cover image Katz on Dogs: A Commonsense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs

Katz on Dogs: A Commonsense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs

Jon Katz. Villard Books, $24.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-6403-8

As a journalist and columnist on the topic of dogs, and as a lifetime dog owner, Katz manages to breathe new life into the pet-care genre. Though occasionally preachy and redundant, the manual has an empathetic tone; Katz makes clear that he hasn't always been an expert: it was after living with many dogs and only after adopting ""a demented border collie"" that he was forced to ""either learn how to train this hooligan or get rid of him."" What Katz stresses above all is that every dog is different-due to breeding, environment and temperament, to name just a few factors-and therefore, every human-dog relationship varies. As a result, Katz's book says there can never be one universal, inflexible methodology for training-unlike most training manuals, which usually argue one practice is superior to others. Says Katz, ""training methods fail... if they don't take into account the owner's psyche as well as the dog's."" Despite these beliefs, Katz leans on positive reinforcement and offers numerous practical solutions to common behavioral problems. He reiterates that dogs are ""comparatively simple animals"" that we all too often personify-much to the detriment of the human-dog bond. Photos. Agent, Richard Abate.