Zoikes, We Got a Dog! Welcome, Barnaby.

Big news! My family got a dog today.

Listeners of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast heard me discuss my inner debate with my sister Elizabeth, about whether or not to get a dog. (Listen here.)

And then I talked about why I decided — yes, let’s get a dog! (Listen here.) In the end, as I tell Elizabeth on the podcast, I decided to “choose the bigger life” — a question I always find helpful when I’m having trouble making a tough decision.

We went to pick him up to day. He’s an eleven-week-old cockapoo. So sweet and lovely.  My daughters chose the name Barnaby.

We’re excited, and truthfully — well, it’s probably more true for me than for the rest of family — a little overwhelmed by the new responsibilities and the learning curve. Wish me luck!

And I’m racing through dog books. Whenever  I need to learn or even experience something, I want to read about it. Any suggestions, please send my way.

I asked for podcast listeners for dog advice, and got so many great insights and suggestions.

Many people encouraged us to get a rescue dog. I have so much admiration for people who do that, and I have several friends who have adopted wonderful rescue dogs.

In fact, for great memoirs on the subject, read my friend Julie Klam’s You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness and  Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself.

But I know myself and my family. For us to get a dog, we needed to know a lot about what to expect.

Also, many listeners suggested getting a dog who had outgrown puppy-hood. While I was out of town, my husband and two daughters went to visit some dogs, and fell in love with this puppy. So — eleven weeks old, it is.

I’ll report periodically on how having a dog has affected our happiness and habits. I predict that for a little dog, Barnaby will make a big splash.

Onward and upward! Advice, suggestions, and reading recommendations welcome!

  • OMG, he’s gorgeous. I’m sooo jealous! My friend has a black cockapoo and he’s just adorable. They’re such good natured dogs.

    • Sheira Greenwald

      Hi, Gretchen,
      Just signed up for Disqus to post. It has lots of different categories for streams. Which one is yours?

  • I’m a big fan of yours, but I’m disappointed in your choice to get a dog from a breeder. I think it’s a common misconception that rescue dogs are not predictable, or are all damaged in some way. It just breaks my heart to see adoptable shelter animals go without loving homes while breeders continue to make a profit.

    • Laurel

      Agreed!! It’s such a disappointing decision. Even if you were dead set on a purebred dog, there are plenty of them in shelters waiting to be adopted. Not that any animal is completely predictable based on breed anyway. It just seems, sorry to say, incredibly irresponsible.

      • Carolyn

        Really? The irresponsible ones are those who are randomly breeding puppies whether or not the parents are sound mentally and physically and then leaving the rest of us to clean up the mess they made. Many animals end up in shelters because their character traits do not fit, for whatever reason, with the adopting family. This is the family’s first dog. They do not need to start off with an unknown quantity. And by the way, a cockapoo is not a pure bred dog. Its a cross. But what’s important is that the characteristics of his parents are ones that the family feels will work best for them. Chances of this dog ending up in a shelter are pretty much zero. THAT is a responsible choice!

    • Teresa Rider

      Me too…sigh.

    • Anne Maria Remple

      I think she’s going to regret getting a dog at all, and particularly a puppy, but, you’re right, they should have found a shelter dog to adopt.

  • Jenya

    Awww. I can tell from the picture that Barnaby has a cute personality already. What a teddy bear he is! My only advice as one dog owner to another is that different dogs require different strategies. Much like people! You’re a good observer of personality, so just try to work with the animal you have. A shy sweetheart does not need prong collar training but may need a lot of early socialization, for example.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great advice!

      • Sheira Greenwald

        Hi, Gretchen,
        Just signed up for Disqus to post. It has many different categories! Which one is yours? Thanks!

        • Melina Andrew

          I’d like to know too, I’ve been a long time follower but only joined today.

      • Sheira Greenwald

        We crate-trained our dog. He enjoys his “cave” and housebreaking was much easier. Still, puppies have small bladders and have to go out more than once during the night. You may want to consider “wee-wee pads,” stocked by pet stores, if you live in a high rise. Wikipedia has a brief explanation of crate-training.

        • Melina Andrew

          I second the crate-training. Our dogs have lots of comfier places to sleep but they most often choose their little dens (crates).

  • Kim S.

    Please read anything by Dr. Sophia Yin, but especially “Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.” Wonderful way to learn about dog behavior and positive training. Which is about teaching your dog good habits through happy rewards – right up your alley!

  • Cate Tucker

    Barnaby, welcome to your family. I can tell by your sweet face that your personality will be lovable. Gretchen I was stunned at the speed of this acquisition, but I feel that I must give credit to your husband and girls; once you said, “yes” they ran out to dog shop before you had a chance to change your mind. I will say for the record that I pictured you with a red haired dog, just like you. I can’t wait to hear about the love, the trials, the crate training, and the walkies Barnaby and his new family will go on together.

  • Teresa Rider

    Boo…going with a breeder. So many unhappy dogs due to breeding..and many killed.

    • Jenya

      So weird to me that people would boo someone’s beautiful new puppy.

      • Teresa Rider

        If you saw the dead ones due to overbreeding you might understand. It’s not the puppy’s fault and purchasing a cockapoo which is a mitt even makes it worse. We just disagree. So not boo on the puppy personally but boo on lining a breeders pocket I am against making $$ on the backs of dogs.

        • Jenya

          I agree with your politics but not with your timing. This argument could be made about meat eating, leather wearing, even owning diamonds or cell phones. Not every venue is the appropriate place to push your views.

    • Leslie

      I just have to say that rescue dogs were bred too. In fact, breeding in the most natural way possible is often the cause of unwanted dogs who become rescue dogs. Breeding is also the cause of many dogs being born to be loved by families such as Gretchen’s. How is the world supposed to have dogs in it if NOT for breeding? I believe the cause of unhappy dogs is irresponsible people, not dog breeding.

  • Susan

    I am currently reading inside of a dog, and I really enjoy this book! It’s by Alexandra Horowitz. I have also really enjoyed listening to the podcast.

  • Aww how cute! We have a cockapoo too! 🙂

  • Christine O’Neal

    How exciting….congratulations on the new family addition! My husband and I took the plunge and got an 8 week old puppy back in January. My favorite book that seemed to help the most in the first few months was The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete (they have a pretty great chapter on house training and a daily schedule that works well). We had no idea that a puppy would change our lives so dramatically….while it’s a lot (A LOT) of work, it’s also pure joy. Have fun!

  • ErinInCA

    We have a two-year-old black lab, who we brought home at 9 weeks. My two main pieces of advice: Begin as you want to go on. So if the dog won’t be allowed on the beds, he’s not allowed on now, even though he’s an adorable puppy and may cry. Also NILF — nothing in life is free. Barnaby must work for every single thing. And at his age, “work” will mostly equal “sit,” but for our lab it can be a whole range of tricks (speak, down, rotate, through, play dead, etc.). Before he eats, sit. Before he goes out the door, sit. Before you put his leash on, sit. Etc. Bringing a trainer to our house for a few sessions was really helpful to get the whole family on the same page. The kids (ages 9 and 11) have also learned a lot from YouTube videos. Have fun and enjoy Barnaby!

    • Martha_Brettschneider

      I second everything here!

      • Leslie

        Add my second as well! Great advice! Barnaby is adorable…I’ve always said that puppies are like having toddlers who don’t wear diapers and won’t watch videos…But the advantage is that they grow up faster! 😉 The hard work you do now will reap big dividends within the first year of his life with you — and for many years after!

    • Diane

      All good advice!

  • Michelle Gennari

    Same here. Very disappointed. Happy you got a dog – kind of sad you went the breeder route.

  • Melina Andrew

    Gretchen, I’m not “disappointed” you went the breeder route. I’m sure you did your research and chose what was best for you and your family.

    Barnaby looks adorable, and your life will definitely be “bigger” with him in it! My only advice is to start as you mean to go on, and be consistent.

    There’s a YouTube channel “kikopup” which is great for dog training. It really helped me. Congratulations and good luck!

  • Melody Maynard

    He looks like a beautiful dog! It will be so fun to watch him grow. Lots of walks will help with his puppy energy 🙂

  • Martha_Brettschneider

    Congratulations on your new arrival! We’ve raised three dogs and have found the book “Good Owners, Great Dogs” by Brian Kilcommons to be very useful. (We frequently say we should write “Bad Owner, Bad Dog” Be kind to yourself — your productivity is sure to take a hit in the early days. Our puppy is 7 months old now and I’m finally feeling like I’m getting my life back. It’s worth it, though. And Barnaby looks absolutely adorable!

  • Nicola

    Hmm, I think the best advice here, is simply to have fun. Barnaby won’t be a puppy for very long, so take lots of pictures now. Also it might seem like training a dog will be hard work or take a lot of effort, but really it will be some of the most fun work you’ll ever do; you are effectively just spending time with your dog after all.

  • Companion Animal House

    Hoorah for your family picking out the best dog for YOU! Having read all of your books and most of your blog, I would place a sizable bet that when you say that you went with a breeder because you wanted to know what to expect from your dog, that means you did plenty of research and picked a great breeder as well as a great dog for YOU! Adopting is great (it’s where both of my dogs originated!) and so is supporting reputable breeders who have the interest of their dogs and clients at heart. Congrats!! I’d recommend Dr. Sophia Yin’s Perfect Puppy in Seven Days – it’s short, science-based and even has an adorable cattle dog like mine on the cover.

  • Jennifer

    Rule #1. Be Gretchen. Rule #2. Enjoy your new pup. That’s all!

  • Congratulations! Barnaby is adorable. Hopefully your breeder will keep in touch and be a wealth of information. While I always encourage people to think rescue first, good quality breeders love their breed and truly want their puppies to be cared for so don’t hesitate to ask yours questions if you have them.

    You might already know, but there are pet blogs too, lots of great reading there. Enjoy puppyhood, it doesn’t last forever.

  • Susan

    Congratulations! My puppy turned a year old last month. For the first 6 weeks after bringing her home, I thought I had made a HUGE mistake. She was so, so naughty! But she brings me SO MUCH JOY now. So if Barnaby wreaks complete and utter havoc for awhile, try not to be disheartened, worried, or regretful. Before you know it, the joys will outweigh the pain, until it’s almost all joy.

    • Barnaby is soooooo cute!!!

      Yes, this what Susan says is so true! I spent so long going “am I doing something wrong?” and “why is he driving me crazy?” I would take him out and everyone would say how adorable he was and all I could see was how insane he was. But the older he gets the less I think this, and the more joy he brings into my life. He’s slowly settling down and he makes me laugh so much! Having a dog has definitely benefitted me in ways I didn’t anticipate, but it’s also been challenging in ways I hadn’t thought of.

    • Melina Andrew

      This is so true. I wanted my dog for so long before I got him, but once I did I felt so overwhelmed, like I’d made a mistake. Wise friends told me to give myself time to bond… And one day it just clicked. My puppy shot up my priority list right up there with my partner (we have no children).

  • mom2luke

    I hope you’re happy. I was so glad Elizabeth said what I was thinking on your podcast. For someone who likes things neat and organized and likes to focus on her work alone and without interruptions, I think it’s going to be major adjustment. I WISH I were a dog person but you can’t be sure you’ll get an easy one and some are just way too much work. But you reap what you sow. I hope you love it and turn into one of those people who can’t stop talking about their dogs. (Basically all my friends. Yet I still don’t want one. Pity my kids but I knew I’d be doing the work myself and my energy is way too limited

  • ceduke

    Congrats! I work at an animal shelter, and I’m getting a ragdoll kitten from a breeder next month. Almost everyone I work with has a mix of rescued and breeder animals, and it’s nothing to let people get judgmental over.

    Enjoy Barnaby, and remember that the puppy stage doesn’t last forever. It will seem like forever at times, but I promise he’ll outgrow it.

  • S_ifat

    Agree. Let your daughter be responsible for the training. 15 min can make a lot of difference. If they will follow ‘kikopup’ on YouTube, they can do a lot with him. She had videos from puppyhood that are very easy to follow. Be patient, this is a baby we are talking about, he might cry and ask for his mommy on the first few nights. Try to ignore the “bad” thing he does, and positively reinforce with treats the good behavior.
    I’m so happy for your family! Can’t wait to hear updates.
    Oh and also, I’m a reading person too, but there are so many good books I know but I feel like you’ll be overwhelmed by them. A puppy is very much a hands on kind of experience. Learn a little and then try it with the puppy, you will find out what works soon enough. Good luck! Very exciting!

    • gretchenrubin

      So true – I read a lot of books, but thirty minutes with the puppy was far more clarifying!

  • Congrats Gretchen! He’s very cute 🙂 I’m a cat girl, rather than a dog girl, but love hearing your podcasts so look forward to hearing more!

  • Maggie

    Yay! Congratulations! He’s GORGEOUS

  • Julian Moseley

    Of course, the biggest thing with a puppy is the potty training. I read a lot of articles about it, but none of them stated the obvious – that puppies pee and poop soon after waking up, so taking them outside as soon as they start to move around is crucial. They sleep, wake up, pee and poop, play, then sleep again. This obvious fact only dawned on me when our dog had 7 puppies. Every couple of hours they would all wake up, come out of the box, pee and poop all over the place, play for 30 mins, then sleep again. That’s when the light went on over my head. Duhh … So the secret of successful potty training is catching them at the right time, and rushing them outside straightaway so they can do it outside, instead of inside. Pretty soon it will click with them. It is a lot of work though!

  • Anna in France

    Wonderful! Congratulations, Gretchen – a new dimension to the family….. We got a puppy almost 3 years ago, and I had never had a dog before either. It turned out to be such fun, and I know that now I will always have a dog. Enjoy!

    • Cate Tucker

      So adorable, hugs from across the sea to your pup

  • Stephanie CB

    Unconditional love…reinforced by a dog, always. I sometimes try to see the world through a dog’s eyes for better perspective. Congrats on your adorable new family member. p.s. They are worth all of the clean up, vet bills and poo breaks!

  • Judy Menzel

    He’s lovely. In the end you and your family had to make your own choices. And, you will continue to do so. As long as your hearts and heads are in the right places (and I know they are) it will all work out. I’ve found watching you go through this decision making process very interesting, insightful, and honest. Thank you and enjoy!

  • MaggieRose59

    Wow! I can’t believe the outrageous criticism you are getting here over getting a dog! Choosing a puppy, choosing the particular type. A puppy is a great choice, and not necessarily more work than a dog whose behavior patterns are already started or set. You can mold this one as he grows. Cockapoos are a great mix as you generally get the best of both breeds and they are very trainable (30+ years grooming experience speaking here). Yes, having a dog is a little extra work/effort/planning in your life, but he is going to enrich your life in ways you don’t anticipate. Plus, your girls are going to get a lot of life lessons from caring for another living creature. And I give a hearty third to ErinInCA’s advice.

  • Jen Johnson

    How wonderful!! I love the part about choosing the bigger life – your life will definitely expand!
    For books, I also heartily recommend The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete – a classic. They have a great section on scheduling your day regarding potty trips, resting, playing, feeding etc. Enormously helpful as dogs love a schedule.
    For advice, I recommend puppy kindergarten classes so that your puppy becomes socialized with other dogs. This is crucial for a happy dog-life in later years for you and your neighbors. It’s also a great way to ask an expert about any questions you might have that seem unique to you. Plus, there’s all those puppies! Bring your kids if you can.

  • Holly

    I recommend the book: “Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor”…..it gives you 8 methods for training the behavior you want ranging from negative reinforcement at one end to positive at the other. It then applies the same methods to training people! :-)….works with kids and husbands! Holly

    • s_ifat

      very good book

    • I wish there was a “Like” button on here!

  • May

    He is adorable! I can’t wait to get a dog myself!!

  • Elana Greenwood Lanzetta

    Congratulations! Our little black cockapoo, Rascal, that we got as a pup is now 15 years old and going strong! He was there through our girls growing years and has eased me into empty nesting. He’s had nails painted, wore dresses and if dogs go to heaven, he’s earned his spot by all accounts. We got him a little buddy about 8 years ago and it’s been awesome. Great choice for your family, such a wonderful temperment. Good luck on this wonderful new adventure!

  • Sharon

    Gretchen – I had to know exactly what I was getting into before I got a dog as well and I also chose a cockapoo! He is now almost eight years old and it’s been a fantastic experience! They are such wonderful dogs. He’s smart, fun, super sweet and clean! I couldn’t get a dog that shed and that is no problem at all – we just have to keep up with his regular trims because his hair grows pretty fast (he needs a cut about 3-4 times a year). He’ll bring you all lots of love – enjoy!

  • Becky Glinka

    Yay! I am so excited to hear your stories about life with a new puppy! I second the vote on the Karen Pryor book and will also recommend Pat Miller’s The Power of Positive Dog Training (http://www.amazon.com/Power-Positive-Dog-Training/dp/0470241845/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441810460&sr=8-1&keywords=pat+miller). With getting a puppy, you have a great opportunity to shape a fantastic canine citizen who is well-behaved and fits perfectly with your family. Make sure to give your puppy plenty of life experiences at as young an age as possible. Have lots of people over. Have him meet other dog friendly dogs. Take him to the vet a few extra times. You want a well-adjusted dog. Do you want your dog to travel with you? Start him early and you’ll have a great traveller. Lots of work early on will ultimately pay off and make less work later. Good luck with new habits for you and Barnaby (a clean slate for him!). 🙂

  • Nancy M. Forbes

    Congrats … enjoy! I highly recommend ‘The Art of Raising a Puppy’ by Monks of New Skete. Also, find an obedience school that will explain the hierarchy of your dog’s place in your family. It will be invaluable to ALL OF YOU to he 😉

  • kjh

    “Inside of a Dog” by Alexandra Horowitz. It really helped to see my dog as itself, and not an anthropomorphized version of a dog.

  • Marci

    We have two dogs – one we picked and one we adopted when my dad could no longer care for him. I wanted to go the rescue route for our first dog, but like you, we ultimately decided to go with a breeder. My kids were 4 and 6 and I didn’t want to worry about problems or ever have to give the dog up.

    * Establish yourself as the alpha dog. Dogs don’t view the world as a democracy, but as a pack with a leader. Our dog was aggressive as a puppy until I learned how to establish dominance.
    * Involve your entire family in feeding and care. I agreed to get our dog on the condition that I never had to pick up poop in our yard. 12 years later, I haven’t.
    * Be consistent.
    * Don’t let a puppy do anything you don’t want him/her to do as an adult. It might be cute for a 5 pound dog to leap onto you when you come home, but it’s not as fun when he’s 75 pounds.

    Our dog(s) bond us as a family. We walked together every night once we got our first dog. Our dog has also been our good will ambassador — we got to know our neighbors because they came up to talk to our dog! 🙂

  • Debra

    So happy for you and your family and for Barnaby! To me, life is too short not to have a dog. When your new puppy is testing your energy, your patience, whatever…remember that everything is a phase. With your good training, he will learn and mature–just like human kids. 🙂

  • caroline

    Congrats! We got an 8 week old Cockapoo back in February from a reputable breeder! (We also went the breeder route as we wanted a puppy, wanted to know where it was coming from/history, and no cockapoo puppies could be found at any of our nearby shelters/rescues)
    Our pup is almost 10 months..and I’ll tell you..Cockapoos are SMART. He’s now house-trained with an occasional oops., knows basic commands (sit, down, roll over, paw, get out of there -closet, etc.) and is a friendly little guy. We make sure to socialize him with other dogs (either at a dog park or with our friend’s dogs) and give him enough play time. They are social cuddlers and love to be with kids/people/dogs so too much alone time can make them seem sad. He loves people so much we’re still working on teaching him not to jump up and say hello to everyone. We also put him in puppy kindergarten and he’s now in Obedience Classes, and excels at school (sometimes at home!)
    When we work from home, he loves to sit by my feet and nap, so I’m sure you will enjoy his company here too! Good Luck!

  • Olivia

    Congratulations! I, too, wanted to read everything about dogs when I got my puppy (11 years ago now). The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell was my favorite, by far.

    • agree! Patricia McConnell’s books are excellent!

    • Yes, read everything by Patrica McConnell as well. The Other End of the Leash is my fave!

  • Kristin in Southern California

    Congrats! The best advice anyone ever gave me in regards to raising a dog was a professor I had in college who was a part time dog breeder. He said “it’s funny, the more you train your dog, the more you love him”. Which I found to be very true.

  • Kelly in Atlanta

    Hi Gretchen. How adorable! So glad to see you solved one problem that would have driven you crazy by getting a breed that doesn’t shed. The key for you is going to be proper training especially living in the city. I really researched training facilities when we got our dog because there are many philosophies to training. And crate training is a must. I’m like you and read a ton of books. My favorite dog blog is by Jon Katz. He’s written many books on dogs and his blog is bedlamfarm.com. Good luck with this new adventure and I love that you chose the bigger life. Reminds me to think that way more often. Love the podcast too.

  • Betsy in Michigan

    You must read anything by Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. I believe he has a book on raising a puppy. Watch his tv shows also. He is a genius on how to understand dogs and how to be a pack leader. His motto is exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order. It works! You are going to LOVE being a dog owner. There is nothing like a dog in the room. It is a beautiful thing. And I LOVE Barnaby…a doll of a dog. Our Ella looks similar, but being a rescue we are not sure of her mix. ENJOY your new puppy. HAPPY for you and the girls and your husband.

    • gretchenrubin


  • Cheryl Black

    What a cutie! And I generally don’t care for small dogs.:) Two great books: Shaping Success and Ruff Love both by Susan Garrett. Also check out her blog and put yourself on the list to be notified when her Puppy Peaks program While she has trained many world champion agility dogs her first concern is creating a great family pet that can be full of joy and in turn bring you joy. The process is based on positive reinforcement training (don’t mistake that for permissiveness). And while it is very hard work in the beginning since you are having to learn a new way to think and handle challenges, in the long run you will be so happy you followed her advice. Now, as Susan would say, “Go play with your dog!” Have fun, laugh at mistakes (they are information for future training) and never forget the joy!

  • Amy O.

    I recommend the book “Don’t Shoot the Dog!” to all pet owners. It is a short fun read that will help you train your puppy in the kindest way. Your daughters should read it too. They will have fun training tricks!

  • Andrew McCrea

    Great choice! They really do add a lot to the life of a family. As far as training there is one book I’d recommend beyond all others. Don’t let the “Sporting Dog” description mislead you. While there’s certainly a lot of info on training a traditional retriever the basic training style (which is all positive reinforcement based, no negative stimulus) is fantastic and Mike Stewart really breaks down the process well. The book is called “Sporting Dog and Retriever Training: The Wildrose Way” Here’s a link for Amazon (no afflilate) http://www.amazon.com/Sporting-Dog-Retriever-Training-Gentlemans/dp/0789324466/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441840032&sr=1-1&keywords=the+wildrose+way
    Good Luck!

  • Susan Mary Malone

    Welcome to dog-owner-hood. It’s so rewarding!

    One book I ALWAYS send my puppy buyers home with is The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete. It teaches you dog philosophy (such as Mother knows best, and how to train your pup as its mother would).

    Enjoy the daylights out of Barnaby–they’re only puppies once!

  • Tara

    I have loved listening to your thoughts on getting a dog! We got a labrador puppy a little over a year ago. I have never been a dog owner and in all honesty did not like dogs much at all. It was my decision to get the dog since I knew I would be primary care-giver — I waited until I knew I was ready. It has been a HUGE learning curve for me, definitely made my life bigger! I went from the person who avoided dogs, to the one who posts too many dog pictures on my FB page. My friends all think it is hilarious! I have to say the first three months were rough, then it got much better and has been wonderful every since. He is my velcro buddy!

  • Tara

    I also wanted to commend you on picking out a specific breed. I would have loved to rescue a dog, but like you said knowing me and my family we needed to know what we were getting into. I know next time I will feel more comfortable going with a rescue, but for my first dog a breeder was the right choice for me.

  • Was_Jersey

    Congrats! He’s a cutie.

    Practical Reading:
    I’ll echo the many recommendations for books and videos by Dr Sophia Yin and Karen Pryor. If you encounter a particular behavior problem — fearfulness, separation anxiety — Patricia McConnell, writes excellent books. All three authors recommend reward-based non-aversive training techniques. Instead you train on a basis of operant conditioning. Work with the dog’s motivations, instead of his fears.

    Some may disagree, but I urge you to AVOID material from Cesar Milan. He’s a charismatic figure and I’m sure he loves his dogs. But many of his methods are punitive, and made sensational for TV.

    Armchair Reading:
    – Patricia McConnell’s wonderful book of essays, “The Other End of the Leash”.
    – Turid Rugaas’ “Calming Signals” is fascinating. She describes all of the subtle and overt body language of dogs – licking lips, yawning, scratching, etc. What it means, in which context. The video is good too.

  • Dianne Ochiltree

    Welcome, Barnaby! You’re all in for a very fine adventure together. Dogs do tend to make life sweeter.

  • Laurel

    Many have given you terrific advice already, and I’m sure your copious reading and studying will provide excellent resources, too. I want to chime in regarding Patricia McConnell’s books, particularly THE PUPPY PRIMER. I am 2.5 years ahead of you with my “puppy”, and she has been trained to be a therapy dog (talk about raising the Happiness quotient—we volunteer in my grandmother’s retirement home. My grandmother is 100, and Homer has added an incredible dimension to our relationship). There is so much to learn and experience with a puppy, and the advice which made the biggest difference to us centered around SOCIALIZATION of the puppy. You have a LIMITED WINDOW with Barnaby in which to “show him the world for the first time”—what he learns during these first 6 months, and how he responds and reacts will have an ENORMOUS IMPACT on the dog he becomes. I’m sure you want him to be a good citizen: to keep his paws on the ground, not bark, welcome pats from strangers, walk on a leash, etc. etc. You can do A LOT to prepare him for success by showing him, over and over, every sort of situation imaginable. THE PUPPY PRIMER will help, but things to think about: different walking surfaces (tile, concrete, grates, aluminum, boards, bridges, stairs, etc.), smells (plenty of those in the city, huh?) different types of people—every ethnicity and sort of dress, beards; hats, umbrellas, heights, sizes, WHEELS—show him bikes, skateboards, scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, roller-skates, etc. —all with POSITIVE REWARDS for noticing them, and remaining calm. The list goes on and on—but the emphasis is to begin at once, and continue as he is just a puppy and learning everything now!! Give him a good foundation, and he’ll be a good citizen and companion. Congratulations to your family, I’m glad you went with the “bigger” choice. I’m doing that in my life too.

  • We raised our 12 y.o. Labrador from a puppy. We didn’t get a rescue dog because I wanted a puppy and our neighbors that have rescue dogs frankly have mean dogs who don’t behave.

    We often get compliments on our dog’s behavior and I attribute it to the puppy training we did through parks and rec and the “can of pain,” a tin filled with pennies that you shake at the dog when he exhibits behavior you don’t want to see again–nuisance barking, sofa jumping, etc. Also I read “The Art of Raising a Puppy” which was helpful.

  • Jane Gordon

    Recognize you from Y and then I saw you the other day with Barnaby while I was walking Barley a white cotton. I said to myself if she is happy now just wait as you fall in love with Barnaby! Nothing better. Good luck!

  • teamcorcoran

    Oh my gosh, Barnaby, meet Colette! They look so similar! 🙂 We rescued Colette from dodging traffic on a very busy street in our neighborhood. She had a rope tied around her neck and was ematiated and covered with fleas. Now she is so loved and sleeps in my younger daughter’s bedroom (goes to bed when we say to Charlotte, “Time to go to bed!”) I was very nervous given her circumstances and the unknown, but we now believe she is a “schnoodle” and a very desirable breed, so she was probably being kept poorly to just be bred instead of loved. My husband says we should have called her “Jackpot!” instead of Colette, given her change in life. Enjoy your new dog!

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  • Susan

    I am so happy to hear you decided to get a dog!! I listen to your podcasts while I walk my 2 year old Chocolate Lab Otis. By the way he is a purebred that we got from a very reputable breeder in a small town in Indiana. Nothing wrong with getting a purebred. It’s supporting small businesses.

  • Have had dogs my whole life, if you need any advice, just give me a yell!!! My website http://www.k2k9.com as well.

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