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RAISING ROVER is definitely different from any other training book I've ever encountered, in that it concentrates on training tips and methods by breed of dog. In addition, I think it would be a marvelous book for would-be dog owners to peruse to help them decide which breed is right for them.
The book starts with a 95 page general training section, the usual housetraining, obedience, dog pack "pecking order," and problem solving. I always find it useful to read these sectiosn because each author/trainer (Halliburton is an animal behaviorist and trainer) has different methods and new viewpoints and tidbits to add. Halliburton includes a chapter called, "It's Okay, It's Okay" about the pitfalls of trying to comfort one's dog in times of stress such as visits to the vet, loud thunderstorms, strange people, and the like.
Then comes 175 pages of breed profiles--profiles of 87 of the most popular breeds (sorry, no Clumber Spaniel, Ibizan Hound, or Dogue de Bordeaux). The basis of these profiles is, of course, that well-bred purebred dogs (i.e. not bred willy-nilly at puppy mills--DO NOT buy from them or from pet stores!) have certain predictable behaviors for each breed, and particular ways of reacting, learning, and getting along with others.
Each profile includes:
What the dog was originally bred for: Basenjis were bred in Africa to act as guides to hunters and warn their human if there was a lion or some other dangerous animal in the vacinity.
Housetraining tips: you can't tell if a Bloodhoud pup needs to go out just because he's sniffing the floor, becauses he's *always* sniffing the floor and everything else; if your Bulldog pup starts sniffing the floor, whisk him outside immediately; Poodles are one of the easiest to housetrain.
Personality: Dachshunds can be problem barkers because they all think they're Mastiffs; Cocker Spaniels get along great with children and will happily follow them anywhere; Pekingese "have more guts than brains...wouldn't hesitate to protect you from a lion" (a Peke is a toy breed weighing no more than 15 pounds); "Vizslas are an odd mix of hardy hunter and nervous wreck."
Training: Boxers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Rottweilers and Samoyeds are some of the breeds that need strong leadership from their human; "Borzois can be very bullheaded if you're asking them to do something they don't want to do or see no point in doing. On the other hand...these dogs are polite and well-mannered automatically;" regarding Border Collies, "There is very little you can't train this dog to do. And what you don't train Rover to do, he'll probably figure out for himself." (Then follows a great anecdote about a BC who learned out to get ice from the dispenser in the door of the refrigerator).
Environment needed, including active (Irish Setters) or sedate (Great Pyrenees), how they get along with children of various age groups (Chihuahuas are great with teenagers but not good with small children) and the elderly (Minature Pinscher), whether they can be latchkey dogs, whether they get along with other dogs in the household, if they can live happily in an apartment (yes, Great Danes can do it), how much exercise is required/tolerated.
Halliburton is also clear on the disadvantages of each breed: which tend to bark (Alaskan Eskimos, Pomeranians) dig (Alaskan Malamutes), drool (St. Bernards), and snore (Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Pugs--of course when *my* Pug snores, it's a comforting lullaby to me, not a disadvantage at all!)
What if you have a mixed breed dog? Well, if you know that it's a Chow/Siberian Husky cross, you just read the profiles of those two breeds and observe your dog to see how they combine in him. If you get a dog from a shelter (a very commendable act!) and it seems to have some Doberman, German Shephard, and Golden Retriever, read about those breeds.
In the You Learn Something New Every Day department, here's something I've *never* heard of before: because Great Danes originated as a breed around 300-400 BC, the different colors (fawn, brindle, black, etc) have different temperaments. I wonder what the Great Dane people have to say about that.
Halliburton doesn't talk about a dog's size, grooming requirements, and that sort of thing because she's assuming you already have your dog, so for this reason this book isn't a great stand-alone guide to choosing a breed, but it's got a lot of insightful information on the subject, and can be exceptionally helpful in training.
Kimberly Borrowdale Under the Covers Book Reviews