Before we got the dog we did a lot of reading…some are well known but here are some you might have missed. Today, I’ll be talking about books that will help you bond with your dog and keep your dog busy and entertained. In other posts, I’ll explore books about training and other topics.
Kyra Sundance is a trainer and her stunt dog team has been on a number of TV shows so I decided to check out a couple of her books.
The first book was 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond With Your Dog. It has great photos and step by step instructions for everything from basic obedience commands to more complicated tricks like taking a bow. I liked the fact the book includes “troubleshooting”, tips as well as the hand signal for each trick. I think this book will last most dog owners a while due to the good range of trick difficulty in the book. I would definitely recommend this book to any dog owners. List Price is $22.50 CDN/18.99USD
The second book was 10 Minute Dog Training Games: Quick and Creative Activities for the Busy Dog Owner. This book includes a wide range of activities you can do with your dog. This book also had plenty of clear photos to help readers understand the activities. It also includes a material list (frequently using objects most people have around the house), what your dog will get out of this activity, tips, and other activities in the book that build on that skill.
Some activities were simple to do (eg digging for treats out of a basket filled with newspaper) while others required a lot more pre-planning such as the balance beam that requires long boards and buckets or something else sturdy to place them on. Also, a few activities I felt weren’t appropriate for puppies (eg. weave poles) and one I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing on my own at all (teaching the dog to climb an actual ladder). Overall, I found this book was ok but I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you are very interested in teaching your dog agility and would like some ideas on how to get started using DIY equipment. List Price is $19.99CDN/$17.99USD
Mind Games for Dogs by Sara Whitehead is a small booklet (20 pages) but it has several good ideas for keeping dogs engaged. Everything suggested uses things items found around the house to make different “puzzles” or activities to keep your dog’s mind busy and out of trouble. There’s food based games (eg. get the food out of something), a couple of outdoor activities (eg. basic tracking), and some basic tricks. For $1.95 USD (for the Ebook) it’s worth checking out. Available from Dogwise.com
Canine Kingdom of Scent: Fun Activities Using Your Dog’s Natural Instincts by Anne Lill Kvam. This book takes you through the principles of nosework training and incorporates this into fun games for your dog to play. I found that our puppy didn’t get into every game (eg. she couldn’t care less to hunt for treats in the yard but maybe I needed to use a higher value treat) but there’s a good variety of activities in this book that there should be something for every dog (ours loves hide and seek). Each activity has clear instructions, photos and lists goal of the activity. The author also includes tips, ideas on how to expand on the activity, and things to keep in mind that might affect their success. I think the activities in this book would build a great foundation for anyone wanting to do formal tracking with their dog or has an active dog that needs a good challenge. I think the activities might be too challenging for a young puppy but it is suitable for an older one. Ebook is available for $9.95 from dogwise.com