For thousands of years, dogs and people have looked after each other, played, grown, and learned together. It is one of the greatest friendships there is. This fun and engaging guide will teach you how to choose your dog and find a perfect name. You will learn how dogs think, ways of training your dog, all about health and nutrition, and how to be the best dog owner you can be.
Suitable for all ages from seven years right up to adult. The colourful illustrations are by Jennifer Farley.
When I first saw this book, I had our friends' Mr Nine in mind as he has a new puppy and is still learning the finer points of training. However, I have not yet had a chance to share it with him and get his opinion because Mr 19 saw it, and insisted that he needed to read it first. He too has a new dog - a delightful mini Schnauzer named Asher - and is having a wonderful time learning to train him. (I suspect it is Asher who is doing the training rather than Mr 19, but I am staying out of it!
What did impress me was the way a book as straightforward and easy to read as this one still has appeal for a young adult. Living in Auckland, Mr 19 has been hit by recent lockdowns as have his friends. Communications have been reduced to zoom meetings; he has never been on Messenger and Instagram so much! But the arrival of a puppy was just the thing he needed. Dogs and cats are wonderful companions, especially for a young person who is stuck at home, but whereas cats are self-sufficient and make their own rules, dogs need to be trained to behave so that they don't alienate their humans as they mature.
Mr 19 and I had several interchanges via the internet as he worked his way through the book. I had read it and taken notes first before posting it on to him for review purposes, so was pretty familiar with the content. He has since read it several times from cover to cover and every so often has mentioned a particular passage that he has found interesting. We both thought the section on choosing a bed for your dog was hilarious. Where else would Asher sleep but on his human's bed?
We found the page on bad foods especially useful. It is easy to think of dogs as omnivores who will automatically enjoy whatever humans eat. However, there are some foods like chocolate and onions that are toxic to dogs and can even be fatal in quantity. It is important that a new dog owner understands the limitations around what dogs can safely be given; I like the way this page is set out so clearly as it means even a very young dog owner can follow it. It is simply stated without being dumbed down.
Both of us enjoyed the acknowledgements at the end of the book, where photos of the dogs who "helped" are included. It adds a personal touch to the narrative and reinforces that the author has gained his information by observing real animals, his own pets and other people's, and is not just referring to abstract ideas. And Mr Nine? He is still waiting patiently to read the book himself. But as Mr 19 carefully explained to him, this is not a book for children - it is a book for dog lovers of all ages so he will have to wait his turn.
Take the Lead: How to Care for your Dog is a delightful book that offers a fun and practical guide to looking after and training your dog. Murphy is our furbaby who was welcomed into our family just over a year ago. My 11-year old and 13-year old kids have been tasked with taking responsibility for him. Training is going so so, but I thought this book would be a good reminder for them and give them some additional tips on how to care for Murphy.
The book starts with an Author's Note which informs us that Elena Brown has been around dogs all her life. She gives a simple but effective message - if you give them (dogs) care, they will give you love and loyalty. There are 22 short chapters covering whether you are ready for a dog, how to choose a dog, training, tricks, feeding, grooming, communication, and health. Each chapter is short, with the longest being 4 pages. The book is written in a clear font and the large line spacing means the text is easy to read for kids. There are lots of great illustrations with the addition of photos which help to break up the text. Overall, this provides a basic, but complete guide that is excellent for younger readers.
Both my daughters read this from cover to cover and my eldest particularly loved the section on Working Dogs and Heros as she had just completed a project on this. My youngest is currently trying to teach Murphy new tricks and the chapter on the different seasons was also informative (even I learned something here!) If you are thinking of getting a dog, or have recently just added a dog to your family, this is a thorough and entertaining read. I highly recommend it, especially if you want your children to understand the responsibilities that come with owning a dog.
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