Review: The Seven Ages of Man’s Best Friend

The Seven Ages of Man's Best Friend, by Jan Fennell

Jan Fennell is an English dog trainer and self-heralded “Dog Listener.” This book covers what she believes to be the seven ages of dogs, from birth to death. It’s a very user-friendly book and ideally suited for a first-time dog owner.

Fennell aims to provide her readers with an overview of what to expect in each stage of a dog’s life. What I most appreciated about the book was its asides on health and general physical maintenance. As you can tell from my reading list, I’m primarily interested in training, canine psychology, and animal behavior; therefore, my knowledge of the anatomy and health of a dog is relatively small. I appreciated her emphasis on the basics of dog care and body maintenance. For instance, I now know what parvovirus is and why puppies get vaccinated for it.

Since I’ve already read so many in-depth and excellent training books, I found her obedience tips a bit shallow and occasionally outdated. However, that aside, I think The Seven Ages of Man’s Best Friend would be a useful guide to someone who is just getting to know his or her dog.