Getting a new dog can be one of the most exciting time periods of your life. It is usually a bit of a whirlwind complete with tons of research, shots and vet trips, visits from friends/family, and a little bit of stress. In the weeks prior to getting our dog, Maddie, we started to do our homework. It was beyond overwhelming trying to sort through all the available resources and information. Like many topics we research, there seemed to be conflicting information and it was almost impossible to find black and white answers.
Looking back on our experiences, it was a great thing that we did our homework. Some of the articles we read and videos that we watched were absolutely imperative to the success we had in training Maddie. However, if we had to do it all over again or if we had to recommend resources to a friend, there are a few important ones that stand out.
Below is the “Mount Rushmore” of resources for new dog owners. It is what we wish we had stuck with when we were trying to sort through the masses of information available to us on the internet. In fact, we can honestly say that we still use all of these resources now, some of them on a daily basis.
Whether you are thinking about getting a new pup, already have one, or are a seasoned veteran, all four of the resources below are worth looking into! So, without further adieu, here is the Mount Rushmore of Resources for New Dog Owners:
Doggy Dan is one of those guys that is so bad he’s great. He has this weird fro thing going on and rocks a hardcore accent (he’s from New Zealand). At first, you will probably question what we were thinking on the recommendation. But BOY is Doggy Dan good.
Consider Doggy Dan the starting point. Even if you have a dog already and are trying to create some changes or improve behavior, start with Doggy Dan. If you don’t have a pup just yet, you should be reviewing the material now to make your life 100 times easier when the big day finally comes. His approach to training deals with the energy and body language of both you and your dog. There are no choke collars, no special items that you need to purchase, and you won’t yell or hit your dog. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Doggy Dan’s approach is very simple and involves being calm, patient, and persistent in order to get the results you want from your canine.
When we first started watching Doggy Dan, we had many moments where we looked at each other and said, “Huh, that makes a lot of sense.” Dog owners often assume that dogs should know certain things or just get “it” already, but Doggy Dan reminds us that training a new dog is just like training a new born baby. They do not know anything yet, and it is our job to teach them patiently with love, body language, purposeful energy, and consistency.
One of the major downfalls to Doggy Dan is that his service is an online dog trainer. Because of this, he charges a fairly steep fee of $37 a month. He also gives the option of paying for 6 months for $147. His website comes across kind of gimmicky and makes you seem like it is a scam, but we assure you the content is great.
In order to combat the price we only paid for one month and binged on the videos all month. By the end of the month we had a very good idea what each area was about and how to execute it properly so we did not need to renew. When you compare a $37 purchase for a fully comprehensive dog training program that you have full access to materials that you can study and review for a full month, that’s a pretty good deal. The cheapest dog training sessions usually run around $150, give you an hour once a week for a month, and give you very little material to review.
Doggy Dan’s Member Only Area comes packed with information in 6 separate courses. These courses include (direct from the Doggy Dan site) The Dog Calming Code, Every Day Tools & Techniques, Perfect Puppy Training, All Dog Problems Solved, Project Moses Video Diary, and Dan’s Dog Training 101. Everything you could want or need is covered in both written and video form.
For all of you with young puppies, the Project Moses Video Diary is going to be your go to. In Project Moses, Doggy Dan tracks his week by week experience raising an 8 week old puppy all the way through to one year. It’s comforting to watch as a professional dog trainer is dealing with the same frustrations and challenges that you are facing. It is a great reminder to be patient and keep on trying!
As far as dog training celebrities go, Cesar Millan is number one. With his pack leader approach and his infamous “Tsch!” he has risen to dog training stardom, and rightfully so. Cesar frequently states that he does not train pets, he trains pet owners. He stresses the importance of paying attention to your behaviors as an owner and that your dog will behave based on your behavior. This is a common trend in dog trainers as we see many of the same theories preached by Doggy Dan and other trainers.
Cesar achieved fame through the success of his show “Dog Whisperer.” His show is certainly presented in a way that is designed for entertainment purposes as it portrays most situations in an overly dramatic fashion, but it is tough to argue with the content. Since watching and reading the Doggy Dan material feels like formal training, it is nice to have the entertainment aspect of Dog Whisperer. Instead of tossing on Netflix or Game of Thrones, you can grab your furry friend and watch Cesar solve the world’s dog training problems.
Cesar Millan’s material is not limited to just his TV show. His website covers everything dog-related from behavioral issues, to dog psychology, to adoption tips. One could get lost for days exploring the written content on his site. He has also authored seven books for those of you that want to take the deep dive into his content. Cesar even does live shows, which we were lucky enough to attend. The live show is great for those that are completely new to Cesar’s strategies and methods or for those that are simply fans of his work. We did not get a very large takeaway from the show because we had watched and read so much of his material, but it was really cool seeing him in action and seeing his dog, Junior, in person.
The one downfall to Cesar Millan is that his material is somewhat all over the place. He his on National Geographic, YouTube, his own website, in books, and anywhere else you can imagine. It’s wonderful that he has so much content and information, but it can become overwhelming, especially when you are looking for a specific answer or trying to follow a set plan.
This is where Doggy Dan has the advantage as his information is sorted into specific courses that you can readily access with relative ease. Although Cesar’s website categorizes specific problems, it leads to a variety of blog posts that you need to read through to find your answers, which can sometimes take a little more effort than desired. Nonetheless, the man knows what he is talking about and is without questions a member of our Mount Rushmore of Resources for Dog Owners.
Zak George is a dog trainer that uses YouTube as his primary channel to reach dog owners. He has quite a bit of material that breaks down a specific topic in about 15 minutes or less. If you jump on YouTube and serach for something specific to dog training, odds are Zak will be the guy that pops up. Although Zak recently wrote his first book, Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution, he is mainly a YouTube star. Perhaps the greatest aspect of this is that you have free access to all of his videos so long as you have a computer and internet access (which if you are reading this, you do!).
What we really love about Zak George, besides the free content, is that he genuinely loves dogs and has fun training them. Watching one of his videos is a great reminder that one of the foundational reasons in getting a dog is to enjoy him. In fact, we don’t know that Zak has ever had a bad day. His constant smiling, positivity, and energy shows us that when you dog messes up or does something wrong, it’s not personal. Keep having fun, make progress in small steps, and give all the energy you can to your canine. There is no need to be overly authoritative or serious, enjoy the process!
Similarly to Cesar Millan, Zak’s material comes up short for those of you looking for a set plan and highly organized systems. That being said, it is hard to argue with the fact that his material is free and always accessible. If you follow our method and only do one month of Doggy Dan, this can be your go-to material when you are looking for a refresher. For all these reasons, Zak George easily makes our Mount Rushmore of Resources for New Dog Owners.
Dogs Naturally Magazine
Dogs Naturally Magazine changed our lives. It’s that good. If you are looking for the ultimate resource to feeding your dog a raw diet and treating any of your dog’s health conditions naturally in the least invasive way possible, look no further than Dogs Naturally Magazine. When we first started looking into the raw diet for dogs, we stumbled upon Dog Naturally Magazine’s website and we have been using it religiously ever since.
Their site provides in depth articles on everything dog related. Their menu pages include Nutrition, Remedies, Vaccination, Life with Dogs, and Health Conditions. Any time we have a question in regards to our pup, we go straight here and are almost always able to find what we are looking for.
There are two components of Dogs Naturally Magazine that separate them from the pack. The first is that they have all the foundational elements of the raw food diet for dogs. If you are not feeding your dog a raw diet or are not aware of what it is, head over to Dogs Naturally Magazine and start doing your research. The raw food diet focuses on feeding your dog foods that she is meant to eat, not cheap, manmade kibble that causes your dog to become fat, sick, or diseased like so many modern dogs today.
The other component that makes Dogs Naturally Magazine so beneficial is their “A-Z Health Conditions.” The dog medicinal world is very similar to that of humans. Time spent with the patient is limited and often ends with a written prescription for antibiotics or drugs that carry many adverse effects and can very often cause more harm than good. Although there is certainly a place in this world for antibiotics and Western medicine, there are many things that can be done for most conditions prior to drug treatment that are much less invasive and just as, if not more, effective.
Dogs Naturally Magazine’s “A-Z Health Conditions” list provides a thorough list of medical conditions and ways to treat each. Some of the options for treatment are herbal, others are supplemental, and some are dietary. You will be surprised at how simplistic treatments of certain conditions can be. You do not need to scour all of the information (unless you want to), but it is great to have this resource readily available. Dr. Google can lead you to some scary sites that predict worse-case scenario for your pup that is facing a medical issue. If you have a non-emergency/life-threatening condition or concern occurring with your canine, Dogs Naturally Magazine should be your go-to for reliable and sound information.
If you are someone who prefers videos to reading, then Dogs Naturally Magazine might not be your forte. However, don’t kick it completely to the side. Keep it in your back pocket and break it out when you need to address a specific condition. Or, again, the raw food diet research. Do it.
There it is, your Mount Rushmore of Resources for Dog Owners. These four resources are certainly not the only options out there. But, as stated before, when you are just starting out as a dog owner you can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of information available to you. These four resources are a great place to start and have enough information to keep you studying well throughout your first couple of years of dog ownership.
When reviewing the material, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you are not any of these people. Many try to duplicate Cesar’s “Tsch!” only to complain that it’s not working. Yes, he makes that noise, but the noise is not what’s doing the training. It is the methods and strategies that are effective.
Pay attention to what resonates with you and what aligns with your personal style and beliefs. But recognize that you are your own person and have your own preferences. We pick and choose from all of these resources to form our own individual training style and approach to nutrition. This is why we suggest a Mount Rushmore of resources, no one single person knows it all and is the exact way that you should be doing something.
In addition to you being an individual and having your own style, your dog is highly unique has well. You may find that your dog responds to Doggy Dan’s methods for walking on a leash, but Cesar Milan’s methods for aggressive behavior. It doesn’t make sense to keep pushing the things that don’t work when you have strategies that do work. At the end of the day, we just want our dogs to be happy and behave appropriately.
What do you think of our Mount Rushmore? Do you agree or disagree? Who is on your Mount Rushmore of Resources for New Dog Owners? We want to know! Leave a comment below!