With my last review, I met my goal of reading and reviewing 13 books in one year for John Mutford's Great Canadian Book Challenge. When you've got another great Canadian dog book just waiting to be reviewed there's nothing for it but to plow ahead and make it to number 14.
I had been planning on buying Brad Pattison Unleashed anyway, and when Brad posted on his facebook page that he would be autographing copies of the book that were ordered directly from him, I jumped at the chance for a very small brush with fame. My book arrived inscribed, "Enjoy the book Jacki ~ Have a great day. Cheers, Brad Pattison." Coolness!
Autograph aside, the book is awesome. Here at Gabe n Arch, we're giving it 8 paws up and some tail wags too. It's a nice little physical specimen, without the quality issues that I noted in Pattison's Synergy. The book is really well written and very forcefully projects Brad's voice, clearly recognizable from the way he speaks on his television program, At the End of my Leash. Brad the Author once again seems much more approachable and less abrasive than Brad the TV Guy. He is someone I would love to sit down and chat with. Brad is funny and insightful, and most of all he is passionate about doing it right. Some people might argue that his methods are not the best, but the book is persuasive. I think by the time you're finished reading it, you'll be nodding your head and thinking, "by golly, this guy is onto something!"
The book goes over the same lessons we've seen in the tv show and in Synergy - replace treat training with umbilical training, get the dogs off the furniture, no talking, and lots of physical and mental activity; gradually working up to the ultimate doggie reward, off-leash freedom. Common issues like how to choose a puppy, house training, and how to introduce a second dog to your household are addressed.
Something I've never seen addressed in the tv show (though, granted, I've not seen every episode) is Brad's take on shelter dogs. Brad says, "I have mixed thoughts about shelters," and goes on to say that about 40% of his workload involves shelter dogs. I know from experience that shelter dogs are not baggage-free. They are a lot of work. But they're there, and they need someone to love. Earlier in the book, Brad points out that only 16% of dogs sent to shelters are actually adopted out. That's about the saddest thing I've ever heard. I'd love to learn how we can improve those numbers. Nowhere in the book does it talk about fixing your dog, and that seems like a big first step to me. What else can I do - beyond committing to my two rescues - to stop 5 million dogs and cats from being euthanized annually? (US figure) Someone that loves dogs as much as Brad clearly does must have thoughts on this.
Part of the answer is to commit to your own dog. Don't get a dog without giving it a lot of thought, and once you have a canine member in your household, give him the love and training that he needs. So people, buy the book, read it, love it. And most of all, embrace it. I'm still slacking off on umbilical, but we did try the hide-and-seek game tonight. We all had a blast. We're working up the courage to try the dog park next ....