Review: The Adopted Dog Bible

The Adopted Dog Bible, by Kim Saunders

Now THIS is the book that I should have picked up first when I wanted more information about adopting a dog. Kim Saunders, one of the founders of the nationally successful rescue website Petfinder.com, wrote this hefty and helpful manual for anyone who is planning to rescue a dog or has already done so.

The Adopted Dog Bible contains a wealth of information for the new parent of an adopted dog. I also think it’s one of the most helpful books I’ve read to date on general dog care, regardless of whether that dog was adopted.

Saunders provides all of the information and tips that I had been looking for–and didn’t find–in Adopting a Dog. How to you prevent and mitigate separation anxiety? What kind of questions should you ask the shelter or rescue group about the dog’s background? How do you evaluate an adult dog’s level of socialization? Saunders has all of the answers and more.

The book also has an extensive section on health care, dog food, and home remedies. Saunders seems to be a fairly big proponent of natural remedies for common canine ailments, which I found very interesting. I hadn’t read about some of these herbal treatments before in relation to dogs.

In a perfect world, this would be the book that was given to every first-time dog parent who brought a dog home from a shelter or rescue group. I only wish that my local SPCA had an abundance of copies to give away. It’s an excellent resource and one that I plan on returning to in the future.

Review: The Canine Good Citizen

The Canine Good Citizen, by Jack and Wendy Volhard

After reading Bad Dog, I felt certain that I’d want to put my future dog through the paces of earning his or her Canine Good Citizen certification. The author of Bad Dog, Martin Kihn, mentions attending a workshop by the authors of this book, Jack and Wendy Volhard. Kihn emphasizes how helpful they were in getting his out-of-control Bernese mountain dog to her CGC certification and so I thought I’d read it in my spare time.

It’s a very slim volume and would be most helpful to those who were actually in the process of training for the CGC test. The book walks you through the 10 tests that the CGC evaluates and provides step-by-step instructions on how to train your dog to perform each task.

The Volhards create a helpful “Canine Personality Profile” for owners. This profile is supposed to help you evaluate your dog’s dominant drives and then use that information to tailor your training regimen. I think it’s an interesting idea and I think I’d probably at least try it once I get a dog of my own.

This book is kind of outdated in some of its training recommendations (recommends aggressive jerks on the leash, for example), but I figure I may reference it again if and when I decide to train my dog to earn his or her CGC certification.

Have you trained your dog to pass the CGC test? Do you have any advice about that test in particular? Do you think it’s worthwhile?

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.