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How To Raise The Perfect Puppy

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A long time ago…before I even thought about adopting a puppy from the shelter I thought about how to raise the perfect puppy.

Throughout my life I’d always wondered what it would be like to have a perfect puppy.  After reading dozens of books (if you can only buy one I recommend puppies for dummies (affiliate link) which I’ve read multiple times and own all 3 editions) and sifting through hundreds of articles across the internet I realized the idea of a perfect puppy was up to me.  If I put the time, effort, and devotion into properly raising, training, and socializing my puppy then I would end up with “my perfect puppy”.

Raising The Perfect Puppy

Australian Shepherd Mix, Linus the perfect puppy?
Yep, that’s Linus! Our perfect puppy!?

Linus was my first puppy as an adult.  Before Linus I had seen many of my friends adopt puppies.  Some of them did a great job training their puppies and ended up with wonderful well-behaved dogs.  On the other hand others did not put the time or effort to work with their puppies.  Unfortunately, some of these pups ended up being not so perfect and often times became backyard dogs or ended up adopted by another family.

I wanted Linus to be the perfect puppy.  I set out clear rules on exactly what I wanted him to be and do.  Later I learned that a lot of the rules and behaviors I set forth for Linus were in line with what we teach our guide dog puppies in training.  Here are some of the objectives set forth for the puppy raisers in our guide dog group:

It is the objective of each puppy raising family to raise a puppy who shows overall good obedience skill and excellent house manners.  Your puppy should be house broken and be able to relieve on leash, as well on all types of surfaces.  Your puppy should be well socialized, not only with people, but dogs as well, and have been given the opportunity to be exposed to all types of environmental stimulation.  Your puppy should be able to be examined by veterinarian and be calm and easy to handle.

Whenever someone asks me what kinds of things do you teach your guide dog puppies?  I often refer back to this short paragraph and say:

As a puppy raiser we teach our puppies:

  1. Overal good obedience skills.
  2. Excellent house manners.
  3. Socialization skills with people and dogs.

Of course I usually go on and into more detail about exactly what we do as puppy raisers (I could go on and on), but in a nutshell those are the things we try to teach our pups. As I said, when I look back, those 3 basic skills are the exact same skills I tried to teach Linus way back before I knew a whole lot about puppy raising and training.

So how do you raise the perfect puppy?  I think you need only look at the puppy raiser objectives and think about the 3 skills mentioned above and teach your puppy: Overall good obedience skills, excellent house manners, and socialization skills with people and dogs.

I worked extremely hard with Linus on his puppy raising and training.  He’s almost 8 years old now and I think he’s an excellent dog.  He does have his faults, but in my eyes he is a perfect puppy!

Do you have the perfect puppy?  Do you have any tips on how to raise the perfect puppy?  I’d love to hear about your pups in the comments section below.

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Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

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  1. Princess Sadie sounds like a wonderful dog! Thank you for rescuing her and I’m glad she is so loved!

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Princess Sadie has been part of my life for 10-years now. She is my first dog and the day I found her, was my first trip to the local shelter to see what it was like – I walked out the door with my 3 month old Lab mix that day. She still has her hyper moments but she is perfect and loves to socialize with everyone. All it took was time, love, and respect during training. She’s worth every second and returns triple the love and respect. The best training tool is making your dog part of your family.

  3. Hi Govind,

    Congratulations on your new puppy. The best thing to do is to contact a professional dog trainer so they can see first hand exactly what your puppy is doing. However, here are some of the experiences and things I’ve done with my pups:

    Regarding the sniffing and biting. Most puppies like to nip when they are little and their teeth are like tiny daggers. Try to get dog toys with different textures and redirect his nipping behavior from you leg or other body parts to the toys. You could also try using Bitter Apple Spray which may also deter the nipping behavior. Just spray on the areas your puppy is nipping and biting. They usually don’t like the taste and eventually stop nipping/biting

    There’s a lot of advice on this site on how to train a puppy. Regarding having your puppy “urinate wherever he wants” I would check our article on How To Potty Train A Puppy: https://puppyintraining.com/how-to-potty-train-a-puppy/

    Good luck with your puppy training!

  4. Hey guys,

    My GSD pup is 45 days old now. He is always trying to smell my leg and then bite me.I just want to know what that indicates. Aggression or is he just trying to play.I would like a bit of advice on house manners also.My pup urinates where ever he wants,a big problem.And will it pain a lot when he bites me. I am scared only because of that…Need help guys……


  5. Hi Govind,

    They have little clicker boxes at the pet store. The one we used to use was a bout the size of your thumb. I would check with your vet on the food and what would be appropriate to feed your puppy.

    Take care,

  6. Hi Govind,

    5 weeks old is very young. We don’t receive our guide dog puppies until they are 7-8 weeks old. There are a lot of articles on this blog that might help you with specific puppy training problems. If you want to learn the basics of puppy training I’d recommend the Puppies for Dummies book. You also might want to try contacting a professional dog trainer for some in-home or group training classes.

    Best of luck with your new puppy.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. what kind of clicker instrument and is my pup ready for dry food or chicken pieces ????…..hey and thanks u guys rock….

  8. Find out what motivates your puppy. I trained my lab mix with a clicker and her favorite treats. If your puppy doesn’t like any treats from the pet store then try using small pieces of plain cooked chicken meat. You have to be patient, your puppy isn’t going to know commands right away. Try holding the treat in front of your dog without saying anything and they will try to figure out what they need to do to get that treat. If he sits then immediately say “yes” or “good sit” and give the treat to him. Also, there are some great training videos on youtube. Check out a user named Kikopup!

  9. I have a 5 week old German shepherd puppy with whom i am going nuts.He is very lazy and doesn’t respond to my basic commands ( come,sit,stay ).He responds when called his name but doesn’t come to me.very bad house mannners too. Please help ………………….anyone

  10. Hi Allision,

    I totally agree. I knew before I decided to adopt Linus from the animal shelter that I was going to spend a great deal of time working on his training especially in the beginning when we first brought him home. It was difficult at first, but in the end I’m glad I spent those countless hours during puppyhood working on his training.

    I’m glad you have a 15 month old perfect puppy!

    Take care,

  11. It really is all about the effort you put in. I started on my puppies training the day we brought her home. Every single day I would spend at least 15 minutes working on her training. She had her times when she would “test” me to see what she could get away with and eventually gave in. Now, att 15 months old she is my perfect puppy.

  12. Hi Monica,

    I wish I could have met your perfect Golden. I’m sure you’ll do great with Sachi and I’m sure she’ll be a perfect puppy too. Just a couple more days until your puppy orientation! Let me know if you have any questions.

    Take care,

  13. I did have a perfect Golden, in my eyes, and many of my freinds and family would agree. She probably scored nearly perfect for your 3 basic skills with slight room to improve in her dog socialization skill. And that might be my fault since I did not address enough. I attributed to her beautiful, perfect nature that made my job so easy in training her. However I did devote myselft to make that happen. I will do the same to Sachi, my new puppy, with somewhat modification in the training since she is not a family pet. And hope that Sachi will become a perfect dog, not only in my eyes, but also agreed by GDA.

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