Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Good Books for Dog Owners

By Ruthie Bently

Are you looking for the perfect book for yourself or a relative that owns a dog or a new puppy? With so many choices available these days, how do you find the right one? I have always loved reading and as a buyer of pet products I’ve reviewed many books in my career. When the books went on sale I was usually one of the first in line to add a new book to my personal library.

There is a plethora of dog books available, but in my opinion several stand out from the pack. One great resource for any dog owner is the AKC’s Complete Dog Book, which is now in its twentieth edition. It’s a wonderful book for anyone considering a purebred dog. This comprehensive book covers the 153 AKC recognized breeds at the time of its January 2006 publication. It lists the standards for each breed along with pictures and histories. You get information on how to choose the right dog, as well as nutrition, training, grooming and how to join a dog club. It also lists all the AKC sports available to owners and their dogs. It even discusses how to be a responsible breeder and the Canine Good Citizen® program.

If you’ve already decided on a breed and need a good puppy training book, read The Art of Raising a Puppy, by the Monks of New Skete. The Monks have written several books on dog training, as that is their chosen vocation. This 274-page hardcover book has more than 80 photographs, and discusses how to deal with common puppy issues like paper training, jumping up, chewing and communication. It covers a puppy’s stages of development, and teaches you how to train your puppy with compassion and common sense. The follow-up book, How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, builds on the foundation of the first book.

How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, by Clarice Rutherford and David H. Neil, is a wonderful book for raising a puppy whether they are newborns or a year old. This book is often suggested to new puppy owners by their breeder. It discusses the development of a puppy’s mind and body, and offers suggestions for shaping them into a well behaved, well adjusted dog. It also covers health care and positive methods for training and socializing your puppy.

Richard Wolters wrote several books on dog training, and Family Dog is another winner. This book makes it easy to train a dog, and will work for any age or breed. He discusses the idea that a puppy is ready to train when they are exactly forty-nine days old. You can train a dog in sixteen weeks by using his simple time tested method, which includes teaching basic commands, housebreaking and even tricks. The book doesn’t stop at training though; it discusses how to pick the right dog, first aid and medical information, grooming tips, how to talk to your dog, and why play and relaxation are important.

Another of my personal favorites is Wendy Nan Rees’ Dog Lover’s Daily Companion: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Living a Rich Life with Your Dog. You can read it front to back or open it to any page and will find wonderful information for a lifetime of dog owning, whether you have a puppy or an adult dog. It includes a wealth of information on basic dog ownership, including the supplies and training equipment you may need. It also discusses traveling with your pet, health information, selecting your vet, basic grooming and first aid. It gives you tips on cleaning, organizing and housekeeping for your dog, and explains how to bond and build a better relationship with your dog. There are recipes for deodorizers, cleaners, and even gifts for your human friends with “doggy” children. You can create your own dog placemats or photo album, as well as a dog-friendly pantry. There is even a “Dog Zodiac,” which tells you what your dog may be like; Skye is a Leo and her horoscope is right on target.

All of these are good books for dog owners. Whichever one you choose, you cannot go wrong!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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