With Spring here, kids are headed to the outdoors, and some already are dreaming (and begging) for a puppy they can run around with, play with, and simply call their new best friend. I found this a lovely book to help parents (as well as other types of want-to-be dog owners) decide if a dog is right for them, and which one might be the best fit.
by Dixie Tenny
Bringing a new dog into the household should be one of life’s happiest events. The process always starts with excitement and high expectations. Too often, though, it ends in disappointment. The new puppy wakes everyone three times a night, gnaws on furniture, piddles everywhere, knocks the children down. The new adolescent dog is too wild. The new adult dog growls at your neighbors. And where did all this dog hair come from?
Most people spend hours researching a new mattress, days researching a new car, and weeks researching a new home or job. Yet for a new dog, a companion for the next 10-15 years, the most they do is visit the nearest shelter or pet shop and buy whatever looks cute and appealing. It’s no wonder they end up disappointed.
Whether you are looking for a purebred puppy or a charming mixed-breed, the type of dog you bring into your home matters. A quiet owner will struggle to keep up with a high-energy labrador mix, for instance, while an active outdoor family will be impatient with a snoozy bulldog. And finding the right kind of dog means becoming the right kind of owner—a task that takes some forethought and planning.
How To Find Your Dream Dog is here to fix the disconnect of dog ownership. It walks you step-by-step through the process of choosing the right type of dog for you—not only exploring the canine qualities that can determine your perfect puppy, adolescent, or adult dog, but also assessing your lifestyle to make sure you’re a good match for the dog, too. The book also looks at good (and bad) sources for finding healthy and sound pet dogs, gives guidelines for evaluating individual puppies, and warns of some red flags to watch out for during your dog search. With this guidebook in hand, you can be confident that the next puppy or dog you bring home will be the right companion and friend for you for the rest of its days.
Dixie Tenny is a Certified Training Partner with the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior. During her 30+ years spent working with people and their pets, she has seen again and again how mismatches between dog and owner can create “behavior problems” that never would have happened if the right dog had been matched to the right owner in the first place. She wrote this book to help puppy buyers and dog adopters start out on the best possible foot with their new pet dogs, and stay on that path for years to come.
With true life examples, the author guides potential dog owners not only through more information concerning dogs themselves, but to the knowledge of what a dog truly means within a family.
At only 150 pages, this is a short but rich dive into the question of how to choose the right dog for the family. Unlike some pets, the author uses these pages to make it clear that the dog will be a real part of the family and this should be realized even before a dog is brought home. Through two real life examples using the same puppies, it's illustrated how different the experiences can be depending on the families themselves.
This book is broken down into four sections (preparing for the dog, choosing the dog, puppies and adult dog) and covers everything from breed types, to temperament, to care, and to the family's own situation and lifestyle. Through this lovely overview, especially new dog owners get a good glimpse at what a dog might mean to them and the impact it might really have on their lives. This, however, is not a detailed book on more specific questions concerning dog health and such.
The love and concern the author has for dogs shines through the pages as does her knowledge and experience. Taking on a dog is not a small matter, and that point is brought across clearly. Each breed of dog and their age carries attributes, which influence it's behavior under different circumstances, and this is touched upon. Not all breeds are good with kids, nor can all breeds handle being alone while the family is away all day. Special attention is given to puppies, where the author compares them to bringing a young child into the family, and emphasizes the large amount of patience and work required.
Summed up, this is a wonderful glimpse at the real impact a dog will have on the family, and what future owners should be aware of and expect. The author encourages while being informative, and offers a great guide into helping choose the correct dog to join the family.
And here she is. . .
Dixie Tenny has been helping people and their dogs find each other and form successful partnerships since the early 1980s. She founded Purebred Dog Rescue of Saint Louis in 1984, which as far as she knows was the country’s first organization that combined the efforts of people who worked in rescue for many breeds under the umbrella of one organization. After moving to Seattle, Washington, she co-founded Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue, Inc. (SPDR) in 1987. She was involved in running this organization for the better part of thirteen years. SPDR was featured in the American Kennel Club Gazette, where Dixie was referred to as the “Matriarch” of purebred rescue. SPDR, still operating successfully as of this writing, utilizes hundreds of wonderful volunteers to work with several thousands of dogs each year, with great success due to their rigorous evaluation and placement policies and their use of specialized breed representatives. The organization received an award from the Humane Society in Bellevue, Washington, due to the fact that SPDR’s help in placing the shelter’s purebreds allowed many more mixed breeds to be placed successfully as well. Dixie also received the Seattle Kennel Club’s “Honor Our Own” award in 2001 for her work with SPDR. Twice, Dixie has been the recipient of the Gaines Good Sportsmanship medal.
Back in St. Louis in 2001, Dixie turned her attention to behavior and training. She was the Director of Training for the Greater St. Louis Training Club, Inc., for five years, creating classes and overseeing the work of 40 head and assistant trainers. In 2003 she and another experienced trainer created Dogs Unleashed, LLC. Dixie and her partner traveled to clients’ homes and worked with a wide range of behavior and training issues for four years. During this time Dixie attended many continuing education conferences featuring trainers such as Dr. Ian Dunbar, Kathy Sdao, Karen Pryor, and Suzanne Clothier. As Director of Training for GSLTC, Inc., Dixie arranged and hosted seminars in St. Louis featuring Dr. Patricia McConnell, Sue Ailsby, Dr. Roger Abrantes, Nicole Wilde, and Leslie Nelson of Tails-U-Win. During this period, Dixie also served for several years as a Judge for the Dog Writers’ Association of America annual awards.
In 2010, Dixie took the six-month course offered by the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, and qualified to become a Certified Training Partner for that organization. Dixie formed her own business, Human-Animal Learning Opportunities, LLC (HALO) in 2013. HALO hosted continuing education seminars for dog trainers, featuring Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz (three times), Mary Hunter (twice), Celeste Walsen of Courthouse Dogs, and Steve White. Dixie is also a Professional level member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, a founding member of Saint Louis Pet Experts, and a Silver member of SPARCS (Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science). Dixie’s own continuing education has included attending the annual conference put on by the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA), which features some of Dixie’s most respected animal trainers/researchers, including Kay Laurence, Ken Ramirez, Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Steve White, Alexandra Kurland, and others. Dixie took Kay Laurence’s challenging two-year online course, the Intelligent Dog Trainer Course (IDTC) in 2012-2013, and is proud to have received Certification with Recommendation on her Unit 1 work. This book and those that she hopes will follow came out of her Master Trainer project for the Kay Laurence course.
Dixie has lived with many dogs over the years, several mixed breeds as well as Australian, German, and English Shepherds, Welsh, Cairn, and Airedale terriers, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Golden Retriever, and an Irish Wolfhound. Other pets have included cats, birds, reptiles, hedgehogs, a beloved opossum, and more. Dixie has shown some of her dogs in conformation and obedience trials, created and taught Tricks classes, and dabbled in agility, K9 nose work, earthdog, and rally obedience. While in Seattle, Dixie raised a labrador puppy for Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. (CCI). Currently Dixie lives with a Beauceron and an elderly Papillon, and a Somali, a Chantilly, and two Abyssinian cats. When not doing things related to animals, she reads widely, enjoys the company of her three grown children, follows baseball and English Premier League football, and travels the world.
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