“We should not just think about preventing harm, but also about providing good experiences”
Why did I get this book?
I’ve subscribed to Zazie’s newsletter Companion Animal Psychology for a few years and enjoyed the content, so when I found that she had composed a book it didn’t take me long to dive in.
What does this book do?
This book is about science. But, it’s also about improving our relationship with our dogs and throughout it, Zazie touches down on every aspect of a dog’s life. From where we acquire them, how we care for and entertain them, and all the way up to the end of their lives. In fact, this book has an entire chapter dedicated to saying goodbye and I would certainly be lying if I said that I didn’t cry, just a little when I traipsed through that chapter. Because oh my goodness it hurts. But, I applaud this book for including the end-of-life decisions and I really wish that more books would. This is also why I would warmly recommend this book to every average dog owner out there. I want to mention the chapter before the end of life too though because that also seems to be an overlooked subject in most publications: caring for seniors and dogs with special needs. The senior dog is so precious and yet overlooked which results in a vast amount of people who are simply unable to figure out how to care for them. And this is a shame. Not only for the dogs but for the people who miss out on the golden experience of living with a happy senior dog.
The rest of the book covers other far more common topics such as training, enrichment, exercise, nutrition, social needs, and so on. All in all, subjects that every dog owner needs to take into consideration when making the decision to expand the family with a four-legged companion dog.
What does this book not do?
Well, as described above it actually covers… everything. And I like that. But at times it can be quite sciency and that will likely put off a few people. If you’re on the less sciency side, but still want the info I can recommend “Sniff, Play, Bark” by Rebeca Mas instead, which is also a grand guide to a happy dog.
With Zazie’s vast background in psychology, I must admit I was surprised, and quite soon annoyed and put off by a recurring sentence in the book. Nearly every chapter featured some variation of “don’t punish your dog” and somehow it made me as a reader feel… less. Feel like she as an author didn’t expect the reader to have the mental capacity to get it the first few times, yet expect the reader to understand the sciency stuff. It might be a pet peeve of mine, but nonetheless, I found it annoying enough to say that the book overall lacks a supportive streak to make you feel like you’ve got it.
Where do I get this book?
Amazon, Audible, your local book store. It’s a fairly new publication, so it’s easy to find. I chose the audio version, narrated by Marlie Collins who is doing a very good job at that.