I've been catching up on my reading, and I've got some recommendations. First is a book by Dr. Nancy Kay.
Dr. Kay is a veterinarian who has a great website called "Speaking for Spot" (www.speakingforspot.com), where you can sign up to get short email reports that contain useful bits of information about dog health care. She's written a book, also called "Speaking for Spot." I like her style of writing very much, and enjoy getting the emails.
Now she's got another book out, called "Your Dog's Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect from Your Vet." It's a small book, but it's clearly written and addresses several important points. If you're a longtime pet owner, you probably already have a very good working relationship with your veterinarian, but there may still be things you haven't considered that might make that relationship even better.
If you're new to dog ownership, this book could help you in your search for a veterinarian, or give you some ideas of what might be important to you as you work with that doctor.
The book also includes a chapter titled, "What Your Veterinarian Expects From You," which, although it's the last chapter in the book, is a good place to start. Being on time for your appointment heads the list, but there's also being pleasant to the entire staff, and making any financial arrangements before the appointment. Warn the staff if your dog might be aggressive, and, if you suspect that your dog has a contagious disease, leave him in the car until you're called to prevent contact with the other animals in the waiting room.
My own veterinarian would pass with flying colors, but apparently there are veterinarians that don't meet Dr. Kay's standards, and she's pretty blunt about what she feels is and is not acceptable practice. On the subject of euthanasia, she says, "If you do wish to be with your dog when he is euthanized, please do not take 'no' for an answer! I view a veterinarian's refusal to honor this request as unacceptable, and wholeheartedly recommend you find a more progressive care provider."
Dr. Kay discusses the pros and cons of Internet research and, while you need to consider the merits of each site, she feels it's entirely appropriate to discuss what you might find with your veterinarian. Again, she doesn't mince words. "If you feel sheepish about discussing your Internet research for fear that, in doing so, you may convey a lack of faith in your veterinarian, I encourage you to get over it! Online research is commonplace these days and hearing about it should be part of every veterinarian's job description. Besides, what is more important, your dog's health or your veterinarian's feelings?"
Check out both of Dr. Kay's books, as well as her website. I think you'll learn from what she has to say.
The second author I want to talk about is Carol Lea Benjamin. Carol is a wonderful writer and dog trainer and I've been reading her training books for years. She also writes murder mysteries that feature a dog-owning detective, and I recommend those almost as highly as I recommend her training books.
Now, Carol's got an e-book about training called "Dog Smart." It's $4.99 and available for Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook and the iPad. It's mostly drawings, with very little text, but it gives the reader the guidelines needed to train a dog in basic manners. Carol is the artist as well as the author, and since I've always loved her drawings, that's a great bonus.
The only drawback is that the drawings are in color, but Kindle is just black-and-white. If you have a Nook or a Kindle Fire, you'll get the full effect. My only other criticism is that the text is in script, and sometimes it's a bit small and hard to read on the Kindle. Get it on your iPad and you can easily make both images and text larger. Anyway, I enjoyed the drawings, and admired once again Carol's clear style as she explains just how to get your dog to sit, come, and stay.
Lastly, my latest book, "American Pit Bull Terrier," is now available. The book covers the basics of dog ownership, from housetraining to health care, a discussion of the Pit Bull's current bad reputation and what that can mean to an owner, and the efforts of responsible breeders and owners to help people understand just what loving, loyal companions Pit Bulls can be.