“Dog InSight”

By Pamela Reid. Dogwise Publishing. $12.95.

This is certainly not new turf when it comes to dog books, but Reid, a certified behaviorist and dog trainer with a PhD in animal learning and behavior, puts the subject in a simplistic format that is easily understood.

She addresses the symbiotic relationship of dog and man in three sections – behavior, training and behavior problems, placing a huge emphasis on early socialization and handling and the huge dividends they produce later.

Boldface titling, short, focused entries and reflective case-in-point examples from classes add up to an empowering read that will enable the owner to interpret his/her dogs needs and behavior at a higher level.

Reid emphasizes, “The problem I witnessed most often in my classes was that owners were too overbearing when playing with their puppies. They ran, they jumped, they loomed and they wrestled. Some puppies liked this right away but most need to build up to this intensity.”

Finding the right trainer isn’t easy, she notes, because the field is “not well regulated and most of these titles can be donned by anyone.” In other words, buyer beware!

The most compelling chapter is titled “Doing It Right from the Start: Ten Stupid Ways in Which People Mess Up Their Dogs.” Every owner will be able to relate to the 10 and most likely will plead guilty on at least one or two fronts with one dog or another.

The 10 include:

  1. The owner fails to provide sufficient socialization with people.
  2. The owner fails to provide the sufficient socialization with dogs.
  3. The owner fails to take advantage of opportunities for learning.
  4. The owner fails to provide for natural behaviors.
  5. The owner fails to bond with the puppy through play.
  6. The owner fails to handle or touch the puppy sufficiently.
  7. The owner encourages food guarding through benign neglect.
  8. The owner fails to use the right balance of discipline and leniency.
  9. The owner fails to provide the puppy with sufficient exercise.
  10. The owner provides the puppy with too much free food.

Note the common thread through this listing is owner shortcomings and failure to spend sufficient time with dog. While considerable emphasis is placed on puppy bonding, Reid addresses rescues and adult dogs, too, noting separation anxiety and destruction issues.

“Dog Insight” is a practical primer with an earthy delivery that’s soberly reflective with razor-sharp analysis, colorful anecdotes and arresting realism throughout.

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