Here’s a book recommendation brought to you by the letter H.
Yesterday, I quoted from Nicole Wilde’s blog post about growling. As a follow-up to that and my post on the Evolution of Dogs and Wolves, I decided H-day was a good opportunity to tell you about her latest book.
Since Wilde is a dog behavior expert, and I screwed up so many things with our first dog, I didn’t expect Hit by a Flying Wolf to so closely echo my own experiences. How reassuring to learn that an expert has struggled with a dog as much as I have!
The first half of the book contains stories about four of the dogs Wilde has lived with, and the second half concerns wolf rescue. The first dog, a long-haired German shepherd, had the same fear of high-pitched noises that Mia has. Mojo, Wilde’s “soul dog,” was the crossover dog who helped her learn that positive reinforcement training is more effective than using old-fashioned choke collars.
I have a special affinity for Bodhi, who came from a shelter and shared my dog Leo’s penchant for doing things like “grabbing a trailing hand and chomping down, or jumping up in front of me and placing teeth around my arm, exerting a disturbing amount of pressure.” Bodhi’s story hit home the most for me, because it illustrates how much dedication is needed sometimes to get through to a troubled dog, and shows that it’s worth it.
A major highlight of this book are the color photographs. I read a lot of books about dogs, and it bums me out when the photos are grainy and black and white, or worse, when there are no photos at all. I want to see the dogs! Wilde is an accomplished photographer. Not only are the animals described vividly in prose, but the images of the dogs and wolves also are stunning.
I learned about the risks of keeping wolfdogs as pets from Ceiridwen Terrill’s Part Wild. Terrill’s story was heartbreaking, but Hit by a Flying Wolf demonstrates how wolves and wolfdogs can be safely contained and cared for after living in a home hasn’t worked out for them. While not an endorsement of keeping wolves as pets, Wilde’s stories about the wolves are touching, suspenseful, and entertaining.
H is for Hit by a Flying Wolf
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