Team member Sarah Shephard, our UK representative has kindly agreed to write a book review each month (dog related). This helps not only you, the reader in finding a useful book but also Sarah in her quest to learn everything ‘dog’ and with that the need to buy lots of dog books. For Sarah’s first review (and one I have not got!) she has chosen to help guardians at the beginning of their dog’s life, the puppy, who can resist a bundle of cuddly cuteness (obviously us humans seeing as our relationship goes back a few thousand years (18,000 Payne et al 2018) but the evidence is even longer.
We hope you enjoy Sarah’s review and find it useful.
Life Skills for Puppies by Helen Zulch and Daniel Mills
We hadn’t had a puppy in the house for 10 years when we committed to giving a home to 12-week-old French rescue Juniper (who is now a sleek, silken, big, clever, and beautiful, one-year-old, with enormous paws, a ridiculously long tail and a huge, loving heart….).
Despite having had dogs all our lives my husband and I felt our knowledge of puppyhood and training was rusty; so much is changing about what the world knows about how dogs communicate, how they learn and how they respond to circumstances on an emotional level, and I wanted to bring myself up to speed on the best possible ways to give Juniper a secure and loving home where she could blossom with confidence.
A knowledgeable and well-read friend (I am ever grateful to you Cessi) recommended several books to prepare us for Juniper’s arrival and Life Skills For Puppies by Helen Zulch and Daniel Mills fast became a favourite.
Don’t be deceived by the fact that it’s a thin volume because it is packed with golden nuggets of advice, based on positive reinforcement. It is divided into ten sections, each covering a key skill to help your puppy to ‘practice appropriate behaviour choices within day-to-day situations’. The chapters include: ‘I have confidence’, ‘I like to be touched’, ‘I can be calm’ etc.
Written in a clear, compelling and uncomplicated style, Life Skills For Puppies is illustrated with helpful photographs so that you can properly visualise the skills you are enabling your puppy to learn. There are tips and worksheets for each section too, to help you track progress.
So keen and hooked was I that I read the book twice before Juniper had even arrived in our lives! And then I asked my husband to read it too. It gave us both the confidence we needed to give Juniper positive and consistent learning experiences from the very first day.
It was also the start of my knowledge-gathering obsession with all things dog behaviour and training! Giving Juniper a home has enriched my life in so many ways (and I do hope she might say the same about us if she could speak!) and Life Skills For Puppies set us on a great path from the outset.
If you are about to give a home to a puppy or want to give a great gift to a friend who has a new puppy, this book is essential reading in my view. It will help to steer you and your puppy towards a happy, harmonious and lifelong relationship from day one.