Monday, March 30, 2009

The Dog Who Never Knew
Kurt Unkelbach
1968, Four Winds Press (div. of Scholastic Magazines)

Cary's mother breeds and shows Labrador Retrievers and despite her father's grumbling, the family owns 19 dogs. Cary's personal dog is the champion Thumper, whose first litter has just arrived. Cary's desire to keep one of the puppies, the little yellow bitch Peanut, is fulfilled in a terrible way when an accident leaves the pup blind in one eye. Cary's happy, particularly when a new neighbor offers to swap riding time on his horse for her training his out-of-control dog. But when lanky Bob falls for a cute girl who specializes in obedience competition, Cary gets competitive too, and begins training Peanut, now officially Tomboy of Walden, for obedience trials.

An easily read, dog-centric book similar to the others in this series (The Dog In My Life and A Cat And His Dogs) and very knowledgable about dogs and showing. The book lacks much depth; the heroine's never really challenged on anything, from training to human relationships, and everyone gets along just a smidgeon too well, apart from the father's token protests over the dogfood bill and the cartoon villain with her froufrou dog. But it is a satisfying read for a dog-lover, what with the insider's view of dog shows and the generally canine-centric view.

They knew Peanut would have suffered when Labs of lesser quality defeated her [in the breed ring] because they had vision in both eyes. So she was spared that humiliation and never shown.

This seems odd to me - how many dogs really care if they win in the show ring? I think this may be more about the human's humiliation than the dog's.

Some things are slightly dated - granted, the setting is the rural Hudson Valley of New York State, but the dogs seem to roam a lot. And the training methods used are somewhat old-school, with the choke chains and kneeing the chest for jumping up. She references Clarence Pfaffenberger at one point - he was one of the early people looking into the issue of personality in dogs, developing aptitude tests for Guide Dog puppies, tests that have led to today's temperament testing in shelters for unknown baby and adult dogs.

Books by Clarence Pfaffenberger
The New Knowledge Of Dog Behavior (1963)
Training Your Spaniel (1947)

Thumper of Walden - yellow Lab
Peanut aka Tomboy of Walden - yellow Lab
Folly - Thumper's dam, Lab
Duke - Lab
Brutus - Doberman
Muffy - Poodle
Hooligan - Saint Bernard
Atomic Terror - dog in class

Hermosa - dun Paso Fino mare

Other Books
The Dog In My Life* (1966)
Murphy (1967)
A Cat And His Dogs* (1969)
Uncle Charlie's Poodle (1975)
*in series with The Dog Who Never Knew

Nonfiction- Dogs
Love On A Leash (1964)
The Winning Of Westminster (1966)
Ruffian: International Champion (1967)
How To Bring Up Your Pet Dog (1968)
Both Ends Of The Leash (1968)
You're A Good Dog, Joe: Raising And Training Your Puppy (1971)
The Pleasures Of Dog Ownership (1971)
Albert Payson Terhune: The Master Of Sunnybank (1972)
Those Lovable Retrievers (1973)
How To Make Money In Dogs (1974)
The American Dog Book (1976)
How To Show Your Dog And Win (1976)
The Best Of Breeds Guide For Young Dog Lovers (1978)
How To Teach An Old Dog New Tricks: Retraining The Secondhand Dog (1979)

Nonfiction - Cats
Catnip: Selecting & Training Your Cat (1971)
Tiger Up A Tree: Knowing And Training Your Kitten (1973)

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