“Oh no” you think to yourself as you see the sunrise jogger heading your way with yellow Lab bounding along a few steps behind. You scan the environment for a car to hide behind before Fido begins his Jekyll and Hyde transformation.
Yes, this is a book for the people who know only too well that not all dogs like all other dogs and people.
I loved this book right from the start. It felt like the author, Annie Phenix, was speaking directly to me. She knew exactly what I have experienced. It’s a huge comfort to know it’s not just you – there are many pet parents out there who understand. So many in fact, that there is an informal title for those of us who go out of our way to walk our pups at times we’re unlikely to encounter anyone else. We are “The Midnight Dog Walkers”.
Annie has written a touching and informative book that both reassures the reader with a leash reactive or aggressive dog that they are not alone, and also provides clear guidance about what you can do to help your beloved companion. Through heartfelt text, and beautiful photography, life-long dog lover, rescuer, and professional trainer, Annie Phenix shares her experiences with, and the lessons she has learned from, some of the many, many dogs in her life.
Within 220 pages, Ms. Phenix offers insight for the seemingly increasing population of reactive and aggressive dogs, and support for the people who share their lives with them. If you’re considering getting a puppy then you’ll do well to heed the advice on thorough research of the breeder. If you’re uncomfortable with the aversive training methods that are being recommended to you, listen to that inner voice. And if you already find yourself at the other end of the leash from a lunging, barking pup, it’s not necessarily about what you did or didn’t do, but in this book you’ll find a really clear and helpful explanation of the way our dogs learn, and a very personal guide to working through the process of changing your dog’s behavior.
This is a beautifully honest book. It’s a must-read for anyone with a reactive or aggressive dog, or for anyone who finds their sweet puppy becomes a leash-biting Tasmanian Devil upon the sight of a dog/bike/skateboarder when out on a walk. It could also make a great “surprise” gift for the well-meaning but misguided friend or neighbor who doesn’t understand why your dog suddenly becomes “crazy”.
Our dogs offer us so much. Trying to really understand them is the least we can do to offer them the life they truly deserve. Annie Phenix has presented an eloquent and compelling case to take the time to really get to know the dog you have welcomed into your life and home, to help them become the best dog they can be, and not to be lured by promises of quick training fixes for an all too common behavioral issue.
This post was written by Als