Last night, Shiva and I curled up on the couch together and witnessed an event I never thought possible. On the television in front of us was a dog training show that did not star a bully. I knew we had a winner when the television trainer only laughed at the sight of dozens of dog beds placed throughout the house. The Bully would have picked up every single bed and accused the unfortunate humans of dog abuse.
That’s right, It’s Me or the Dog has finally made it to Canadian television. After watching one episode, I couldn’t be happier. Finally we have a show that may actually help people and their dogs form better relationships. Finally there is another option on the airwaves. I wish it had been on the air back in 2009. Our struggles may have been a lot easier.
At the very least I would have had a little hope.
It shouldn’t have been so shocking that host Victoria Stillwell seemed to like animals and their people. She seemed to enjoy her job. She even did a happy dance when Cooper the Boxer achieved success. This – to me – is what a good dog trainer looks like. Enthusiastic, supportive, practical, and kind.
Even though she didn’t raise her voice the entire time or perform any death-defying alpha rolls, the show remained interesting. By the end, I was almost crying for the humans who now had the tools to help their dog. I could relate so well to their struggles. It wasn’t too long ago, I was thinking and saying a lot of the same things.
I just hope the people who need to watch the show will know it is on. I hope the people looking for help will come across It’s Me or the Dog before that other show about puppies.
In a roundabout way, this brings me to the central purpose for this post: a friend of mine has asked me for some dog book recommendations. She is thinking of adopting a dog but wants to have all the facts before making a decision. I commend her on doing her research and am hoping she makes some smarter reading choices than I did. It’s still incredibly mortifying to admit how closely I tried to follow Cesar’s “rules” for bringing home a new dog.
I have come up with the obvious selections – McConnell’s The Other End of the Leash, Clothier’s Bones Would Rain From the Sky, Donaldson’s The Culture Clash, and Dunbar’s Before and After Getting Your Puppy. (The one good choice I did make all those years ago.)
What training books have you read? Which ones would you consider essential for every dog owner to read? Hopefully together we can create a list full of positive options!