Cheryl May's Book Reviews

Puppy Owner's Manual -- Solutions to all your puppy problems in an easy-to-follow question & answer format by Diana Delmar. List Price: $12.95 U.S.; $10.36 on

A few years ago, a colleague at work was so frustrated with her new puppy that she joked about forming a puppy support group for exasperated pet owners. She could have used this new book, "Puppy Owner's Manual" by Diana Delmar.

While my favorite puppy training book remains How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Rutherford and Neil, the "Puppy Owner's Manual" is a valuable book as well.

I am going to encourage you, if you're a new puppy owner, or plan to be, to invest in two books: the "Puppy Owner's Manual" and "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With." Each book contains information not found in the other. If you haven't obtained your puppy yet, buy "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" first because it offers guidance on making the selection.

In "Puppy Owner's Manual," Delmar uses an easy-to-read question and answer format, organized in a logical fashion to make finding information simple. You can read it in short spurts or longer sessions. Her writing style is lively and informative.

Delmar's page of suggested ways to help a busy puppy expend energy is worth the price of the book. Though experienced trainers know this information, they sometimes neglect to pass it along to people in their puppy classes. Owners become frustrated, but often don't communicate their concerns to the instructor -- sometimes because they think they should know the answer.

Delmar's book fills in these gaps. (Still, please speak up with your questions in puppy class!)

There is a lot more to like about the "Puppy Owner's Manual." Among many helpful sections is a page of things to tell the pet sitter. Health issues, common behavior problems, and even how best to clean up after a sick puppy are covered very well.

I wish that Delmar's section on electronic fences mentioned the dangers to the dog inside the electronic fence. I dislike these fences because wandering dogs and unsupervised children can enter the property. They may keep the dog in, but they don't keep intruders out. And if the dog is tempted to leave the yard to chase a rabbit or squirrel, it is unlikely to return because it will be zapped upon re-entry. Delmar gives a good description of the training necessary to make these fences work when owners are determined to use them.

Both "Puppy Owner's Manual" and "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" are inexpensive enough that you could purchase both and still spend less than you would on other books that would give you far less good information for the money.

"Puppy Owner's Manual" is published by Storey Books. "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" is published by Alpine Publications.

Puppy Owner's Manual $10.36 at

How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With. $11.95 at

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