One of the perks of writing a dog blog is receiving dog and animal books to read and review.
I felt a connection with the author from the beginning of this book, but about halfway through, this sentence in her discussion of characteristics of various dog breeds struck home:
Miniature Poodle- the breed most likely to develop speech so that they may better direct humans in their proper care…
Yes, she totally gets it!!
Poodle-doting people know this, but we are so often dismissed. To be affirmed by a woman with 30 years of experience in training and rehabilitating dogs of all breeds…
Well, the author is obviously quite astute.
The book is partly memoir of her life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, her academic pursuits, and experience owning various breeds with many enchanting and laugh out loud anecdotes. At no time does she present herself as an authority on dogdom, however. In fact she is at her most entertaining when she admits to making mistakes in the hope that the reader might learn from those mistakes.
Christie bought Gracie from a breeder who was breeding for money with no thought to producing healthy stock. But if Gracie had remained there she would have been part of the breeding program.
Gracie joined Jenny, a two-year-old poorly socialized Collie, who had been owned by a show breeder. Jenny had spent her days in a kennel, being groomed or in a show ring. The breeder had too many dogs and not enough time to campaign them so Jenny was on her way to a rescue. As time goes on, Lil a Labrador is added to her pack, chosen from a breeder.
All dogs present their unique set of challenges. She makes the point that not all training methods work with all dogs. Her dogs, like all of ours, have personalities and to be their best friend we need to respect their personalities.
One of the strongest points of the book is her advice on choosing a dog. Although Gracie is the star of the book, she is not pushing English Bull Terriers as the dog for everyone. In fact she writes:
Don’t plan on sleeping too deeply for the first few years…
Her family thought she was a bit balmy to take on Gracie.
In choosing a dog breed, she advises the reader to become introspective. A Newfoundland may seem appealing, but if washing drool off the walls and furniture for 10-12 years doesn’t appeal to you, then look to another breed.
She has excellent advice on choosing rescue or breeder, working with a breeder, finding a boarding kennel, buying chew toys and many other topics that are of interest to both the experienced dog owner and someone who would like to add a first time dog to their lives.
Dr. Oslund has a three graduate degrees including a doctorate. Remarkably she was able to complete a dissertation and this book even though she has been diagnosed with dyslexia. She also writes the blog Saved by Dogs.
Available at Amazon, see sidebar.
The Barks And Bytes hop is for anything at all and all bloggers are welcome. You don’t have to be a dog blog to join.