Teach Your Dog the "In" and "Out" Commands (from Cis Frankel's "Urban Dog"). This is useful when taking a dog through doorways or leading her in or out of the crate (or any confined area that will be her special place in your home/apartment). Place a hula-hoop securely on the ground between your legs. If the puppy is on your left side, hold the hoop with your left hand and lure the puppy through the hoop with the right hand holding a motivator (a treat or toy). If the puppy is on your right side, hold the hoop with the left hand holding the motivator. As the puppy goes through, give the command "In" and then place her in a "Sit" position. When passing through from the opposite side, say the command "Out" and again place her in the "Sit" position. Depending on the temperament and attention span of your dog, successfully repeat the "In" and "Out" sequence at least 3 times before moving on to another command. Practice several times a day in five-minute sessions until your puppy understands the movement and performs without any hesitation three times in a row.
Independent Publishing Goes to the Dogs
A boy, his dog, and a book...Call of the Wild...Old Yeller...Travels with Charley. We've all read them, cried over them, and hold a special place in our hearts for them. From "See Spot run (The Dick and Jane Reader)" to "Then it turned and trotted up the trail in the direction of the camp it knew, where were the other food-providers and fire-providers (Jack London's To Build a Fire)," these are the books that taught us to read--and taught us about life. Some of these dog books are classic literature, some are pure adventure, and some of them helped launch Disney into the movie business. Dog books are about friendship, devotion, and unconditional love--the very thing readers may find lacking in their own lives.
Of course this is why people own dogs in the first place, and why there is also an explosion of dog book publishing in the non-fiction, how-to, and self-help genres. There are books about every known breed, manuals on nutrition, showing, hunting, and dog psychology. A scan of amazon.com offerings shows 9,767 matches, with titles like The Social Lives of Dogs and How To Speak Dog leading the list in sales ranking--#698 and #1361 respectively. This compares to 6,776 cat titles, 4,776 horse books and, lest we become paranoid about publishing truly "going to the dogs," books about people still lead the way at 32,000 titles.
Recently, dog books have found their way onto the gift, art, and coffee table bookshelves. William Wegman's Weimaraners may get more attention, but an independent press headquartered in Minocqua, Wisconsin--Willow Creek Press--has contributed greatly to this movement. Willow Creek's northwoods location is appropriate to their success with books related to nature, animals, hunting, fishing, and gardening. With the tenacity of a pit bull puppy, this scrappy little press has carved out a particularly strong niche the pet book market with titles like Just Labs, 101 Uses for a Golden, and What Dogs Teach Us.
Willow Creek's fall list includes releases that expand their approach to include city dogs and their owners, and a book that dares to declare that Dogs are Stupid. Author Bill Buckley softens this harsh statement by adding the subtitle "After all, they're man's best friend!," and then goes on to demonstrate his point: "Regardless of our reprimands, they still obsess over other dogs' excrement, eat and roll in horse manure and rotting carcasses, quake at the sound of thunder, drink out of toilets, eat garbage and then throw up, and perform demeaning pet tricks for measly Milkbones. Their cheerful personality has everything to do with their being blissfully ignorant, which explains why we're so drawn to them. They do all sorts of stupid things and yet never get embarrassed or feel ashamed. We should be so lucky."
Urban Dog: The Ultimate "Street Smarts" Training Manual is the first-of-its-kind training manual for city dogs. Author Cis Frankel is an urban dog trainer who has worked with thousands of dogs in Chicago over the past twelve years, including Oprah Winfrey's cocker spaniels, Solomon and Sophie. Frankel explains how to get the most enjoyment out of a living with a dog in the city--and how to get the most out of a city while living with a dog.
Frankel's background as a critical care nurse and student of psychology prepared her for a second career as a dog trainer, and her techniques include establishing communication through word commands and game playing (see sidebar). This book exemplifies the explosion of dog populations in every major city in North America, with more childless couples choosing to have dogs, and more single people buying dogs for companionship. Though urban dogs may not find as many carcasses to roll in, city life does offer special challenges, with all the distractions, health hazards, and traffic congestion.
To further demonstrate our culture's dog-love, there's a new addition to the dog-owner's coffee table scatter: The Bark magazine, a quarterly publication "for the modern dog enthusiast." Dubbed "the New Yorker of dog magazines!" by The New York Times, contributors include cartoonists Lynda Barry and Edward Koren, animal behaviorist Dr. Ian Dunbar, San Francisco Chronicle film critic Edward Guthmann, and novelists Anne Lamott and Rick Bass--and there are lots of dog-book reviews. Bringing readers a hip, intelligent approach to dog-life, The Bark lives up to its subtitle: "Dog is my Co-pilot." It is but one of over 100 dog magazines being published today.
"Dog publishing is a multi-billion dollar industry," says Dr. Alvin Goodman, owner of Doral Publishing, Inc., the Arizona-based publisher of breeding, training, search and rescue, agility, nutrition, and showing titles. Why only dog books? "We believe in doing one thing and doing it well," says Grossman, a renowned cocker spaniel breeder and show judge. "There are about seven companies like ours publishing in this niche. We now have distribution in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, Great Britain, and Sweden, so it's a world-wide phenomenon."
Grossman is a retired college professor who started out writing magazine articles about breeding (he's syndicated in 29 dog magazines today) and published his first of five books on cockers in 1975. Doral was founded in 1986, now releasing about five books a year. Recent titles include Hands-on Dog Care: The Complete Book of Canine First Aid and Fun Stuff with Your Best Friend, a true Boy-and-his-Dog book, written for 8-14 year-olds.
Even the more typically stolid attitude of a university press can be influenced by. "Books with animals have a universal appeal," says John Dowds, General Editor at Duquesne University Press in Pittsburgh. Duquesne recently published Walking My Dog, Jane: From Valdez to Prudhoe Bay Along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, naturalist Ned Rozell's observations of modern-day Alaska made during a 120-day, 800-mile hike along the pipeline. "A book about a man walking the Alaska pipeline doesn't really register, but add the dog, and suddenly it has all the elements of a classic--a man and his dog; the Wild Frontier--now that would attract somebody," says Dowds. "I know all about it because I've raised and lived with Golden Retrievers. I've long said to my staff, 'For God's sake, throw an animal in the book'."
Many authors and publishers are taking Dowds' advice and throwing dogs into the mix. In her new bestseller The Search, prolific "romantic suspense" novelist Iris Johansen features a golden retriever named Monty, a crack search-and-rescue dog and companion to Sarah Patrick, the heroine Johansen introduced in The Killing Game. Yes, book publishing has gone to the dogs, and it's not surprising. After all, who can resist those big, brown dog-eyes?