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In a Dog's Heart: What Our Dogs Need,…

In a Dog's Heart: What Our Dogs Need, Want, and Deserve--and the…

by Jennifer Arnold

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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. ( )
  journeygirl | Mar 19, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I abhor many of the training methods being touted today and admire Jennifer Arnold's emphasis on compassion and kindness toward our dogs. Her advice on trying to see life through a dog's eyes is just plain sensible!
I especially enjoyed the chapter on the evolution of dogs, it makes much more sense than most of what is written. No wonder some owners are so harsh with their dogs, they are convinced they have a wolf in the house and of course they don't!
I would hope anyone considering a new puppy or dealing with a "difficult" dog would read, reread and apply her knowledge. Dogs deserve such treatment and in return we get a true best friend for as long as one of us is alive and sometimes, even after. ( )
  allenkl | Mar 15, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really liked this book. It help me and others understand a little more about dogs, and how to train them. I found this book really helpful, especially in this particular chapter "Common Household Toxins". This book its a easy read. I really enjoyed the book, I recommended to everyone. ( )
  ebbith0115 | Mar 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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. ( )
  JolleyG | Jan 12, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a librarything giveaway. In a Dog's Heart is a well written book. I had misgivings when she brought up disagreements with off shoots of Ceasar Milan's principles of alpha dog or dominance, but I do in the end agree with her. Some of the interpretations of Alpha male theory she has come across are disturbing and cruel, although she is not suggesting that Milan would be cruel.
There are many sections that are inspiring and thought provoking. One letter from a canine assisted adult described her seizures and the compassion from her dog, like I'd never really heard before. But probably her most sound advice is to train your dog so that it is protected from trouble and misunderstanding. When we expect too much or are too dominant we scare our dogs, and they respond in fear.
Great book. ( )
  EllenH | Dec 30, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679643710, Hardcover)

A Letter from Jennifer Arnold

Dogs are fascinating to me. That’s a good thing since working with them is my career. Twenty years ago, I founded a program called Canine Assistants and began teaching service dogs to work with people who have physical disabilities. We now have around 120 dogs with whom we are working at any given time and over 1,000 dogs already placed with recipients around the U.S. (and in five other countries.) My husband, Kent Bruner, is the staff veterinarian for Canine Assistants and he, our 9-year-old son Chase, and I live on the farm that is the program’s headquarters.

I started the program because I used a wheelchair for several years, due to the effects of an auto-immune disease, and I know first-hand how difficult even the simplest tasks can be when your body doesn’t do as it’s told. I’m also a lifelong animal lover so combining my own struggle with my great passion made sense.

Every day that I work with dogs, my adoration for them increases. I spend a great deal of time thinking about why dogs are so willing to help human beings. Is it because we feed and care for them or is it because they love us--often more than they seem to love themselves? The latter is closer to the truth I believe. A friend of mine recently said, “Dogs are the last truly nice guys on the planet.”

Loving and appreciating dogs as I do, the popular concept of having to dominate them physically and emotionally in order to “show them who is boss” breaks my heart. In fact, is based on a flawed understanding of canine genetics. Dogs do not understand the “mind games” this methodology employs. It also brings out the absolute worst in our own species. I am committed to helping people understand a better, kinder way to live and work with dogs.

I am certain that understanding and communication are the keys to a better relationship with our canine companions. In 2010, I wrote a book called Through a Dog’s Eyes that explains what we know, through both science and anecdotal evidence, about how dogs perceive the world. I explain why I teach dogs, not train them. It was a start.

Now, I have written a book called In a Dog’s Heart, about what our dogs want and need from us and why it’s important that we give it to them. In this book, I write about some practical things like food, veterinary care, exercise, and selecting a dog. I also write about breed bans, aggression issues, and guardianship vs. ownership.

At times I am straightforward to the point of bluntness about the wrongs we are doing to our dogs in the name of training. In some circles, I’m already being criticized for what I have written. I wish I could tell you that the unpleasantness doesn’t bother me a bit. I can’t. I am all too human. But, it won’t stop me. I owe dogs too much to be silent. We all do.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

Shares inspiring and scientifically important stories of dogs who have changed the world, from a rescued Labrador who detects bombs on the Israeli border to a Lab-Golden mix who provides comfort to child cancer patients at an Atlanta hospital.

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