Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog” as Want to Read:
Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  837 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 29th 2004 by New World Library (first published August 20th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Before and After Getting Your Puppy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Before and After Getting Your Puppy

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 28, 2015 Angela2932 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, dogs, nook
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 ...more
May 28, 2012 PoligirlReads rated it liked it
Good grief. This book is like "Scared Straight," only instead of targeting rebellious youths flirting with prison, Dunbar has his mind firmly set on scaring the crap out of any first-time puppy owner. One wrong move and your dog is headed to an early grave. Or if you're lucky, just severely maladjusted.

A representative passage: "If, on the other hand, your puppy is given unsupervised free run of the house from the outset, the odds are that it will be confined later on--first to the yard, then t
Apr 07, 2010 Peacegal rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I have good and bad news about this book.

The good is that this is my favorite puppy book I’ve read so far. The author advocates gentle and intelligent ways of handling Puppy’s misbehavior, rather than the painful or frightening correction methods advocated by other authors. He explains exactly why you should use certain training methods rather than simply taking a “because-I’m-the-expert” stance. The result should be a happy, well-behaved, confident dog companion. I was especially thankful for h
Bark's Book Nonsense
Sep 23, 2011 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
This book is a comprehensive guide to selecting, preparing and caring for a puppy and a must read for anyone considering adding a canine baby to their lives or for anyone who needs to housebreak and train an older pup from scratch.

The author tackles everything in a way that is understandable for even the newest puppy owner and he doesn’t talk down to you and has a great sense of humor about things instead. As an example he says if your puppy dog makes a potty error inside the house, you should p
Andie Murray
Oct 02, 2011 Andie Murray rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs, nonfiction
This was a good primer for raising a puppy, with good positive reinforcement training techniques. Dunbar is a well-respected trainer and seems to really understand dogs and how they think. However, I was irritated that Dunbar really never offerred any advice for what you should do if your dog does't respond the way his theoretical dog did. For example, he would say "hold the treat above his head and say 'Puppy, sit'. Your puppy will sit his butt down on the floor to get a better look at the trea ...more
Feb 05, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
Dunbar has some interesting techniques for raising dogs. But "puppy receiving all of his food from stuffed chewtoys or being handfed by people vs food quickly gobbled down "for free" from a bowl"...I'm not so sure but I will give it a try once I get my puppy.

The biggest one for me was Dunbar's socialization technique - "Your puppy must socialize with at least one hundred people before she is three months old. That's just twenty-five people a week, or four a day." Really?! Since that's before pu
Justin Podur
Oct 25, 2013 Justin Podur rated it really liked it
The most in-depth and indispensable how-to for the positive approach to dog training. Trying to use this book with a real (and wonderful) puppy taught me that I didn't have what it takes to raise one. Dunbar talks about the importance of crate training, bite inhibition, and socialization in puppyhood. I found I didn't have the heart to keep the poor thing in a crate, and I knew 100% that if I did not crate train him, he would end up developing all the problems with chewing up all of the stuff in ...more
Alika Yarnell
Jul 13, 2008 Alika Yarnell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with or about to get a puppy!
Recommended to Alika by: A random lady in a bookstore--thanks!
Shelves: non-fiction
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 pup
Jun 05, 2014 Tamara rated it it was amazing
I started off being totally scared when reading this book because the author kept saying the dog would be ruined forever if I messed up! However, he becomes more comforting as the book progresses and I like his straight forward, to the point approach. While there seems to be a lot to do, his checklists and urgency guides help a lot. I really, really found this book helpful- other puppy books are really wish washy in comparison. I think we will have a a very Dunbar trained dog! :)
Feb 23, 2016 Ren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs, dogs-training
This is very comprehensive, reasonably up-to-date, and for the most part scientifically sound, so it's no wonder that so many people recommend this book.

The author seems to be very extreme in his advice, saying for instance that you should invite 100 different people to your home, including 20 children, to give the puppy a treat while training them a handful of tricks and handling their mouth, ears, feet, tail, rear, and genital area. Only 25 people a week! I have to believe that he exaggerated
Oct 20, 2015 sylas rated it liked it
Shelves: pet-training
Sep 03, 2011 Craig rated it liked it
I love that Ian Dunbar made this book available for free on his website Dogstar Daily . The book is filled with practical solutions to problems new dog owners are likely to face such as house training, bite inhibition, chewing, separation anxiety and barking. He has some great idea to help your new pup quickly learn the house rules like keeping them confined to a small area, like a kid's playpen, when you can’t pay 100% of your attention to them and making sure they go out to the bathroom every ...more
Mar 20, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2015 Tamara rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2015
I have been waiting to review this until I saw how I can actually put Ian Dunbar's advice into practice. Initially when I finished the book, I thought it was really amazing and practical and full of good advice.

Now, two weeks into puppy ownership, I still think that but with a grain of salt. His advice is useful, but it requires a lot more dedication and time than a regular person might have to devote to training a puppy. Most of the situations are idealized and based on the premise that your p
Mar 15, 2016 Sherrie rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who is thinking of getting a puppy.
Two caveats however due to new info and updates since it was written.
1. He says puppies under 12 weeks shouldn't go to puppy classes. This is no longer the case. See the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's Statement at
2. He supports taking dogs to dog parks which now most trainers do not recommend - for why go to
It is now recommended that dayc
Jun 15, 2012 Sumiko rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
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
Rebecca Grace
Apr 14, 2011 Rebecca Grace rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
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 ...more
Deirdre Keating
Jun 18, 2012 Deirdre Keating rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
So far this has been my favorite, and the fact that most of this book is available as a free download means the author is more interested in spreading his ideas than just making $. I wish we had started heel/lead training as described in this book (instead we were so focused/eager to get him worn out, we just went for long walks regardless of how well he was obeying). I love the focus on soft-bite and training a dog to never put his mouth on a human...but I wish there were more specifics on how ...more
Jun 05, 2013 Dixie rated it liked it
Wonderful book but a little too fierce in some ways - I don't agree with the insistence on "errorless" housetraining (so if the baby is on the changing table and you suddenly see the puppy circling by you, is all lost?). I also have trouble with the idea that you must invite 100 people to your house to meet the puppy by the time it is 18 weeks old - the rather cavalier insistence that everyone can find 100 people to invite over sounds like the words of a gregarious man - what about a single woma ...more
Joell Smith-Borne
Jun 05, 2015 Joell Smith-Borne rated it it was ok
Shelves: dog-training
It tells you a lot about this book that in the back, in the recommended books and videos appendix, the author is behind the first 4 of the top 4 "Best Videos" and 3 of the top 10 "Best Books" (#1, #2, and #8). Dunbar might be trying to be funny with his tone, but I found it very off-putting--his approach is pretty fear-mongering, really. At one point he says that if your dog hasn't achieved certain benchmarks by the age of 12 weeks, it will never live up to its potential. As someone who picked t ...more
May 17, 2014 Victoria rated it really liked it
The last of my invaluable puppy books. I love how this one breaks things into 6 key goals of puppy development, which I have been working towards with my dog. So far, so good, and I definitely recommend this to anyone getting a puppy, or thinking about getting a puppy since it talks a lot about the before period as well (hence the title, though I didn't read it until after I had selected mine).
Jessica Horne
Apr 26, 2016 Jessica Horne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015_books
Insightful without being overwhelming. It changed my thought process and the way I view the puppy and the relationship instead of listing steps which I liked. Also has some good tips for beginners/first time puppy owners. I plan to get the next one - After you get your puppy.
Mar 20, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
So it's not like compelling literature or anything, but this is the quintessential guide to how to raise a puppy right. It has great advice and it harps on the importance of what needs to be done. Highly recommended for anyone getting a puppy!
Jan 04, 2016 Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great summary of modern training methods

Ian writes an entertaining summary of positive reinforcement puppy-training methods. I would recommend this to anyone getting a puppy, whether it is their 1st or 10th.
Oct 08, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing
Having grown up with dogs this did show me that some things i had learnt fro my mother were totally wrong & also taught me to be able to read the dogs body language a lot better which makes fir happier dog & human
Apr 26, 2014 Tegan rated it it was amazing
Excellent, easy to follow book for new puppy buyers/owners.

Not so great for experienced dog people, but that's not its target audience!
Tina Grove
Feb 12, 2015 Tina Grove rated it really liked it
Though it was a bit alarmist, had some really valuable information for starting off right with your puppy.
Stephanie McGarrah
Dec 02, 2015 Stephanie McGarrah rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, woof
I can see how this book could be useful for some and off-putting and irritating to others. If you are considering getting a puppy at all, I would recommend this book, but take the advice with a grain of salt. I decided awhile ago I wanted to forgo a puppy and adopt a slightly older dog (because there's already a cattle dog around here whose energy is equal to at least a few puppies, among other reasons), but I thought it might have some insight into slightly older pups as well. While it does hav ...more
Sep 13, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing
It might seem a little unrealistic to follow all of his suggestions (have 100 strangers come to your home to meet your puppy within a month?), but overall his principles and the way he explains them are excellent. By following these instructions, a lot more people and dogs could live safe, happy, fulfilling lives together.
Aug 24, 2016 Janet rated it really liked it
Great tips on what and when things need to be done to develop a well-behaved and well socialized puppy. However, there were many times while reading that I thought my puppy was going to be a lost cause because of missed deadlines and unmet goals. Now, I'm a little stressed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Power of Positive Dog Training
  • The Culture Clash
  • Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals
  • Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog
  • Control Unleashed:  Creating a Focused and Confident Dog
  • On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals
  • It's Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet
  • How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves
  • Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining in Plain English How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach Them
  • Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution
  • Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs
  • Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog
  • For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend
  • The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
  • How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication
  • The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training
  • Feeling Outnumbered?: How to Manage and Enjoy Your Multi-Dog Household
  • How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live with
Veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer, Dr. Ian Dunbar received his veterinary degree and a Special Honors degree in Physiology & Biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College (London University) plus a doctorate in animal behavior from the Psychology Department at UC Berkeley, where he researched the development of social hierarchies and aggression in domestic dogs.

He has authored
More about Ian Dunbar...

Share This Book