Bark & Lunge
Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes
By Kari Neumeyer
Copyright 2014 by Kari Neumeyer
“How do you make sure your dog never bites anyone (again)?” You take them to a trainer. Only in this case the author discovers that’s not necessarily the easy answer. Kari and her boyfriend Rob find out the hard way that not every trainer really knows how to help a reactive dog, or a dog, period.
This book tells the story of the journey the author takes trying to help her reactive dog, Isis, overcome her fears. Kari and Rob adopt Isis, a German shepherd, as a puppy, without really knowing what they are getting into. They try to do all the right things, taking her to obedience school as a puppy, training with her at home, and Kari takes Isis with her everywhere she can. Unfortunately, the first trainers they see use choke and prong collars and this turns out to be the worst thing for Isis. They trust that the trainers know what they’re doing….who wouldn’t?
After Isis bites one of Kari’s co-workers, there are many trainers on the road to helping Isis. The book tells the story of the love Kari and Rob have for Isis and how they don’t give up on her, in spite of many frustrations and setbacks with her training. There is a lot of misinformation out there about dog training, and Kari and Rob had to learn the hard way what not to do.
If you have a reactive dog, you can learn a lot from this book, and even if you don’t, you will enjoy the story of Kari’s dedication to helping Isis. They never give up on Isis, even when they bring another dog into their home and things don’t go at all how they hoped.
You learn as you go along reading an enthralling true story of a couple and the love for their dog. Once into the book, I found myself very involved in the story, and hoping for everything to turn out well in the end.
If you read her story, you could possibly save yourself a lot of heartache by avoiding some of the mistakes they inadvertently made. They always tried to do the best for Isis, but sometimes you just can’t know what is best, and you have to learn from experience. This book is all about those experiences and it is well written and easy to read along the way.
What I loved best about this book was the openness and honesty in it. Kari doesn’t gloss over the mistakes she feels she made, and she learns from them. That is how life is; we all make mistakes with our dogs. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “Certain dogs hold the top spot in one’s heart. I find the expression Heart Dog to be a little cloying, but I relate to the sentiment, preferring to think of Isis as a Once in a Lifetime Dog.” I highly recommend this book, as I am sure you will also enjoy reading about that life.
About the author: Kari Neumeyer grew up in Los Angeles, and earned her master’s degree in journalism in 2001. She lived abroad before returning to the United States, where she now resides in Washington state with her boyfriend and two dogs. You can learn more about Kari by reading her blog Kari Neumeyer – Rhymes with Safari. Bark & Lunge is available at many outlets and you can follow this link for online availability, or purchase it at your local bookstore.
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from the author with no expectations other than fair and honest reviews.