these guys have years and years and dog's and dog's worth of experience. My issue comes when you think of the environment they have to work with. They live in a place built to do this. Sparse, institution-style living with a great deal of outdoor space, community centered with regular volunteers. What family home is like tha ...more
Penelope Stipanovich
I found this book extremely helpful in understanding the mind of my new pup. As a first time dog owner, I did not know the first thing about raising a puppy. The approach taken by the Monks of New Skate makes perfect sense to me. I followed their advice to a T and quickly potty trained my pup as well as teaching him the basic commands of sit, stay & come. I highly recommend this book.
Jul 13, 2009 Cate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book for anyone thinking of getting a puppy. Read it BEFORE you start looking for a fur face to add to your family, and read it again when you bring your little cutie home. I loved it! Easy to read and VERY accurate. Some of the techniques in here worked by the 2nd or 3rd try! I'm really looking forward to reading their other book "Being Your Dog's Best Friend."
John P
Mar 10, 2014 John P rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I thought the 1991 edition was the Seminole book on raising a puppy, the revised 2011 edition is better, taking in account changes in technology, veterinarian medicine, food, and training over the 20-year period from the first edition. I am about to embark on raising a new puppy, and this will be my guide as the 1991 edition was in the past.
Jennifer Baum
After reading Cesar Millan's book on puppies, this book felt dated. For example, they say to let your puppy ride in the car without a crate. Also to let her wander and sniff your entire home right away and watch from a distance. I strongly disagree with both points, and feel wiser from the Dog Whisperer's book. Start there and you'll have an awesome dog!
Jan 05, 2012 Shawna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a thorough book about puppy growth. I enjoyed reading before we got the puppy. But trying to read it during the puppy raising was too much. I would be reading about different stages than the puppy was actually in. I did not grasp the training system. We have since switched to a more praise based training.
Sep 12, 2011 Abby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Outdated and unnecessarily harsh methods of training. Time to move onto gentler and more effective practices, monks! My full review here:
Jun 08, 2011 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read this before I knew better, meaning before I knew about positive reinforcement. For its time this was an okay book but even the monks realized it needed to updated.
Renee T.
Sep 29, 2014 Renee T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was an informative book for anyone thinking about bringing a puppy into their family. It had some info about tests that can be done to help determine a puppy's level of aggressiveness, etc., so you're not just choosing one based on how cute it is.

It also had some interesting points about key time periods (measured in weeks after birth) in which traumatic events or lack of training can have a larger effect. Definitely makes you think twice about who you purchase a puppy from, since
Jorge Fecklesson
May 11, 2015 Jorge Fecklesson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent resource, with a grain of salt, that I will likely be retrieving throughout our current puppyhood. This book is packed with many good techniques and observations, from a very controlled environment. Excellent baseline measures, but the varied life patterns of modern households will require significant tweaking to fit; difficult to maintain the comprehensive nature of monks tasked with professional canine breeding and raising. Also a good baseline for those with German Shepards. I do ...more
Jun 04, 2009 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fauna
This is an excellent book on raising and training a puppy! It is written with the idea that training should be done in a gentle, kind manner but nevertheless with authority. It recognizes that dogs are individuals and that you must fit your trainin to your puppy's individual character. You must learn to read the character of your dog. Temperament testing is discussed. Brutal, hard punishment is not necessary to train a dog. Nevertheless, you must remain the alpha figure. You are the boss, not yo ...more
Nov 05, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book two years ago before purchasing my first dog. By the time I put it down it had sticky notes sticking out of it right and left and the pages were covered in little notes. So much good information. It has information about picking the puppy with the right temperment to you, breeds, finding a breeder, adopting older dogs, younger dogs, from the shelter, brining a new dog home. The list goes on.

The book is written by the Monks of New Skete who combine spirituality with dog training
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“Old tires and large clay conduit pipes make excellent, safe obstacles and tunnels for the pups to explore. They will play for hours with big cardboard boxes; clean, used, large gallon plastic bottles; old tennis balls; and squeak toys.” 0 likes
“If we look honestly at the way many people manage their dogs today, we are faced with a staggering reflection of irresponsibility and lack of compassion. It is difficult to refer to a dog as “man’s best friend” when more than six million unwanted adult dogs and puppies are euthanized every year. We are not speaking here of the humane killing of animals done out of a sense of responsible stewardship but of the massive human negligence that leads to euthanasia. For those who doubt the serious implications of this situation, a trip to the local animal shelter can be a real eye-opener. We recall one client who dismissed our advice about spaying her female shepherd, explaining she felt it was important for her children to have the experience of seeing puppies born. When we asked her how she intended to care for and give homes to the puppies, she responded that she really had not thought about it at all and that she would probably leave them at the local humane society when it was time for them to be weaned. We then asked her what value such an experience would have if the principal lesson her children would learn is that puppies are cute little playthings who, when sufficiently used, may then be conveniently disposed of. Fortunately, our questioning convinced her of her faulty thinking, and she left with a new respect for the implications of bringing puppies into the world.” 0 likes
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