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How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  4,316 Ratings  ·  414 Reviews
From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel's Dog Whisperer, the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog.

For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, says, "Yes, you can raise the perfect
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Three Rivers Press (first published October 6th 2009)
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3,5 Stars!
An easy, informative and actually helpful How To book exclusively for puppy parents. I have to admit that i was a bit skeptical after reading another book of his that had a few concepts in i wasn't very fond of.

But this one is great mostly for new parents. Filled with important things that someone who never cared for a puppy needs to be aware of and some interesting general ideas. I still don't like the idea of the "perfect dog" though.

All in all it's a good guideline, with a few sou
Eileen Kerrigan
Mar 14, 2013 Eileen Kerrigan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE!!
Please, please, PLEASE -- if you love your dog, do NOT buy this book!!,

You need look no further than the disclaimer at the front of this book to realize that that Cesar Millan has no business pretending to be a dog trainer:

"The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained in this book."

Hm, now what could you possibly do to your dog that might result in "adverse effects" (dog-speak for "get
Brenna Gorbatov
Jun 20, 2010 Brenna Gorbatov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I got a puppy in May, and started training her, all I could think about is "how can I raise the perfect dog?" That's when I started reading lots of books about dogs and watching the Dog Whisperer. I love Cesar's show. I found his work on the show to be so inspiring that I was compelled to get his book. Cesar believes in communicating with your dog on their level; to respect the fact that they are a pack animal and that they are first animal, then dog, then breed. He has a meditative approa ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Jdaniels rated it liked it
When my mother-in-law got her first Bassett Hound puppy, she decided she needed all the help she could get, and purchased this book. (Unfortunately, she only got half-way through it before the puppy ate it - True story) She then recommended the book to me.

Let me start by saying that I grew up in a house full of dogs (when I graduated college, my parents had 4 indoor Shelties), and am currently a dog owner. As such, I can thoroughly appreciate Milan's television show, and have applied some of the
I found some of the general advice in this book helpful. However, it wasn't quite what I expected. The idea of following actual dogs through their puppyhood is a great idea and seems promising--until you find out that all the puppies are from top-notch breeders and perfectly fit Millan's "calm-submissive" ideal. I know MY puppy certainly does not meet that ideal, nor is she from any sort of top-notch breeder, so it made a lot of the puppy-specific stories kind of useless. This book would be more ...more
May 30, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, animals
I love Cesar Milan - and I love his show. This book didn't seem to be as in depth as I would like regarding actually raising and training your dog. It seemed to be more of an overview, and it certainly didn't tackle some of the more common behaviors as I would have expected. This also would be a good book to read before you actually add a dog to your family as Cesar spends a good deal of time talking about how to pick out a dog that would be appropriate for your family's energy level. I was most ...more
Tim Weakley
Aug 06, 2014 Tim Weakley rated it it was amazing
I'm suffering a little of the zeal of the converted. With a new puppy in the house, and this book as a first treatise on proper dog rearing I believe Millan has saved me a lot of grief with his clear and concise explanations of what you should expect from a dog, and what they should expect from you. As I read along, and implemented his ideas I was able to watch how the new puppy reacted and behaved. In every case I was able to see the desired behaviour come through. It made for a very easy and r ...more
Dec 30, 2012 Donovan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having a dog as a child made me supremely overconfident in buying a puppy as an adult. Our half-beagle/half mystery mut, Mr. Tumnus, was revealing new and deeper levels of rage in me when he would steal toys from my kids, tear into the trash can, and pee on every cushion in our house. I only watched a couple episodes of "the Dog Whisperer" before deciding this guy might have the right idea. I was right. Cesar doesn't preach that dogs are people too, he doesn't coddle or humanize pets. In fact, h ...more
Brenda Christiansen
There were lots of words in this book. Words that I didn't want to read. What I mean by that is I was hoping for some succinct step-by-step advice on training my puppy but instead I got a lot of talk about how puppies grow in their first few weeks of life and how to select a breed and breeder. I didn't need any of that since I've already brought my new puppy home. I skipped a lot of those pesky words...but the parts that I did read were helpful.
May 23, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Puppies are fun, loving, mischievous, wild, mouthy, and energetic and have bladders the size of thimbles. Put in the work and in a year or so you will have a great dog. Caesar’s methods have been ideal for my last two dogs, so I am brushing up on training tools so the new one is a well-balanced, well behaved dog.
Oct 17, 2011 Absinthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book three days before our new puppy. I was able to read about 90% of it before she entered our new home. Because of this book, I was able to get both my excited little girls and my unsure husband on the same (calm, assertive) page. The techniques in this book are simple, humane, and common sense. Our little pup is doing wonderfully and I expect her to one day be the perfect dog!
Mrs. Europaea
I was expecting more. In How to Raise the Perfect Dog, Millan describes his success raising 4 puppies he hand picked- 3 from high priced breeders and 1 from a rescue, and he only chose dogs with an energy level he desired.

He doesn't go into great detail about what to do with a high energy puppy beside trying to get him into a calm-attentive state. While this is a reasonable suggestion, I would have liked to see more how to's than to read the wordy paragraphs about the background of breeders a
Loy Machedo

Loy Machedo’s Book Review - How to Raise The Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

Having 2 cute dogs at home, along with a sweet-loving-wife who watches ‘The Dog Whisperer’ almost everyday with total excitement and yes, a full-blast volume (with me covering my ears thanks to my over-priced ear-phones while on my PC), I just had to read a few instructions from the world’s best and most famous Dog Trainer – Cesar Millan.

About Cesar Millan
For those of you who do not know, Cesar Mill
Apr 20, 2012 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is probably 95% anecdotes and 5% how to actually train a dog. Granted, some knowledge can be gained from the anecdotes, but only very little. Knowing that the husband would hate this, I marked the pertinent parts of the book for him to read. I ended up just a few pages. There’s really little training in this book at all. For example, he states that you’re to make the dog sit after it jumps on you, but he never tells you how to make your dog sit.

At the end of the book, there’s a sectio
Jun 26, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is pretty good and helps you think of dog training in a way you may not have before. It really focuses on your energy and how your dog perceives you. It has some helpful tips on how to get your dogs attention, which is nice, but it doesn't tell you what to do once that stops working...! The book doesn't offer a lot of correction techniques. A lot of the solutions are "have a calm mature adult dog to help walk the puppy"- well, we don't have one of those! Or "don't use a leash to walk- ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a perfectly mediocre puppy reference book. If any prospective puppy owner read it cover to cover, they'd run for the hills and never get a dog. I've raised a number of fine puppies in my years, and I think this book does contain good advice and insight. That being said, however, many times throughout the book I thought the recommendations (especially surrounding adopting through a reputable breeder) were over the top and inauthentic. I've adopted four *human* children and each adoption p ...more
If you've watched Dog Whisperer before, there won't be much that's new. The main point is using calm-assertive energy to affect your dog's mental state, and by extension, its behaviour. Do this consistently and things should work out and you'll end up with a balanced dog. There are long examples, but I was hoping for more specifics on various types of problem behaviour prevention. Overall, it's good, but not impressive.
Jul 05, 2017 Liisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I skimmed through most of this book. The title is deceptive, as other posters have noted. The book concerns Cesar Millan's quest to raise several perfect puppies, which he hand-picks from various breeds and breeders, selecting only what he considers the "perfect" puppy of the litter. There is little practical information that can be applied to anybody raising any type of dog.
Apr 25, 2012 yoli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If half star ratings were allowed, I’d probably give this book 2.5 stars, because for me it fell somewhere between “it was ok” and “I kinda liked it”. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a horrible book or anything, but personally I don’t feel that I gleaned all that much helpful information on rearing the “perfect pup.” In this book, Cesar chronicles his experiences raising a few select pups, and sharing his experiences while interjecting his insights and tips. As a result, much of this book is ess ...more
Courtney Lindwall
Jun 04, 2012 Courtney Lindwall rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal Lovers, New Puppy Owners
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
This book makes me want to get a puppy so badly. Like, so so badly. I'm hoping to move into a pet-friendly apartment next year and maybe get a dog that I can take on hikes with me.

Cesar Milan's love for dogs is obvious and infectious. My favorite part about his books and tv show in general is that his skill and confidence makes me feel confident, as well. There are definitely a lot of tips in this book, although most of his advice boils down more to overall mantras and less to step-by-step guid
Jun 17, 2012 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book reminded me that there is often a large gap between "good enough" and "do it right" when pursuing anything. We evaluate tasks or projects with the tradeoffs in mind, of how much effort something will be against the projected returns. Raising a puppy is no different. In this book, Cesar shows us how much work you have to do to get a dog like Daddy or Junior. There is so much more to think about than I ever imagined! But I also know what it's like to be around dogs who aren't bal ...more
Jennifer Palmer
Eh. This was ok, I suppose, though I felt as though the first half of the book really should be titled "How to Choose the Perfect Dog". He spends an inordinate amount of time describing his process for selecting the four puppies he was going to raise as he wrote this book, and, while somewhat interesting, not everyone is starting with the (expensive!) purebred, perfect-temperament puppy.

The second half of the book had some more practical advice, but I found it too general. He states things in a
Sep 28, 2015 Shannan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's the thing - I love Cesar Milan. I've watched his show for years. I've applied his techniques to my own dogs as well as friend's dogs - mostly the calm, assertive energy component. I believe in it. It makes sense to me and comes naturally as I don't believe dogs and humans are on equal footing. Humans are masters, dogs are followers and they are happiest when treated as such. Applying human emotions to dogs doesn't serve any good. Applying dog emotions to dogs makes for a much better pet. ...more
Susan Melcher
Dec 21, 2013 Susan Melcher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Prospective and current puppy owners
Recommended to Susan by: search
Things I liked about this book: The way they integrated the stories of raising the different puppies. It made it very interesting and relatable. I also loved the way they used examples to show how appropriate attitude from the human can make the process so much smoother and easier.

Things I felt were missing: I felt like the book didn't 'finish' very well. Like, the puppies began to reach adolescence and suddenly they stopped. I also wish that there had been more suggestions on how to play in app
As a brand new dog owner, this had some helpful information, but was mostly a frustrating read. While I did receive some tips and strategies, some of the other major themes were that you need to start with a seven week-old puppy for any of this to be effective (not helpful!) and that we just need to show the right energy toward the dog to have them follow our every command (seriously, what does that even mean?) While I believe most of what he says, I think that people who are not adopting well-a ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't like the title of this book, but I wanted to get some different opinions on puppy raising, so I checked a few books out from the library to compare. Fortunately, I saw a lot of overlap with this book and the one by the Monks of New Skete. That led me to believe that these are well-accepted methods.

There was a lot of repetition in this book, and I didn't quite agree with his ideas of dogs reading our "energy", though I do agree that body language is very important. I got a few cool ideas
Jan 15, 2010 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always been a big fan of Cesar so I was excited to read this book. It didn't dissappoint. I loved it! It's simple and straight forward and I learned so much about dogs -- especially puppies and how to achieve the best out of your dog by properly acclimating them to your home. In addition, Cesar provides great information about the different phases of a dog's life and what to expect from each one. There's also a great section at the back of common problems and how to correct them. A great re ...more
Dec 10, 2015 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this right before I got my new puppy and I found it to be super helpful. I'm a big proponent of his methods and strategies and have always gotten good results with the dogs in my life. I flagged many of the pages that were more to the point (a lot of the book is anecdotal) so that I could refer back to them later.

This is an excellent read to prep you for raising a well-behaved puppy, from puppy selection all the way through adolescence.
Jul 28, 2010 Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-collection
Too wordy by far. Wanted some practical, solid advice. Instead got a story about how Mr Milan raised some dogs, along with a lot of other meandering self-congratulatory odds and ends.

Read Good Owners Great Dogs instead. Same approach, much more practical and without Mr Milan's gigantic ego.
Nov 17, 2009 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I LOVE Cesar Millan. He is such a great humanitarian and helps dogs and humans alike. I love that he doesn't hold the welfare of dogs (or any animal) above any human being, but teaches that pets are in our care and we are responsible to help them be fulfilled as the creatures they are. He has a kind heart and is able to help many people heal through their dogs. I believe this is why having pets whenever possible can be such a strong and positive reinforcement in the development of children.
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Cesar Millan is a best-selling author, public speaker, and the internationally acclaimed star of “Cesar 911,” as well as the original, Emmy-nominated host of the “Dog Whisperer” program. With “Cesar 911,” he brings more than 25 years of dog experience and his status as the most recognized and sought-after authority in the field of dog care and rehabilitation directly to communities terrorized by u ...more
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“All dogs are predators, but over thousands of generations, we’ve created sporting breeds to be exceptionally focused predators. All dogs like to dig and chase small prey, but terriers are superdriven to dig and find rodents. All dogs love to run, but greyhounds can run up to forty miles an hour, and huskies can run for hours and hours on end. All dogs have the natural ability to fight or wrestle with one another, but the bully breeds have been genetically engineered to fight to the death. The more pure the bloodline, the more that genetic “boost” will probably play a part in your dog’s behavior. That’s why some owners claim that their “mutts” make mellower pets, because, they theorize, their DNA has been somewhat diluted, and their breed-related drives diffused as a result.” 2 likes
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