Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Good Reading

One of the things that Carmen and I love to do is read books about dogs--dog behavior, dog memoirs, dog sports, dog breeds, etc. So I thought that I would share a couple of my favorites every now and then and hope that you will do so as well.

To start off I would highly recommend two books about dog training:

1. Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash: Why We do What We Do Around Dogs
This book not only talks about the importance of positive dog training, but also how we as "primates" think differently about, and therefore interact differently with, the world from our canine companions. It really gives some good insight into how dogs think about the world.

2. Suzanne Clothier's If a Dog's Prayer Were Answered...Bones Would Rain from the Sky. This is absolutely my favorite book. Not only does it talk about training, but it suggests that working with our dogs reveals things--the good and the bad--about our character. She espouses a kind of "zen" dog training. This is as much a philosophy of life book as a training manual.

More to come later...Again I would love to hear about some of your favorite dog books.


Monday, March 8, 2010


It has become a well-known concept that early socialization is beneficial for dogs for so many reasons. Puppy socialization classes have sprung up all over the country and are very popular (and very important)! But what about those of us that adopt an older dog and what is the benefit of socializing an older dog that we've had since puppyhood? It is true that there is a window of opportunity in a pup's life from 2-4 months old and this is the best time to expose them to as many safe and positive experiences as possible. Dogs that are kept secluded during this time period frequently have confidence and fear issues later in life that take a great deal of time to overcome. However even if a puppy was socialized early on or if an adult dog was adopted later in life, ongoing socialization is still very important and can greatly improve confidence issues. My youngest dog Noel has become a worrier when exposed to new situations or meeting new people. She was socialized extensively as a puppy but I made the mistake of not continuing this socialization throughout her adolescence. Of course every individual dog is different and there are certainly breed tendencies that are put into play also. Noel, being a Rottweiler, is naturally suspicious of strangers and so socialization will be important throughout her life. Other guarding breeds like shepherds, dobes, schnauzers and some of the herding breeds will also need continued socialization to maintain proper social skills with humans and other animals. It's never to late to start.