Am I Boring My Dog?

Am I Boring My Dog: And 99 Other Things Every Dog Wishes You Knew - Edie Jarolim

That's a very good question.  And this is a very good book -- although it doesn't technically answer the question in the way I was expecting to see it.  


I already know my dog is sometimes bored, and I was looking for, not only suggestions as to how to keep her engaged but also instructions in specific ways to implement exercises, games and toys into her daily regimen.  (Because for one thing, she is one of those difficult dogs who don't enjoy toys.  She doesn't like Tug, or Find.  She will on occasion deign to Fetch.  She isn't interested in toys of the stuff or chew varieties.  And yet, she is a very active dog and obviously needs more physical and mental stimulation.)


The author spent the first two-thirds of the book on breed selection and traits, ensuring that you select a dog that fits in with your lifestyle and family; food choices; finding a vet; the minimal items you need before you bring your dog home; then the health and wellness maintenance and safety knowledge you need.  Obviously these are all things you need to know, and it was complete and authoritative, and I did learn a thing or two here but most anyone who has ever owned a dog knows these things already.  Although it wasn't new, it was presented in an entertaining way with humorous anecdotes and I enjoyed it, it just wasn't what I was looking for.


The big thing that I did learn in this section is that the ASPCA created a program called Meet Your Match, and encourages it's use by breeders and shelters.  The Shelter evaluates each animal based on criteria observed in a testing situation, and depending on how the animal scores on each task, he fits into one of nine groups identified by behaviors such as exuberant or laid-back, highly affectionate or "really, don't touch me," level of exercise required, etc.  The family looking to adopt an animal is asked to fill out an either-or type of questionnaire as to what specifics they are looking for.  This helps to make sure they get the animal with the best fit for them, and results in fewer returns to shelters.  This sounds like an excellent program. It was created over ten years ago. (Now I can't find the date again, so that's as specific as I can get.)  Although it has been in place that long, it hasn't yet spread everywhere.  I have volunteered at shelters in three different cities in that time period and none of them are using this method.  Judging by the number of animals returned at these shelters and the reasons for the returns, it seems like this would be a must-add kind of program.  


the next three chapters were closer to my expectations.  They included information on all kinds of classes from Rally to Agility, and games like frisbee and flyball, as well as where to find competitive venues, and other avenues you can explore such as Therapy-Assistance programs and tracker dog volunteers.


I checked out this book from the public library, but it is one I plan to buy to add to my own.