My Smart Puppy
by: Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson
Published by: Warner Books
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Reviewed by Anne-Gigi Chan
My Smart Puppy is a puppy-training guide with techniques based on understanding the natural behavior dog behavior. The first part focuses on puppy behavior and development and the authors' approach to training. The second section is the actual step-by-step training. The final section is all about 'troubleshooting' common behavior problems. Throughout, the authors also discuss how to overcome specific training problems, and what situations need professional help. The writing style is light, fun and chatty--like having a one-on-one session with your personal dog trainer.
As a veterinarian and an owner of a very active Labrador Retriever, discussions on dog behavior and training advice are very informative, sound and practical. The authors are obviously know the topics and can provide very useful advice for owners especially about how to read the puppies' body language as well as what to do and not do during training. I may disagree with some of their views on certain training tools/methods as those are methods or tools have worked well for me. Having said that, they mentioned that different methods work for different people and dogs--and never claimed their method were the be-all-and-end-all method.
As a practicing veterinarian, one specific aspect disappointed me. They should have done more research on medical facts: they provided erroneous information about why white dogs are more likely to be deaf. They stated that "myelin, a compound that colors skin, is necessary for the auditory nerves to work," when in fact, the pigment in the skin is melanin, not myelin (myelin is the phospholipids that surrounds axons in certain neurons). White dogs lack the melanin-producing cells called melanocytes, which play an important part in the development of certain structures within the inner ear; melanin does not affect the function of the auditory nerves.
Overall, I believe that My Smart Puppy delivers a humane, practical and fun approach for owners to understand and train their dogs. The authors know what they are talking about when it comes to dog training.
Armchair Interviews says: As a dog-training guide, this is definitely a valuable tool.
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