Book Review: Think Like Your Dog

ThinkLikeYourDogDogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
Roger Caras, as quoted in Think Like Your         Dog: and Enjoy the Rewards

Dianna M. Young (with Robert H. Mottram) has shown with undeniable expertise the value of communicating with your dog in a language canines understand. In Think Like Your Dog: and Enjoy the Rewards, Young gives readers the step by step process necessary to have a canine companion to bond with in a rewarding relationship.

The most important lesson to be learned is that in every human and dog team, there is one leader and one follower. In a dog’s eyes, there is no in-between. Young clearly reiterates this principle throughout the book and gives understandable examples of how it can be achieved.

Think Like Your Dog discusses the important steps to take when your pup is first brought home, which ideally is not before eight weeks of age. Those first eight weeks with the pup’s mother assure that the puppy will get a strong foundation in tems of behavioral characteristics it will possess for the rest of its life. The next eight weeks with the new owner are critical in providing socialization skills, exposing him to people, kids, trains, buses, other dogs, noisy places, crowded places. Further, the pup should go through these experiences on his own four feet, not to be scooped up in the protective arms of his owner.

Each chapter in this valuable book discusses how a dog views the various elements of his life. The reader learns how a dog thinks through our verbal and body language, the senses and how all that relates to his comprehension. She discusses the various breeds and how they may differ when it comes to choosing a family pet. She talks about getting a dog as a puppy, or a mature dog and, in either case, how to proceed with meaningful training.

It’s important to have the proper dog equipment and in the book various types are illustrated and explained. Methods of training are outlined, with emphasis on positive reinforcement. The importance of a structured environment, patience and compassion are directly related to a successful dog and handler relationship.

Our chocolate lab Toby is 10 years old, yet I learned techniques in this book that we can use to enhance our family’s relationship with him. Not only that, I’ve learned the mistakes we’ve made, primarily relating to getting him too young, at five weeks, before he had that essential time with his mother.

Think Like Your Dog: and Enjoy the Rewards makes an ideal all-in-one reference book. It’s an enjoyable read with interesting stories and photos emphasizing the various principles Young teaches. For more information about the author and her training and boarding facility on Camano Island, visit:

Book Review: A Dog Named Boo

A-Dog-Named-Boo-SmallA Dog Named Boo:The Underdog with a Heart of Gold by Lisa J. Edwards is a moving account of a dog’s achievement despite his many disabilities, or perhaps because of them.

Lisa J. Edwards, a full time professional dog trainer and behavioral consultant, meets her match when she and her husband Lawrence adopt a dog they called Boo. As a dyslectic, Lisa suffers with learning disabilities as well as physical limitations. In addition, Lisa carriies emotional scars stemming from her childhood.

On a quick errand, Lisa encounters a box of puppies for sale. The runt of the litter, Boo is picked on by his siblings and it’s unlikely he’ll ever be adopted. But somehow a chord is struck between Lisa and the pup and she can’t resist taking him home.

Boo is a challenge from the beginning–it takes an entire year to potty train him. In puppy classes, he doesn’t respond to basic commands, which prove difficult and embarrassing for Lisa: a dog trainer who can’t train her own dog.

Still Lisa persists. She puts into practice her belief in gentle and effective positive reinforcement dog training, always reinforcing the good things and looking beyond the negative. Lisa learns that Boo actually has learning disabilities, physical limitations with vision problems and awkward motor skills. Still, in working with him, she finds talents that make Boo an exceptional therapy dog. Together they achieve
heights Lisa never dreamed possible.

For a heart-warming treat, I recommend A Dog Named Boo: The Underdog with a Heart of Gold. You’ll learn about the philosophy of training a dog, about life itself, and the power of persistence and unconditional love.