Bringing a new puppy home can be a stressful and chaotic experience, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

As a veterinarian of 20 years, and a dog trainer of over 35 years I have developed an effective method of puppy raising that brings joy rather than stress to your life. As a bonus, you even get some personal growth through the process.

Dream Dog

What does Dream Dog mean to you?

When you first bring a puppy home it is important to set expectations. We set expectations for ourselves, our family, our business, and our career. Why wouldn’t we set expectations for our puppy?

Decide what behaviors and qualities are important for you and the family to bring out in the new pup. We cannot reach our destination if we do not first know where we are going.

Do you want an obedient dog? a versatile dog? a water dog? A running partner? A friendly dog? A good traveler? A quiet, calm dog?

No dog is perfect. Just like none of us are perfect. However, if we set our clear intentions for our puppy you can lead him to be a dog that you can truly enjoy. One that you can take anywhere. A partner to share adventures and experiences with. A dog you can be proud of. A true friend rather than a burden.

Once expectations are set for your dog it is time to set your own expectations. Who do you need to be in order to show up for your new puppy? To be a successful leader of the pack it is important to bring patience, commitment, perseverance, consistency, and a sense of humor to the table. Your puppy needs you to be a true leader in order for him to be successful.


One of the biggest mistakes I see new puppy owners make is giving too much freedom too fast. Puppies, just like toddlers, need boundaries in order to provide them with confidence, direction and to prevent injury. There are two main types of boundaries to consider for your puppy: SPACE BOUNDARIES and SITUATIONAL BOUNDARIES. In my upcoming course, I discuss examples of each of these and how to use them effectively.

Success Habits

Creating habits in your puppy’s daily routine leads to a balanced, well-behaved dog. Daily rituals anchor favorable behaviors in your puppy while creating a beautiful bond. Rituals do not only benefit your pup, but they benefit you as well.

Morning rituals – Just as you need morning rituals to set up your day for success, so does your puppy. Mornings can be hectic. Trying to squeeze caring for your puppy in with the morning madness will only add stress. Make the time and space for your puppy-caring needs to establish a peaceful flow to your morning routine.

Evening rituals are also important to set for your pup. A consistent routine and scheduled bonding time each night will keep your puppy calm and confident.

In my course, I also discuss creating habits around specific situations such as eating, vet visits, grooming, and traveling in the car. Knowing how your dog will react in these situations sets your mind at ease while instilling confidence in your dog. Dogs want to please us but often they do not receive clear direction from their leaders. This results in confusion, anxiety, and, ultimately unwanted dog behavior.

Raising a puppy can be either a chaotic, stress-filled time that you just try to get through or it can be a beautiful time filled with joy and magic moments. At the end of the stress-filled puppyhood, there is often a dog that has behavioral issues. At the end of the joyful puppyhood, there is a friend that can walk beside you through this beautiful life. The choice is yours.