Love Has No Age Limit, by Patricia B McConnell and Karen B London, both with admirable degrees after their names, is a gem of a book!
Just so you know that I’m not making this up, the Dog Writer’s Association has voted it the “…best soft-cover guide,” and the North Shore Animal League (a serious player in the world of animal welfare) gave it a Special Award too.
The many faceted subject that the authors tackle is Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home.
As someone who advocates research and education BEFORE the physical act of walking in your front door with a dog that you fell in love with at your local animal shelter or other dog adoption organization, I think this book should be mandatory reading for novice dog lovers and wanna be dog
owners guardians everywhere.
It’s deceptively short. If you don’t count the Acknowlegement page and the Resource Guide, the advice page on how to find a local dog trainer and the Useful Web Site pages, there are only 83 pages to read.
The section called Behavioral Problems 101 has the most pages and is worth 10 times the price of the book itself … which is a mere $9.95 (or less if you go the Kindle route or the re-seller’s path on Amazon.)
Here are some of the sentences that I fell in love with: “… reading a dog is simply focusing your attention on his face and posture and paying attention to what you see.” (p.36)
Here’s a whole paragraph that I could have an affair with:
Because of the effect of a new environment, the true nature of your new dog may not appear right away. Truly traumatized dogs, or dogs raised in neglectful, sterile conditions, can take more than a year to come into their own, although most dogs show you their true colors sooner than that. However, even a well-adjusted adult dog can be a bit shell-shocked when you first bring him home, and the dog you have on day one might be very different than the dog you have in three days, three weeks, or three months. It is not uncommon for quiet dogs to become boisterous, dogs who are initially frantic to calm down, and for clingy dogs to become more independent. (p. 36)
Things dogs do that signal they are anxious on the first day of dog school: 1) continual yawning 2) turning his head away 3) agitated body movements and unable to settle at all, or the reverse — lying stiff and motionless 4) growling and barking at other dogs 5) not taking treats that he’ll scarf up at home (p. 49)
Phrases I swooned over: 1. “… behavior is context dependent, meaning that all social animals behave differently in different environments … Dogs especially often behave differently in a group setting, like a shelter or a foster home with lots of dogs than they do in a home in which they are the only dog.” (p. 56)
2) ” Don’t punish growling. If you do, you might take away her warning system, so that the next time she’ll skip the growl and go right to biting.” (p. 67)
Got your attention with this one, didn’t I? Want to know more? Read the book!
This phrase was an eye – opener for me: “… the fear of strangers can be inherited. ” (p. 69)
I’d assumed that a fear of strangers was learned behavior in response to a hurtful experience at the hand(s) of a human. The genetic component was new for me.
There is a lot of other useful information to be gleaned from Love Has No Age Limit. If I had to sum up the authors’ message in one word it would be “patience.” Human patience not canine patience.
Bringing adult dogs into pet homes is always rewarding but can sometimes be Not What You Thought It Would Be. And McConnell and London can help you with that.
And, now for a small bit of housekeeping: You may have noticed, if you clicked on the book titles, that you landed on Amazon’s ordering page for this book. (Or, if you were really paying attention, you clicked on the book cover and landed over there.)
I am an affiliate with Amazon – for the products I adore and and feel compelled to rave about. If you purchase this book through my affiliate link, I may make enough commission to buy half of a fabulous pair of shoes.
Or, better yet, any commissions I make from the sale of this book will be donated to a local, not-for-profit animal welfare organization. How about that?
For which I do thank you from the bottom of my heart.