Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dexter's Doggie Book Review

Dexter here reporting on the latest books that I have read.

Unlike the RH who limits himself to simple minded books...

I, Dexter, read actual interesting books with no pictures, thank you very much.

The first book I want to share with you is called Trust the Dog.

It is all about a place called the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation where they train doggies to work and live with humans who cannot see. This book was great! I learned so much about how doggies train for work and about what it is like for humans who have lost their vision.

Not everything is a bed of roses in guide dog land. Sometimes things don't work out and the doggies cannot stay with their people and that is really sad. But for the most part, it is a very happy making book and I give it two paws up.

I am a big fan of mystery books with doggies in them. Of course I have read everything by Susan Conant (well, OK, just her books with the malamutes). She lives right here in Master Chew Sits and Momma and Angus even used to train at the same doggie club as her. Wow! And I just loved the books by Virginia Lanier.

What makes both those ladies great dog mystery writers is that they teach you a lot about doggies, their human AND dog characters are interesting, plus the mysteries themselves are pretty good.

But having exhausted their books, I sought new doggie mystery authors.

This one looked promising. Called Doggie Day Care Murder.

But it turned out to be stink a roo! First of all, their were human pups in the book. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like human pups as characters regardless of how small a role they play. This one even had a baby! Ick! But that's not the worst part. The plot was dumb, the doggies weren't interesting, AND the author left the fate of an Airedale unresolved at the end! Imagine momma's horror when she heard that. So this one gets paws down.

Then there is a book called Lost and Found which I thought I would try because it has a labradog on the cover

The Amazon description was promising. It even said, "Dog lovers will adore Sheehan's portrayal of Cooper, who, in contrast to all the human suffering, comprises the bright spot in a melancholy novel." OK, I'll bite. Guess what? It was some sort of mushy romance novel! Oh ick! Barf! Yeah, Cooper was kind of cool, but not worth slogging through predictable plot lines and girlie stuff. Gross (OK, Momma did warn me because she, too, had been duped into reading another book by the same author because it had an Irish Wolfhound on the cover).

This one is not about doggies at all, but I highly recommend it for any of you with humans of a "certain age." It is called The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain.

The subtitle is "The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind" so I thought it might help me understand the DOH a little better. Turns out that even though she forgets why she walked into a room her brain is actually improved in many ways from when she was younger. The author discusses the chemistry of changes in the brain over time and how they effect thoughts and behaviors (both good and bad). Seems like on average, humans are much better problem solvers and happier as they mature. Who knew? Don't be scared by the fact that there is lots of science in the book because the author is a talented writer who communicates in plain English.

She also wrote something called The Primal Teen which confirmed everything I already knew about teenage and young adult humans which is that their brains just don't work right yet even though they pass as adults sometimes.

I saved the best for last and this one, friends, is a real find. It is called A Dog About Town. And it is written by an ACTUAL LABRADOG! For real!!!

Not only that, he's a black lab, just like ME! His name is Randolph and he lives with his master in New York City and he is really really smart and helps his master solve the murder mystery. He talks about lots of places in NYC that doggies familiar with the city will recognize. I found his words completely plausible. He didn't just talk about the murder either, he talked about pee and poo and roaching and lots of really interesting stuff. In fact I snuck the rest of this series into momma's wish list on Amazon. FOUR PAWS UP!

Hey! Do any of you like to read dogggie books too? I am always looking for a good read, so let me know or, better yet, share your thoughts on your bloggie.

In other news, check out the peculiar covering Master put on my rock garden.

Momma was making a lot of noise about all the rocks that were coming out in my poops and so he did THIS! Can you believe it?

But fear not! After all, this is Master Chew Sits where rocks grow in the ground like weeds. Sure momma was picking up all the rocks she could that I had strategically placed about the yard, but who cares? In Master Chew Sits all you have to do is scratch the surface and voila! Snack time!

Now I just have to wait for her to go inside so that I can go about my business...

Dexter done!

P.S. From Momma - Dexter neglected to mention that we are also reading Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. This is just about the best dog training book I've ever read (thanks Wild Dingo mom). However, it is very slow going. I need to read a chapter and then think about it for a while and I think that in order to really apply a lot of the stuff you need to find a trainer that follows this method. I did buy the movie version to see if that helps me "get it" at all but haven't started watching it yet. The movie version is available from one of Dexter's favorite web sites, here.


Niamh said...

Hi Dexter,

Thanks for your great book reviews. It is good to know what not to waste money on that could better be spent on treats and toys. But we will have to check out the book written by that nice black lab.

We love the Controlled Unleashed book. Some trainers are teaching classes based on Leslie's methods (my girlfriend Scout is taking such a class). Unfortunately Leslie does not like to give seminars and the video is not that well done but your momma will get the idea.

Your friend,

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan and Bibi-Chan said...

That is a LOT of information, Dexter. #1 says she will be helping us o check those various books out. Thanks!


The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

great book review Dexter!

My Sons Mum said...

That last photo just makes me so HAPPY!

Aniemother said...

What great book reviews!


BRUTUS said...

We're reading Control Unleashed too! On page 59 to be precise. Mom thinks this lady has it all figured out, and maybe can help me with my zoomies! We are just getting to the part where she describes the exercises, so we'll have to let you know how this turns out! I don't think she gives any advice about recoverving from a rock-eating addiction, though...

Brutus the Frenchie

Heather and Ellie said...

I've read a few of those books, I agree that the one about Cooper was kind of disappointing...

The one about Fidelco looks interesting! I'd like to raise for them, but we're too far away to make the weekly trips to their training center. Oh well. suggestions..

If you haven't read Scent of the Missing, I would really recommend it. It's not about a Lab, and it's written from the human's perspective, but it's really, really good.
Puzzle (the dog) is a Golden Retriever being training as a search and rescue dog, but the book also talks about the author's searches with other dogs, too. It's just very well-written. No plot, but it's not the kind of book that would have one. You should try it.

hero said...

Thanks for the informative reviews... hope momma won't send you to REA, Dexter... Rock Eating Anonymous.

Licks, hero

Jazzi said...

MAN!! Dexter, you are so samrt to read all those books. You will be the smartest dog that I know. You will have to teach us all that you learn since we dont read like you do. Maybe you could hold a book class and have a book for all of us to read, that would be cool.


Ina in Alaska said...

I wish I could just read the books that are lying around that I have been meaning to read for so long!! The book about the murder mystery dog in NYC sounds really good though......

Thank you for your very kind words on my bloggie to my friend Elizabeth on the sudden death of her Sheltie, Jake. We love you guys!! xoxoxo

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

Dexter! How labsolutely nice of you to preview those books for us! Now we can skip straight to the good ones. Alfie spends a lot of time in the library but so far he has not learned to read. Do you give lessons? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good job on the book reviews, Dexter. Maybe you should contact The Bark and they could gives you a regular column or something!

Mom LUVS that Control Unleashed book a lot but she read it when I first got adopted and she thinks she needs to read it again. She also likes "When Pigs Fly," which is abouts training "difficult" dogs (which I'm not) but she gots some good stuff out of it she says. My mom says she wants to read "One Good Dog" by Susan Wilson cuz she's heard it's good.

And PeeWee - I'm gonna tell you again - stay AWAY from those rocks. There are better ways to gets your minerals!

Wiggles & Wags,

Dennis the Vizsla said...

hello dexter its dennis the vizsla dog hay hmmm so peepul wil buy a buk on akkownt of it has a dog on the cover??? maybe i wil tel dada to replayse those silly covers on his buks with pikchers of yorez trooly!!! thats me by the way!!! ok bye

Busby and Raymond said...

Dexter, interesting (and candid) book reviews. You're making my Mom think about getting a dog, so please cut it out because we cats aren't so sure we want a doggie brother.

Sunny,Scooter(sometimes Jamie) said...

Thanks for the reviews Dexter. I like to read myself, so will have to look into some of these. Scooter wants the book Mango is reading. Figures.....
pee ess Mom says when she was a pup she lived in master chew sits and remembers rocks being all over the place. But she didn't eat them.....

brooke said...

Great book reviews! Im always looking for good books to read (especially doggy ones)!
Have you read, the art of racing in the rain? Based in Seattle which made it fun for me to read, but the ending is slightly predictable...

Jake of Florida said...

The Grown-Up Brain, huh? We didn't think there was such a thing -- at least from our limited perspective. (Now Jakey, just because I took your breakfast bowl away this morning when you decided not to eat...).

Our mom has read several good dog books recently and maybe she'll let us write about them. In the meantime, Dexter, you're one smart labradork!! Thanks for all the tips.

Wirey woofs,

Jake and Just Harry

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Mom says there isn't much reading time around here lately but she might want to take a look at the Control Unleashed and some of your commenters have some good ideas too.

Thanks for the book reviews and the link to that great site.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Martha and Bailey said...

Great reviews Dexter, you put Martha to shame - she never reads and Bailey only forces herself if she has to!
We confess to having little reading time right now but will perhaps try to read one or two during the summer holidays!!!

The Army of Four said...

I just tried sinking my teeth into one book and sorta kinda got in "trouble" for it. I mean, just when I was starting to devour it, I get the "DAVYNO!!!" thing. Humph.

Samantha said...

Great topic, Dexter! Love your book reviews - I am totally impressed by your reading and reviewing skills! There are a couple there that interest me and Control Unleashed definitely interests Mom (uh oh). Love your comment, Mango, on making a choice with several dumbells out - ohhhh - dunno if I'll ever make it thru open to even start a quest for UD heheh! Keep dancing with the Mom and Dexter - love your agility movies, but it appears that you are multi-talented what with rock eating and book reading.
Hugs xo

Benny and Lily said...

for a young lad, you posted some pawesome literary reviews. We will pass the info on to mom. We do like books with more pictures than words.
Have fun
Benny & Lily

Two Pitties in the City said...

Thanks for the updates. I'm excited for the summer when we can catch up on our reads. We really like "The Secret Life of Dogs" which is an animal behavioralist's story about the pack structure in her own home. Some of the things made me mad because she often doesn't seem like a responsible owner, but the story and insights were interesting.

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

First of all, we really LIKE 'Walter the Farting Dog' (and the follow-ups), so don't be harassing the Mango too much - he may just be looking for some laughs. Also, I haven't been reading much, but Mom has been listening to a bunch of 'audiobooks', so I've listened to Harry Potter, some mysteries set in ancient Rome, and something about black holes and time and blah, blah, blah, theoretical physics, blah, blah, blah. I'll mention your selections to Mom, but I confess, I like the books with pictures and farting dogs, myself. (And Abby doesn't have a say in this because she's too young to read.)

*kissey face*
-Fiona (and Abby, even though she can't read)

Marjie said...

I read books with my boys all the time. Some star dogs, and some do not. But don't be harsh on the RH, dude, those picture books are good for the meditations and for calming the brain before nap time. Why do you think humans use them for their pups?


Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

I khan't seem to tear my mom away from some silly thing khalled The Blogs...

If I khan, maybe she'll akhtually read something she khan hold in your human paws!


Pearl said...

I can't believe you read! You are smarterest!

All I can read is the clock when it is MEAL TIME.

The Two Country Poodles said...

Thanks for the book reviews...Momma is a big book reader and will use your reviews to help her choose her next book.

Wags and Licks,
Mollie Jo & Bobo & Uncle Puppy

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! You've been very busy. Lots of Golden Thanks for the reviews. My mom will definitely check out the books you reviewed. Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

You are a great critic Dex.. You need to check out Second Hand Pets. Dad's friend on his metal detecting board wrote it. It is about adopted pets..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

houndstooth said...

I'm going to have to read some of your authors, Dex! You might like Leo, A Greyhound's Tale. (I think that's the right title.) Also, Cyn Mobley writes some fun dog fiction books!


houndstooth said...

P.S. Mango, that is one of Mom's favorite books to read in her class!


Honey the Great Dane said...

Ooh, I loved this post, Dexter! (and I loved that first picture of Mango - hee! Hee!) - that was an interesting summary of all those books. My human loves to read doggie books too - although she tends to read a lot of more academic/behavioural ones. She is reading a fascinating one now called "Dogs - A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behaviour & Evolution" by the famous biologist & wolf expert, Ray's full of interesting things, especially showing that a lot of things people believe about us doggies are not true! She is thinking she might do a book review on it when she finishes it.

Hsin-Yi doesn't like the mushy stories either - like she never got into "Marley & Me" although Paul read it and cried all through it (well, that's Paul for you...) - but she does love some of the old classics about doggies which don't try to make them like cute little humans but tell the story like 'real' dogs - like "White Fang" by Jack London.

That was very interesting what you said about doggie mysteries because Hsin-Yi had been thikning for some time of writing a doggie mystery but she wasn't sure if it is a silly it's great to hear that it has been done & published! Thanks for those links - we are going to check them out to see what a doggie mystery looks like, so Hsin-Yi can see if her idea might work! In fact,if you like them so much and are such an expert on them, maybe you can be her 'test reader' when she gets round to writing it??

Honey the Great Dane

Maggie and Mitch said...

Mom hasn't read a book in so long! The blogs are the chapters in her "book"! But thank you for the great reviews, Dexter. If we do head to the library, we'll know the good ones to check out!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Dory and the Mama said... are quite the intellectual Dexter! Mama really needs to read more doggy books...she is mostly a fluff girl right now!


Tomushka said...

u know, I am reading many blogs about dogs and cats and I see an amazing tendency - they have started reading books :) :*

Do not even know what to think :)

Joking :)

Very nice dogs you have :)

Lorenza said...

Hi, Dexter!
Sounds like you have been very busy reading all those books!
Thanks for the review!
Kisses and hugs

ScrapsofMe said...

Thank you so much for your words of comfort. The outpouring of love from the bloggie world has helped fill the ache of missing our old friend.


Pam...Bonnie's support staff

Lacy said...

w00fs, me mama has to go to library tomorrow, she will hunt a doggie book to read..and tell Mango, me likes to help in the yard too..

b safe,

Mack and Sally Ann said...

Mommy right now is reading a book about a cat. Can you believe it! It is a good book. It is a book in the Joe Gray series. Don't tell Mommy, I kinda like it.
Sally Ann

Amber and Nala said...

Thanks for the tips Dexter....and hey, there's nothing wrong with Walter, the farting Dog. ;) My Mom owns a copy of one of those for her school kids. :) As for good doggie books we like...have you read Merle's Door? Love it!


the booker man said...

hey, i totally didn't know you were such a big-time reader! thanks for all the book reviews. i'm especially interested in a dog about town! how super cool that it was written by one of our labradog kind!
the booker man

Dewey Dewster said...

Gee Dexter ya sure read a lot of books.....yer gonna need glasses if ya keep that up.....Gram liked the book "Like a Dog with a Bone" has a wire fox terrier on the cover....but it has a ton of peeples in it so you may not like it.....

Do ya have yer own library card????

Dewey Dewtser here....

Stella, Gunther and Betty said...

Whoa, you guys can read?! Thanks for the book reviews. Maybe we can talk mom into reading to us.

Stella, Gunther and Betty

Mr Koda MD said...

HMMM I definately recommend "The Art of Racing in the Rain". Its main character is an awesome doggie called Enzo.

And of course "Marley and Me"

And another, which i will review sometime and is my bestest instruction manual and life choice advice book - "The dastardly book for dogs"

Highly recommended for an avid, intellectual reader like yourself, not so good for the RH and his toilet humour...


Clive said...


Loved the book review! There are always lots of books being read in this house - Murray collects them, his Mom reads them. She has about 20 books on her bedside table at any one time and is always trying to read three or four at the one time.

Her recent favourite dog book was Enzo's story in The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. She has passed that book onto several other doggie people and they have all loved it as well.

We must check out the books you mentioned on Amazon.

take care
Clive and the NSLM

Kira The BeaWootiful said...

Wooooos Dexter!we have something in common! we read lots of those same books,Mum is running out to check on Control Unleashed now... she has been reading so many dog training books right now, she is getting a little obsessed....
Susan Conant is her favorite! Mom recommends Judi McCoy, her dog walker series, just 2 books so far, but the first one goes to doggie charity, Best Friends!

~husky kisses~
-Kira The BeaWootiful

Sue said...

I've heard that Control Unleashed was goo and I need to check it out. I also want to read the one about maturing brains. I need encouragement in that area. It annoys me when I forget a word or can't remember what I'm looking for.

On Dogs-N-More we're compiled a whole list of dog books that the readers like. It's on the Shelfari on the sidebar. I'll add the ones you mentioned.

Eric said...

Great book review Dexter. Mom always has her nose stuck in a book. She's off to check your recommends out. As for me I read my Dastardly Dog book over and over.

Jackson and his Mom got a mention in a book recently and a drawing too!. It's called Walking the Dog a murder/mystery. Out in the UK don't know if out pee side yet though.

Wiry love Eric xx

doyle and mollie said...

sorry dexter we think we might be with mango and his farting dog story on this one loves and licks

Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

Jeeezzzze Dex...never knew you were such an intelligent pooch. My sister is looking for an egg-head boyfriend. Are you available??

Marvin -The Hollow Hound said...

Hello Dexter, sorry I have not been around just lately, our computer exploded. My J let a Vampire Virus in, and he kinda wrecked the place. He knocked at the door and asked to come in, she agreed, and there, what happens, computer bites the dust......well nearly, thank dog, now it is mended. Never smile at a crocodile I say, or take tea with a Vampire.

After reading your book reviews, I think you should actually paw a few words and publish a Dexter Dude-a-rama Novel, I am sure you would be as good as any of those authors!

lotsaluv, Marvin xxxxxxxxxx

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Oh Mango...(Lacie is out of breath...)Mumsie and I are dashing off to New York tomorrow to see Asta and meet up with Noah's Peeps and his flat self and sissies...

I'm already deflated and stuffed in the suitcase...

Not very happily...

I was going to fly first class.



Kasha said...

Wow! You are amazing with how many books you are reading. I seem to only have time to read puppy training books on the human puppy. It is so not as easy to train a human baby vs. a puppy. The deck extension looks nice, but rocks are always tasty.

tula said...

oh no.. was there a homework assignment i missed? you've been a reading fool Pee Wee.. who knew?! thanks for the reviews. nothing worse than reading a dud. My mom has a book recommendation- the Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell. It describes my training to a tea...she also downloaded Hip Ideas for Hyper Dogs to help her understand that's gonna happen. But he doesn't read.. needs hooked on phonics first. hehehehe


Ms. ~K said...

Wish we had read this book review a couple of months ago. Mom bought Lost and Found too...just because of the cover!
Licks and sniffs,
Zack, Sassy and Buddy

River said...

My mom reads dog fiction too! A really good one is DOG ON IT by Quinn Spencer. About a failed police dog and his PI owner, told from Chet's pov (dog). 2nd novel is out. It's really, really well written with a 'live in the moment' dog narrator.

love & wags,

Kari in WeHo said...

we added these books to our list :)

Oskar said...

My mom person loved the book reviews!

Dexter, I wish you would stop eating rocks. Your gonna get bad sickies in your tummy.

Wild Dingo said...

How did I NOT see this post? I'm sorry, YOU know what's been consuming me lately. :)

re: the book. Ya, it's not exactly easy to put into practice. it is theory mainly and with some ideas on how to put into practice. but to be honest, it's a lot harder to put these into practice without a trainer. Plus I have to admit, i'm not totally an "all positive" trainer. I think in some instances, correction is an important training tool to use. AND many of the dogs used in the book as examples are very small or very high-drive-working dogs. BUT, i do love the book as it has given me lots of practical solutions. i wonder if the movie would be better?