Figuring out how to write this review was actually a little challenging. Wag! The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazzie Todd has so much to say that writing a succinct summary seems almost impossible. Tood has a beautiful way of taking long, boring, complicated research studies and translating them into easily digestible training tips, accessible to anyone. The target audience of this book seems to be anyone who has a dog, works with dogs, or loves dogs in any other context.
Wag is very unique from any other books I have read before. I really (really!) like how it is more objective, pulling facts and figures from published data. So many other animal behavior and dog training books are overly anecdotal and subjective. Each chapter focuses on one subject that is related to a different aspect of a dog’s life, reading almost like a series of short stories. The chapters are essentially an entertaining summary of the most relevant research published to date on that subject, and how it can be applied to your dog’’s everyday life. And the end of each chapter has an even shorter, bullet pointed list, of key takeaways.
It is not a book to breeze through. The chapters are short, but packed with information, and most importantly, reader friendly. I recommend taking your time and reading it slowly. I pretty much read it one or two chapters at a time with a couple days in between and I felt like this gave me time to digest and remember much of the information presented.
Wag starts with topics like puppy training and socialization, and ends with senior dogs, quality of life, and end of life decisions. This is a book you can read at any time during your dog's life and it will provide great value. Applicable to the entire life spectrum allows lots of benefits and leaves room for some drawbacks. If you are looking for a complete puppy training guide, this book, unfortunately won’t hit the mark for you. There is absolutely value to reading it when your dog is a puppy or before you have even brought your dog home! It provides a lot of information that can be used to proactively prevent problems rather than reactively addressing them later in life.
Different parts of this book will be useful at different times throughout your dog's life. If you are reading this book as your dog ages, you might think back and wish you had known some of these things when your puppy was young, so it might feel like certain chapters don’t apply to you. Just like reading it with a new puppy, you might not feel that the senior dogs chapter is too applicable.
If you want a happy dog, I would recommend buying and reading this book. Then, keep it on the shelf to use as an important resource to help you through your dog’s current life stage, and it also provides resources for addressing behavior problems you and your dog might encounter.
I am sure that anyone who reads this book would gain some valuable insight and tools to help their dog’s live happier lives, and in turn their owners as well- and to me, safe and happy dogs, safe and happy owners, and good welfare for both parties is priceless.
Overall, 5 out of 5 stars, an excellent, and important book!
Here is a link to Wag The Sciende of Making Your Dog Happy if you are interested in purchasing it for yourself!
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