In a Dog's Heart: What Our Dogs Need, Want, and Deserve-and the Gifts We Can Expect in Return
What our dogs need to live a good life, and why we must come through for them
Over the two decades she has spent raising and training service dogs for people with disabilities, Jennifer Arnold has come to a unique and profound understanding of the human-dog bond. Though it may seem simple and instinctive, the friendship and devotion we share with our pets is a wondrous evolutionary development. Our two species have come to rely on each other for protection, companionship, comfort, and happiness—needs and benefits that go both ways. Yet when we step outside our designated roles and take on practices that require us to display dominance over our canine charges, we misread cues and misinterpret behavior, sometimes with disastrous results. Conversely, when communication between dog and keeper is clear and based on kindness and a willingness to see things through a dog’s eyes, the payoff for both dog and owner is tremendous. When respect and care are brought together, we come to know the inalienable goodness in a dog’s soul.
As the founder of Canine Assistants, Arnold has implemented and advanced a methodology—Choice Teaching—that pairs scientific and behavioral knowledge about dogs with gentle incentive and encouragement to extraordinary effect. But she does not consider herself a dog trainer; rather, she sees herself as a relationship expert who improves the connection between humans and dogs and in the process betters the quality of life for both. In a Dog’s Heart offers Arnold’s offers her best practices and useful tips that range over a dog’s whole life, including:
• how to choose the puppy that’s destined for you from a bustling litter and what you need to have on hand before you bring that puppy home;
• what to stock in your doggie first-aid kit;
• how to keep your pet safe from dangers at home and in the outside world;
• the challenges and rewards of adopting an older dog;
• how to help your dog overcome anxious behavior, from separation anxiety to thunderstorm phobia;
• when to recognize that it’s time to let go.
As in her bestselling first book, Through a Dog’s Eyes, Arnold illustrates what she’s learned through captivating and moving stories drawn from her experience. We learn about Grace, a black Lab who was rescued after she was thrown from a truck and delivered to Canine Assistants emaciated, dehydrated, and with a broken pelvis. As Grace recovered she displayed an usual gift for scent detection and now spends her days sniffing out bombs on the Israeli border. We meet Casper, a Lab-golden mix who works full-time at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, a best friend to kids undergoing cancer treatment, and a buddy ready to offer comfort as needed to the doctors on staff. We also discover the myriad ways in which dogs improve our lives—and what they need and deserve from us in return.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program, and I enjoyed it very much. In a Dog's Heart is part storytelling on dogs (I laughed and cried both), part care manual (health, safety), and part training. It's a great addition to any dog owner's library, and throughout the reading, I kept calling my dog over to give him extra hugs and kisses...so he loved me reading this book! I enjoyed the stories from the author's company, Canine Assistants, and the health information was also very informative. It is not a single comprehensive guidebook for any one issue such as training or health. Instead, it's a general roundup and overview chock full of great information, yet breaking up the information with anecdotes was a great way to keep my interest. Instead of information overload, I found myself wanting to read "just one more chapter." The only negative and the reason I can't give more than a three star rating is the author's opinions and instructions regarding food. She is in favor of the large commercial brands and names specific suggestions, and she does not like what she terms "boutique brands." I've done a good bit of research in finding the best food for my own dog, and not only do I strongly disagree with her strong support of the major brands, I'm confused as to why she would espouse foods with a main component of animal by-product rather than companies making dog food using organic, human grade ingredients. Especially since her argument against a raw food diet is that we humans wouldn't eat raw meat ourselves...well we also don't eat animal by-products either, which is the reason they're called by-products. I almost put the book down after reading the section on food, but continued, and I'm glad I did. The rest of the book was very informative, and most especially the author's continuous points made in a variety of different ways on the dangers of using "dominance theory" to train our dogs. I highly recommend the book...just not the pages on what food to feed your pet. For that, please do your own research.
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This book tries to cover a lot of ground, so it doesn't go into any great depth on the different topics covered, but it does a pretty good job of giving an excellent overview and suggesting resources for further reading. What I like most about the book is the author's obvious respect for dogs and understanding of their needs. The first chapter adapts Maslow's hierarchy of human needs to come up with a hierarchy of needs for dogs. In the space available, however, Jennifer Arnold offers quite a bit of practical advice on topics such as physical and emotional needs, veterinary concerns and first aid, basic commands for training purposes, choosing the right dog, the stages of puppyhood, adopting an older dog, and the absolute importance of socialization before 12 weeks old. Even more practical advice and detail is given in various appendices in the back of the book. The author is clearly adamant about the counter-productivity of dominance training a la Cesar Millan. I heartily agree with what she has to say about this kind of training. It does more harm than good, especially in the hands of people who don't have the first clue about dogs. Cave canem? No, cave homen! This will not be your only book in your reference library, but it will certainly be one of them.
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