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  • Writer's pictureDevan

Resource Recommendation: Let Dogs Be Dogs

Introducing, Summit K9 book and resource recommendations!

So I am going to begin sharing and reviewing some of my favorite learning resources, platforms, and books, as well as some top notch dog related entertainment. And where better to start than with the Monks of New Skete?!

The Art of Raising a Puppy is one of the first dog training resources I remember being exposed to. When I was 3 years old, my family brought home our first dog, Tug, an active Siberian Husky mix from an accidental litter. My dad dove into training with him, and some of my earliest memories were of Tug's training journey. We had The Art of Raising a Puppy in our house for as long as I can remember, and when I started training dogs seriously as an adult, that was the first resource I picked up.

It wasn't until much later that I read Let Dogs Be Dogs, their more recent collaboration with Marc Goldberg, former president of the International Association of Canine Professionals, but I absolutely LOVED it. As I have progressed as a trainer and handler, my appreciation for their perspective on dog ownership and training has only grown. This book offers a much needed view on the importance acknowledging and honoring the true nature of the dog.

What I love about this book:

- It makes a point to honor the dog as a separate species with differing needs and desires from our own. One of my favorite lines, which seems to be a point made time and time again in various ways throughout the book, is "Part of the art of living with your dog is to give yourself unselfishly, and ungrudgingly, to the dog and its true needs, to honor it for the mysterious and beautiful creature that nature created."

- It serves as both a beautiful perspective on dog ownership and a manual for how to structure your relationship with your dog to create a successful partnership.

- It dives into the potential for dog ownership and training to help the handler grow as a person. It challenges owners to dig deeper into their relationships, and to learn how to be a better person through working with your canine partner.

- It encourages owners to use their dogs as a means of connecting with nature, and as a reminder to be more present in the moment.

- It explores the interrelation of emotion and training, which, in my opinion, is an area often neglected in training resources.

- It offers specific case studies of interactions with clients and their dogs, bringing real world examples into the topics that they discuss.

This is a great book for dog enthusiasts, pet owners, pet professionals, and dog trainers alike. There is so much value in this book beyond your usual "how to" guide, and I enjoy it more with each read.

As a taste for the style of the writing and the type of topics discussed, here are some of my favorite excerpts!

"Good training always serves the friendship, creating a level of trust and dedication that is shared by both dog and owner."

"Sometimes it really is kinder to teach a dog, in a compassionate but authoritative way, You're just not allowed." (This one was HUGE for me, and I credit this line to my dive into balanced dog training. This was a major "aha! moment," where I really began to appreciate the difference between what made me feel good in the short term versus what made my dog happier in the long term. There is a kindness to setting boundaries that create clarity for the dog.)

"Learning the value of silence is learning to listen to, instead of screaming at, reality: opening your mind enough to find what the end of someone else' sentence sounds like, or listening to a dog until you discover what is needed instead of imposing yourself in the name of training."

"Good parents don't apologize for accepting that role in the lives of their young children. They understand that it is their responsibility to provide guidance and structure, and they are not intimidated by occasional outbursts of resistance and complaining. They know they have the best interest of the child in mind, and with this resolve they grow more relaxed and confident in their role."

"A dog knows its need for guidance and flourishes when it's given"

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