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.