“You can tell the worrying thing to back off or simply turn tail and get her out of there; whip your delicate dog away, like a true hero ninja warrior.”
Why did I get this book?
Well, I guess in order to keep up with the trend of brutal honesty which has shaded my reviews lately, I would have to confess that my reason to acquire this book probably formed from a simple case of being a fan-girl (I’m unashamed, btw. I adore Sally’s work).
But, a few pages into the book I had a moment of thinking “what am I even doing with this book? I don’t have a puppy farm rescue dog. Or even a rescue dog for that matter…” But I kept reading nonetheless, while my love went out to the rescuers out there. In the end, I am still not sure why I got this book, aside from the factor of fandom-mandated behaviour.
I know why I would recommend it, though. And that’s what counts, is it not? Because I too have a worried dog. Rieckholm’s Nikuya the Ninja Warrior, who was brave enough to pose with this book for the sake of this review.
What does this book do?
The book does two things. First, it tells a story. The story about Holly, a puppy farm rescue, adopted by the author. Secondly, it provides an in-depth breakdown of the process of rehabilitating fearful dogs. Any fearful dog. The latter being partly responsible for realising that this book belongs on my shelf, despite telling the story of a rescue. Because any dog can be fearful. Even well-bred dogs, purchased from a reputable breeder.
The book starts off with a brief introduction to the British puppy farming industry. It is not a nice chapter, however in the era of exposing questionable ethics, it is a very important chapter. You can skip it though if you want to get straight to the practical parts. Leaving the puppy farms, Sally puts emphasis on bonding and the power of observing our companions and from there takes the plunge into forming two-way communication with your best friend.
Throughout the book, she introduces different strategies for approaching the concerns of your dog, seasoned with the heartwarming story of how Holly evolved from a scared momma-dog with a ruff background and into a happy and unique personality with wonderful quirky traits. Most importantly she manages to weave in a bit of science to help the reader understand why dogs do what they do. The story accompanies the practical and sciency parts very well and helps the inexperienced dog person through it without losing their spirit to heavy dog lingo along the way.
It is a wake-up call, asking the reader to please be the anchor and advocate for our dogs while providing us with clear instructions on how to become just that and offer us reassurance that we’re good enough if we do our best.
What does this book not do?
As the title may suggest, this is not a direct, dry protocol. And I don’t believe it is intended to be that either, but if that’s what you’re looking for, this book isn’t for you. It’s not a training book either, so if you want tips on how to keep your dog out of the hamper, you need to keep looking.
Where can I get this book?
Since Sally is a #1 selling author on Amazon, you can obviously get the book there, but smaller, independent book stores may also be helpful if you ask.
It is also available as an audiobook through Audible. The audio version is narrated by Stephanie Murphy who does an excellent job at capturing the spirit of Holly’s story. It will set you back about $10 for the paperback version, but it’s worth it.