Archive for the ‘Dog Books’ Category

“A Home for Books” – Book Reading for a Good Cause

June 22, 2013

A Home for Brooks

I had the opportunity at the Mutt ‘n’ Strut recently to meet the author and illustrator of “A Home for Brooks”. This book is a children’s book about a dog named Brooks. The story follows Brooks from stray to shelter to happy home. It’s heartwarming and the illustrations are wonderful.

The author, Stacey Adams, isn’t just the author and illustrator of this great children’s book. She is also the Director of Education at the Books for All Foundation. The Books for All Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides educational reading programs to children with special needs.

We all know how pets enrich our lives. Reading does too. So give your children the ultimate experience by having them read about Brooks. :)

Visit Tate Publishing to buy your copy of “A Home for Brooks”.

Book Review – Labrador Retrievers: How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend

July 21, 2012

“Puppies and adults both are happy dogs with constantly wagging tails and a fast tongue.”

As pet blogger and proud owner of a Labrador Retriever, I was given the opportunity to preview this e-book titled “Labrador Retrievers: How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend“. Although I wasn’t able to see the images in my free preview version, I found the content quite comprehensive. If you are considering getting a Labrador Retriever, everything you want to know about them is this e-book and available on Amazon.com at a very low price.

Chapter one on the history of Labradors is brief. Chapter 2 was about where to get a Labrador Retriever. It was my favorite chapter because the author, Lorie Huston DVM, cautions against buying one from a pet store and gives some great information on how to find a good dog breeder or rescue group.

The next five chapters cover how to prepare your house for a Labrador, what to buy for him, basic training, socializing, care tips including some great feeding tips, and veterinary visits. One piece of advice which I found uncommon is that she recommends bringing your new dog home in a carrier or dog seat belt! Labradors can be a handful. Not only can a dog seat belt help keep your new pet safe, but it can also help keep them from being a distraction to the driver.

In the chapter on basic training, Lorie Huston DVM not only covers the basics, but training on some behavior issues as well such as separation anxiety. In the chapter on training, she does not promote one training method over another but does stress against the use of dominance training techniques and even gives a very good explanation as to why.

I really enjoyed the chapter on caring for a Labrador because it has great information on how to find the right food. It also has some good general proportion feeding tips since Labradors have a tendency to get overweight. Other care tips include grooming, bathing, trimming nails, cleaning ears, brushing teeth, and what to look for in signs of illness or disease. Veterinary care tips include vaccinations, how to prevent pest problems (like fleas, ticks, and heartworms), the benefits of spaying/neutering, how to handle some pet emergencies, and so on.

Since the author is a DVM, you know she has the expertise to share about dogs. I myself have a Labrador, my girl Maya who was adopted, and can attest that the information in this e-book is very comprehensive and perfect for anyone wanting to get a Labrador. By the time I got to the 2nd page of the book, I read the following, “Puppies and adults both are happy dogs with constantly wagging tails and a fast tongue.” When I read this sentence, my confidence in the author’s knowledge was firmly established. It describes my Labrador to a T.

You can get “Labrador Retrievers: How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” as an e-book on Amazon for just $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle for PC on Amazon for free and read it on your computer. You can also enter a contest to win a free copy by visiting WOW! Women on Writing website – click HERE.

Author, Lorie Huston, DVM

Book Review – AAA Traveling with Your Pet

March 20, 2012

Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook

If you are a AAA member and love to travel regularly with your pet, then “AAA Traveling with Your Pet” can be a helpful book. However, it is not for the one-time traveler. You can get more information online for free.

For a full book review, visit our Pet Auto Safety Blog.

Book Review – “From Baghdad, with Love” by Jay Kopelman

September 27, 2011

From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava

I really enjoyed “From Baghdad, with love“. The graphic language was disturbing but that is what made it such an interesting read. It was raw and real and opened my eyes to what our American soldiers have to deal with. “From Baghdad, with Love” is written by a United States Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman with Melinda Roth. And I should warn that it should not be read by young children. The realities of war are ugly and this marine doesn’t hold back.

“From Baghdad, with Love” is about the Marine Jay Kopelman and a puppy he met in Fallhujah. This puppy was found in an abandoned house which the Marines were storming. As they eased into the house to do a search, they heard clicking noises and thought it could have been the enemy taking the pins out of grenades. They were awfully surprised when they found this cute little puppy instead. The Marines named the puppy Lava for the nickname of their own battalion, the Lava Dogs. The Lava Dogs are the First Battalion, Third Marines and they named themselves as such for hard rock in Hawaii where they trained.

Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman has a way of telling the story that is both humorous and intense. As I am reading this story, I am biting my nails one moment then laughing like crazy the next. One such quote sticks in my mind, “…the best part is how these Marines, these elite, well-oiled machines of war who in theory can kill another human being in a hundred unique ways, become mere mortals in the presence of a tiny mammal.”

Lava is a special puppy in the sense that the military is not supposed to keep pets. Under General Order 1-A, they are not to keep pets or mascots or to care for or feed any type of domestic or wild animals. Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman knows this but he can’t help but to risk breaking the rules with Lava. When the Marines found the puppy, they could have left him to fend for himself or killed him. But as Jay Kopelman says, The Marines are “Warriors, yes – puppy killers, no.”

As the Marines care for Lava, it soon becomes very clear that they will need to do something with him before they leave. Lava has become dependent on people and will surely die if they abandon him. But since they were not allowed to take care of Lava in the first place, finding a way to save him is difficult to the extreme.

But that is not the only thing that makes saving Lava problematic. It is not easy getting a dog out of Baghdad. Paperwork has to be completed. Borders are highly guarded and it is difficult for anyone to pass the border. The Marine couldn’t do it by himself because he was on duty. He got a reporter, an Iraqi, a military dog handler, and many more people to help.

Not only was there the risk of the Lieutenant Colonel getting in trouble for breaking the rules with a pet, but there was a risk to Lava as well. His very life was in danger. If a commanding officer gave the order to shoot all stray dogs, Lava could be a victim as well since he is not supposed to be a pet. Sadly, orders such as this are sometimes given out and then carried out meticulously. Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman says, “… and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone shoot my puppy.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman also shares some information about the elite military working dogs. These dogs definitely save lives since they are a thousand times better than any machine that humans have designed to detect bombs. As such, they are treated extraordinarily well while in service. But the reality is that when they retire, most are unadoptable and so have to be euthanized.

I mention and Jay Kopelman mentions these dogs because it is through one of the handlers of these dogs that Lava gets help. As stated before, saving Lava was not easy. Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman does everything he can to get Lava to the US but he is forced to rely on others for assistance. He is oftentimes helpless as he waits anxiously to hear news on Lava’s status. “I pray that if Lava doesn’t make it through, he’ll find a body somewhere in Baghdad to keep him alive for just one more day.” “… I want Lava to stay alive… I want to know he’s breathing and leaping after dust balls and chasing imaginary enemies in his sleep.”

It took several tries before Lava finally made it to the US. When the Marine found out, he admitted that he cried with joy and relief. When Lava arrives in the US, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman is there waiting. While waiting, the news media asks, “What would you tell people who might suggest your time would have been better spent saving people instead of a dog?” He never answered the question, but this is what he would have liked to say, “… we’re not supposed to save anybody, it’s not our job, and if it was, we’d be shipping peace activists by the boatload over here to try to talk the insurgents into liking us.” He is also thinking, “Why wasn’t my time spent helping people instead of a puppy? I don’t know, and I don’t care, but at least I saved something.”

War is ugly. You have to wonder how these men and women involved make it through. How is it that they all don’t end up with post-traumatic stress syndrome? When all they are doing is killing and seeing death, how can they keep their sanity? “From Baghdad, with Love” is amazing because it shows that even when surrounded by the most inhumane conditions, that these trained killers can still be subdued with human emotion. If a fuzzy ball of fur can melt the heart of a trained killer, then there is hope for us all.

Book Review – “On Toby’s Terms” by Charmaine Hammond

September 10, 2011

On Toby's Terms

I didn’t realize when I bought this that a short story about Toby story is also in “Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul, What I Learned from the Dog”.  In the “Chicken Soup” book, Toby was featured as a great therapy dog.  With his help, people at the hospital were taught patience, assertiveness, and more.  But “On Toby’s Terms” by Charmaine Hammond was about much more than just how Toby helped people at the hospital.  Toby had some issues… some fairly severe behavior issues which the owners Charmaine and Christopher had to work through and eventually accept.

This is a joyous story.  I love reading stories about dogs, especially real dogs who have made a real difference in people’s lives.  Charmaine stated in her book that both she and her husband Christopher are better people because of Toby.  But according to Toby’s story, they aren’t the only ones who were touched by this special dog.

Toby’s behavior issue was a severe form of separation anxiety.  When Charmaine and Christopher left Toby alone for even a short time, they often came back to a house destroyed.  he tore up closets, emptied bookshelves, and broke the lid on the toilet.  Charmaine jokes about how many toilet lids they have to replace, but coming home to such a mess was not funny.

Charmaine and Chris tried everything they could think of to help Toby with his problem.  They hired a dog behaviorist, tried crating him, and they gave him a job.  It was the dog behaviorist’s idea to give Toby a job.  Toby’s separation anxiety probably stemmed from losing his previous owner who went to the hospital and never came back.  Toby was probably unsure about his place in the world and having a purpose might help.

So Charmaine got Toby enrolled as a therapy dog.  Ever Wednesday, he went to the hospital and brought joy to many of the patients.  Toby excelled, but his separation anxiety did not go away.  It lessened and Toby made great improvements, but even today he still has issues.

So “On Toby’s Terms” isn’t about how Charmaine and Chris cured Toby’s problems, it is the journey of how Toby came to be a better dog and Charmaine and Chris had their lives enriched because of him.  Toby did some naughty things, but he is such a happy-go-lucky dog that a his owners still cherished him despite his short-comings.  If a dog can give unconditional love, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should give it back in return?

On Toby’s Terms” is an inspirational story that we can all learn from.  No one and no dog is perfect but we all have something to give if only given the chance.  Read about Toby’s journey and adventures in “On Toby’s Terms” and you will not be disappointed.

Book Review – “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” by Agnes Green

August 4, 2011

A good friend just recently told me about this book, “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” by Agnes Green.  Once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop.  It is a true story about a dog named Annie who was raised in a puppy-mill.  Because she was a pup of a mixed litter, she was allowed run free on the farm instead of being locked up in a tiny little cage.  But this freedom made her almost wild.  She was terrified of everything from noises, unfamiliar objects, and people.

But Annie’s story isn’t about her life at the puppy-mill, it is about her rehabilitation to become a family pet.  In Chapter 1 of “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” Agnes calls Annie, Little Orphaned Annie.  Agnes talks about how they came to adopt Annie.  Annie, at first, they took Annie for a short trial period.  When the noise of children playing in the snow frightened Annie, she escaped and bolted.  But miraculously, she found her way back to the place she had stayed for only three days.  Shortly thereafter, Agnes and her family adopted Annie.  In Chapter 1, Agnes also tells more about what she learned of Annie’s life at the puppy-mill.

In succeeding chapters of “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” Agnes talks about Annie’s adjustment to her new life.  At first Annie hid.  Oftentimes Annie was so nervous that she didn’t feel comfortable eating or drinking.  She didn’t like to be petted.  Sometimes she was even afraid of certain clothes that Agnes and her family wore.  She was afraid of everything.  Amazingly, Annie felt safer when she was on a leash and some of her rehabilitation occurred on a leash.

There were also trials of finding the right dog trainer.  There are different methods to dog training.  Because of Annie’s nervousness and fear, the harsher methods just weren’t right for her.  For example, leash popping was a big no-no for Annie.  Agnes did a good job of researching training methods and trainers.  She explains in great detail about what worked best for Annie.  There were often setbacks.  Agnes described it as ‘two steps forward and one step back”.

I learned a lot by reading “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess”.  I have only just recently learned the full extent of positive reinforcement training.  “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” goes into it much further and explains why it is so important for a dog like Annie.  Annie is already fearful and I could easily see how the harsher methods of dog training would have been counterproductive for her.

“Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” will help anyone who wishes to adopt a puppy-mill dog.  By reading about Annie, they can learn the best training methods and also be aware of how long it might take.  Annie is still being rehabilitated but she has come a very long way in the almost two years that the book covers.

Thank you Agnes for educating us and for sharing this wonderful story about Annie.  Visit the blog for “Diary of a Puppy-Mill Princess” at http://diaryofapuppymillprincess.com/ and purchase this great story for yourself.

Book Review – Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog

July 26, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Dog: 101 Stories about Life, Love and Lessons

Chicken Soup for the Soul is full of short stories shared by people all over the country.  Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog is full of stories about dogs.  There are over one-hundred shared such stories and each more moving than the last.

Several of the short stories I read stand out.  One of the first stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog was about a dog who reminds me of Sephi.  The dog pretty much keeps to himself most of the time.  He doesn’t care to be petted and doesn’t do the happy greet that many dogs do when the owner’s come home.  That is very much like my Sephi.  And what did these owners of this dog learn?  The same thing that I learned – like people, every dog is different and can be loved for their own special qualities.

I also read a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog about a little girl who was walking by herself after dark.  On the way, some men in a car tried to entice her to get in with them.  Out of the blue, a big dog comes along and walks the girl the rest of the way home.  The men left and the little girl was safe.  That little girl never saw the dog again.  Was he heaven sent?

Some stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog did not start out so well.  A woman inherits a dog from her mother who just passed away.  The dog is big hassle and the woman considers giving her away.  But something happened over time.  It turns out the dog was having just as much trouble coping with the death of his owner as the daughter was coping with the death of her mother.  They bonded through mutual grief and built a loving relationship.

My favorite story in Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog is the story about the homeless man.  He is at the lowest point in his life and contemplates suicide.  The only thing that saved him is the thought of leaving his two little Shih-Tzu dogs behind to fend for themselves.  All though this Shih-Tzus did not pull him out of the river, they saved his life nonetheless.

Dogs can teach us many things.  The stories which stood out the most show how dogs teach unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, discipline, positive outlook, and the joy of giving.  Reading Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I Learned From the Dog made me think of my own dogs, both present and past.  There is no doubt that dogs do something special for us.

New Harry and Lola Book – Harry and Lola in Scotland

July 20, 2011

Harry and Lola in Scotland

If you are a fan of Harry and Lola, you will love the new book, Harry and Lola in Scotland.  In this book, Harry and Lola, two Aberdeen Scottish Terriers, magically visit their ancestral homeland.  In Scotland, they have quite an adventure.

Harry and Lola first visit a Scottish castle near Aberdeen called Dunnottar Castle.  At this castle, they meet a black Scottish Terrier named Mac Duff.  Visiting the castle is fun and educational, but the adventure really begins when Harry and Lola meet a dragon.

Find out what happens by reading Harry and Lola in Scotland.  The book can be purchased at http://www.harryandlola.org/, Amazon.com, or other bookstores.  All proceeds from the book go to Aberdeen Scottish Terrier Rescue.

Dog Training Tip – The First Command to Teach Your New Dog

June 20, 2011

Puppy Whisperer: A Compassionate, Non Violent Guide to Early Training and Care

‘Look’ or ‘focus’ is the foundation command for all other commands.  If you can get your dog to look at you, then you can get him to pay attention to what you have to tell him next.  This is touched on in several pet training books and manuals including “The Puppy Whisperer”.  “The Puppy Whisperer” calls it ‘pay attention’.

Before you teach the command ‘look’ or ‘focus’ find a special treat which your dog loves.  Make sure the treat is relatively healthy and can be broken down into small pieces.  Next, make sure to do training before meal times so that he is hungry for the treats.  And make sure he has just had a walk so that he is not overly energetic.

Hold the treat in your hand and get your dog’s attention by saying his name.  Just as your dog looks at the treat say ‘look’.  Then give him the treat and tell him he is a good dog in a lavish voice.  Training sessions should only last 5 minutes or so.  Do 2-3 sessions of 5 minutes each daily.

After a few days, you may notice that your dog looks automatically at the treat and you barely have time to say the command.  At this point in training, say your dog’s name and the ‘look’ command right away.  As soon as your dog looks at the treat, give him the treat and tell him he is a good dog.  If your dog doesn’t look, say ‘eh eh’ and take the treat out of his sight.

After a few days or so into training where your dog consistently looks at the treat in your hand when you say ‘look’, hold the treat for longer before giving it to him and praising him.  Hold for 3 second and slowly work your way to 10 seconds as training progresses and your dog succeeds.

When your dog is successful at reaching the 10 second hold it is time to move to the next step.  Say ‘look’, hold for two seconds and slowly move the treat towards your face and to your eyes.  When your dog looks in your eyes say ‘look’ again.  Then give him the treat, tell him he is a good dog, and praise lavishly.  After only a few successful sessions, stop saying ‘look’ the first time and only say it once when he looks you in the eyes.

Eventually, you are going to want to say ‘look’ without a treat in your hand.  Keep treats handy.  And when you give the command and he looks at you, give him the treat.  When your dog consistently becomes successful at looking in your eyes when you say ‘look’, slowly wean him off the treats.  You will still want to tell him he is a good dog and give him praise.

Some dogs may pick up the ‘look’ command right away while others may take longer.  Don’t get discouraged.  Every dog is different and learns differently.  The ‘look’ or ‘focus’ command will be used throughout your dog’s life.  Begin each training session with the ‘look’ command so that you know you have his full attention.  Check out “The Puppy Whisperer” for more great tips on raising a dog.

Dog Book Review – The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

June 5, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein is about the life of a family through the eyes of a dog.  Enzo is no ordinary dog.  He has a very keen understanding of human emotions and interactions.  While his family go through trials and tribulations, Enzo is there to lend a helping paw.

Denny is the human Enzo is most loyal to.  Denny is an aspiring race car driver who is very good at what he does.  Enzo follows him through life where he meets a wonderful woman named Eve, they marry and have a beautiful daughter name Zoe.  But Eve dies young.  Denny struggles to maintain custody of his daughter as Eve’s parents (who Enzo titles as the Evil Twins) scheme to keep her away from him.

Obviously with such trials on his family, Denny’s ambition to become a professional racecar driver takes a backseat, so to speak.  It’s Denny’s love of car racing which gives this book its title.  But “The Art of Racing in the Rain” isn’t really about car racing.  Although Enzo, the narrator of the story, uses car racing idioms the book is really about life – the ability of ordinary people to overcome difficult circumstances.

Once I got started, I had a difficult time putting this book down.  I read a quarter of it the first night, then a quarter another night, and I finished off the last half of the book in half a day.  I hated the “Evil Twins” as much as Enzo.  And I admired Denny’s strength and goodness throughout.  “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a well written book which any dog lover will love.  Check out “The Art of Racing in the Rain” at our Amazon.com affiliate site, Dog Lover’s Book Store.


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