Bark and Lunge: Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes is the journey and struggles of a fearful/reactive dog named Isis and her owners Kari and Rob.
This book recently popped up in my "recommended for you" list on amazon. I'm always looking for a good dog book and I particularly like memoirs, too. It wasn't expensive on the digital format so I thought, why not and gave it a shot.
The story begins with Kari and Rob. They are vacationing when they have a chance to meet and play with a litter of German Shepherd puppies. On impulse they decide to purchase one and name her Isis.
They didn't socialize Isis very well as a young pup because they were told she couldn't go anywhere until her shots were complete. Kari was the typical "mom" and disciplinarian where as Rob was just the fun dad who wasn't very involved with her training. They ended up attending a few Traditional training classes and struggled with consistency issues. Their ideas on how to raise and train a dog were also influenced by The Dog Whisperer TV show. As Isis grows up her behavior escalated from frustrating to dangerous.
Isis became fearful and reactive to both humans and dogs. Kari's struggle with Isis came to a head when Isis bit her co-worker. Her co-worker was kind and understanding and gave her the number to a Positive Reinforcement trainer. The author began working with the new trainer (they went through a couple of pr trainers) and Isis made some great progress. PR training did not solve all of her issues but she did begin to feel better about some of her triggers.
One of the things I really liked about this book was how dedicated they are to Isis. You could really tell how much they love her and want her to be okay. I definitely related to Kari's frustration and embarrassment when Isis would act out. I experienced a lot of that when I first got Phoenix and was learning that she was reactive. It can be so scary and confusing. There were also a lot of fun times where Isis is just being a smiley, goofy dog, who loved her soccer balls and playing fetch in the yard.
Overall I really liked this book. Sure, Kari made some mistakes and she struggled but she did everything in her power to help Isis and I really admire that determination. I would highly recommend "Bark and Lunge" to anyone who loves dogs.
I leave you with my favorite quote from the book: "You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better." originally by Maya Angelou.
We are also joining Rascal and Rocco and linking up with the Pet Parade! It's one of our favorite blog hops!