My husband brought Remy home as a Christmas gift on December 13th.  I found Remy through a local goldendoodle breeder.  I fell in love with him and knew without question he would be the perfect puppy for our family.  We were in the process of adopting a puppy through a local no-kill rescue but Remy changed everything.  I was at a friend’s house for our annual baking day when I received a video text from my husband titled Merry Christmas with a video of Christian and Remy playing in our back yard.  I don’t think I thought much about cookies after that.  I left, headed straight to Pet Smart (my favorite local pet store) and then home to meet my new puppy.

We had been watching Dog Whisperer DVDs since we adopted Emma in August and I knew I needed Cesar’s wisdom for how to raise Remy to be his best.  The next day Steve picked up How To Raise The Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan.  I love how simple Cesar’s methods are.  Anyone can implement his strategies – even our kids are learning.

One of the first things that really resonated with me was that it is a good idea to crate a new puppy and mostly ignore them for the first few days.  I had never heard of that and we didn’t do it because I hadn’t gotten to that part of the book quick enough but it makes a great deal of sense.  Cesar explains that their crate should be placed in a far corner of the main living space so that they can acclimate and feel part of their new “pack” without feeling the need to respond to all the excitement around them.  This is key for powerful breed dogs.  He also said that new puppies should be isolated to a small section of the house, preferably an area that you aren’t too “proud” of, so that if an accident occurs owners aren’t inclined to respond in anger.   A puppy given the freedom to explore the entire house will often come to think it owns the entire house and become out of control.  Puppies raised by their mother’s and conscientious breeders are self-assured in a world with limits and boundaries that represent comfort, safety and security.

Cesar says, “If freedom equals peace of mind, then, as it turns out, structure actually makes up the foundation of a dog’s freedom.”

We have a modest size home and we allow Remy to spend most of his days in the kitchen and the living room.  He sleeps in his bed in the little boy’s room and is only welcomed upstairs as a rare treat if we are all up together.

Cesar also writes about how puppies need nearly 18 hours of sleep a day during their peak growth period.  I had no idea and I suspect he was nothing short of exhausted the first days he was in our home.  We now put him in his crate at least 2 times a day for naps.  He also usually naps out of his crate at least once a day.

I also learned that all training sessions should be short and must, no matter how long it takes, end in success for the dog.  We usually only spend 2-5 minutes working with Remy at a time.  Any more than that and he becomes frustrated.  Did you know yawning is a sign of frustration and not boredom?  I had no idea and I now recognize that in Remy.  Remy mostly yawns when we put him in his crate for a nap and use our “Ehhh” sound to silence his barking/complaining.  He usually stops the whining, yawns a couple of times and lets out a series of groans and whimpers before lying down and resting.

I have learned so much from Cesar Millan’s book and his many DVDs and I know are dogs are better for it.  I can’t recommend his resources enough.  Our local library has Dog Whisperer DVDs and all of his books.  I’ve also seen his DVDs on sale for $5 per season – such a great deal.  You can also learn more about Cesar and purchase his many materials here.

And, just for fun, here is the only photo I was able to snatch of Remy today.  He isn’t really the best at sitting still so I can take a picture of him.  He’s so indecent, sprawled happily on my bed, while I wrote this post.  Have I mentioned how much I love him?  He is too sweet for words.