A Dog's Best Friend: An Activity Book for Kids and Their Dogs

A Dog's Best Friend: An Activity Book for Kids and Their Dogs

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by Lisa Rosenthal

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Owning a pet can teach a child responsibility, patience, confidence, and the satisfaction of a job well done—and best of all, it's fun! Over 60 inventive activities and crafts such as Can Do Canine Show and Dog Day Story teach kids about taking care of their pooch pal while promoting a long-lasting relationship. Games such as musical chairs, burying bones


Owning a pet can teach a child responsibility, patience, confidence, and the satisfaction of a job well done—and best of all, it's fun! Over 60 inventive activities and crafts such as Can Do Canine Show and Dog Day Story teach kids about taking care of their pooch pal while promoting a long-lasting relationship. Games such as musical chairs, burying bones together, and throwing a frisbee and flyball; fun things to make such as a rag rug, a pooch pillow, and a puppy bed; and yummy treats to cook such as crunchy dog biscuits and a dog food cake gets kids involved with taking care of their dog's needs while teaching healthy care-giving techniques and fostering a deep friendship. In addition, A Dog's Best Friend includes information about dog obedience training; a reading list of children's animal books; listings of Web sites, pet-care resources, and animal organizations and events; and amusing trivia for dog lovers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Charlie Wyman
If you are contemplating adding a dog to your family, the introductory material addressed to parents contains some very good suggestions regarding the selection process and determining what type of dog best fits your life-style. The book contains seven chapters plus appendices. Beginning with the dos and don'ts of a puppy's first day at home, kids learn how to interact with their new pet and how to make the puppy comfortable. They will also learn how and when to begin training, about grooming needs, and best of all, how to have fun with their dog. Directions for creating a comfortable home, toys and edible treats for their dog and games such as fetch and burying bones appear to be great fun. A dog is a friend who will probably be around for a dozen or more years, so, kids' and parents' time will be well spent boning up with this informative book.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-This guidebook helps children establish friendships with their dogs and develop responsibility by caring for them. The introduction for parents discusses things to consider before bringing a dog home, how to choose the right one for your family, foster dog care as a preliminary tryout, and more. The main text covers puppy care, "creature comforts," safety, food, games, and projects. More than 60 activities including crafts, recipes, and games are suggested as are helpful hints to make vet visits and travel with pets easier. Concluding sections have an extensive reading list; resources including Web sites, organizations, and a list of hotels that welcome pets; and a bibliography. Scattered throughout the book are "Paws for Thought," boxed sections with factual tidbits about canine pets. A real treat for dogs and their kids.-Kate Kohlbeck, Randall School, Waukesha, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Dog World Magazine
Shares a wide variety of activities that provide countless hours of indoor entertainment for everyone.
The Boston Globe
Gives ideas for fun, safe activities for you and your dog to do together.
Copley News Service
Must-have for dog owners.
A must-have book for young children and their four-legged friends.
From the Publisher
“Good, basic advice, simply stated, is interspersed with enough fun projects to hold the attention of youngsters both two-legged and four-legged.” —Betty White, actress and dog lover

“Shares a wide variety of activities that provide countless hours of indoor entertainment for everyone.” —Dog World magazine

“Dogs deserve a lifelong commitment of responsible caring, and Rosenthal’s book deserves praise for helping children play their part.” —The Humane Society of the United States

“Novel ideas to strengthen the canine/child connection.” —Dog World magazine

Product Details

Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
5 MB
Age Range:
6 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Dog's Best Friend

An Activity Book for Kids and Their Dogs

By Lisa Rosenthal

Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Copyright © 1999 Lisa Rosenthal
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61374-160-3


Puppy love

Your family has decided to adopt or buy a puppy — what a wonderful new addition to the family! Your puppy will be a fun playmate. All he asks is to be properly cared for and loved by you and other members of your family.

Shop City

Love and attention are two very important ingredients for a successful puppy welcoming party. Here's a shopping list of items that you will also need to buy, borrow, or find to make your puppy feel right at home.

• Crate or kennel

• Crate pad or blanket

• Food bowl

• Water dish

• Safe toys (See Chapter 5 for a list of safe toys.)

• Collar

• Leash

• ID tags

• Nail clippers

• Flea comb

• Canine toothbrush

• Puppy shampoo

• Bottle of household cleaning fluid (for accidents)

• You and time to play

Play It Safe

Some cities and towns have guidelines for what constitutes an adequate outdoor animal shelter such as a dog house. Check your local city laws to see if your area has any restrictions.

Puppy's First Day at Home

When you first bring your puppy home, he'll be nervous because he's in a new place and there are so many new people, voices, objects, and rooms to explore. If you are patient and tender, your puppy will learn quickly to feel comfortable in his new home. Here's a list of dos and don'ts for that first day.


* Do introduce your puppy to one person at a time.

* Do let your puppy explore one room at a time. Breaking down a large space like a house into individual rooms will help the little guy feel more comfortable.

* Do handle your puppy for a few minutes each hour, but otherwise let her explore freely. Do, each day, rub her ears, tickle her belly, stroke her tail, and pick up her paws each day. This type of daily interaction will help your puppy become comfortable with accepting handling that will allow you to groom her now and later when she's an adult dog.

* Do pet her softly.

* Do give her food and water soon after your puppy has had some time to adjust to her new home.


* Don't make any loud noises or sudden movements around your puppy.

* Don't handle your puppy roughly.

* Don't try to train the little guy right away.

* Don't yell around your puppy.

* Don't squeeze, tug, toss, pull, or drag your puppy. She's your friend and needs to be treated with gentle care.

Puppy's Veterinarian Visits

A dog is considered a puppy during his first year or two of life. During the first six months of your puppy's life, he or she will need to visit the veterinarian many times for vaccinations and neutering or spaying. It's very important that you take your puppy to the veterinarian to get vaccines that will help him grow up healthy and strong.

Going to the veterinarian can be stressful for a puppy. Ask your veterinarian to use ultrathin needles and room-temperature vaccines so your puppy won't learn that a trip to the vet means pain. Also, try offering your puppy a treat to divert attention away from the pinch of the needle. This is a good trick to try with older fearful dogs, too. (See Chapter 3 for some more tips to make a visit to the veterinarian less stressful.)

Paws for Thought

When puppies are born they cannot see, hear, or smell. They are born with heat sensors.

Puppy Vaccination Chart

When you adopt a dog, ask for a record of the dog's inoculations (shots), including the dates, amounts, and types of medicine given. Ask if the puppy has a known medical history (such as an allergy) and if the puppy has been dewormed.

By eight weeks, puppies are ready for adoption. Before you take your puppy home, make an appointment to see your veterinarian so he can give the puppy an examination and any shots necessary to keep your new friend healthy.

You can keep track of your puppy's visits to the veterinarian and help your parents remember when it's time to go back by making a vaccination chart and keeping it on your refrigerator.

Paws for Thought

In young puppies, 95 percent of their immunity comes from colostrum, the milk the mother dog produces soon after giving birth.

Paws for Thought

Did you know dalmations are pure white when they are born?


* Plain white paper

* Puppy vaccination chart (below)

* Pencil

* Markers

* Magnet

* Highlighter


Place the white paper over the puppy vaccination chart and trace the outline of it. Next, write the words on this chart in the proper places. Decorate this chart with all kinds of things that your dog likes to play with, like a bone, a ball, you, and more. Use a magnet to hang this on the refrigerator. After every visit to the veterinarian, use the highlighter to mark off the visit and the shots your puppy received. Once you have the chart all filled in, you can celebrate with your puppy by going for a walk, playing in the yard, or giving him a new toy. After your puppy has his third round of shots, his immune system should be strong enough so that you can take him to meet other dogs.

Make a Puppy Bed

As soon as your puppy comes home with you, he'll need a special place to sleep and a place to call his own. But until he is house trained, he can soil the bed and/or bedding. Here's a bed you can make from a cardboard box, and if your puppy soils it, you can make another one without too much trouble.


* 1 cardboard box, 2 to 3 times as big as your puppy

* Scissors

* Pencil

* Markers

* Soft towel or fleece blanket


Choose a cardboard box that is about two to three times the size of your puppy — just big enough for your puppy to feel safe but not so small that he won't feel comfortable. The box should be securely closed at the bottom. Use the scissors to cut off the top flaps of the box. Use the pencil to draw an entrance to the box that leaves at least two inches on each side and two inches or less on the bottom. (You may have to cut the bottom a little lower depending on the size of your puppy and what you think he can easily walk over.) Use the scissors to cut the box on the pencil lines you've drawn. (Depending on how thick the cardboard is, you may need help from an adult with this step.) Use the markers to decorate your dog's house and make it look like a brick house; dog house; castle; firehouse; or garden house filled with butterflies, birds, frogs, cats, goldfish, you, your family, and friends.

Once you've decorated your puppy's new bed, place the soft towel or blanket in the bottom of the box. Place the bed in a warm, quiet place not too close to any hallways or walkways. Fill up the bed with nice things your puppy will love.

• Try slipping a hot-water bottle under the blanket. This warmth will remind your puppy of the warmth of his brothers and sisters.

• Place a ticking clock under the blanket or close by. The ticking sound will remind your puppy of his mother's heartbeat.

• Leave a radio on all night. Low-volume sounds of music or a talk show will help keep your puppy comfortable.

• Place a food bowl and a water bowl nearby.

• One or two rubber toys are safe to leave with your puppy even when you're not in the room, as long as they're too large to be swallowed.

• Spread newspapers on the ground around the bed to catch accidents.

House-Training Puppies

Housebreaking — teaching your puppy to go to the bathroom outside — can begin as young as 8 weeks, but puppies don't develop the muscles that control waiting to go to the bathroom until at least 16 weeks. It may then take 6 to 12 months to successfully develop these muscles to get your puppy house trained.

There are two ways to teach a puppy to go to the bathroom outside — crate training and paper training. A crate is a metal or plastic cage. You can make the crate a comfortable den by adding a soft blanket and a toy or two. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and walk around in. The crate is where your puppy should sleep, at least until he's housebroken. Dogs, even puppies, are less likely to go to the bathroom where they sleep, so this is already a big plus for this type of house training. Crate training is also just a two-step process to house-breaking your puppy — not in the crate, but outside. With paper training, you must teach your puppy to go on the paper and then transfer this learned behavior to only going to the bathroom outside.

Puppies need to go to the bathroom often — about once every two hours during the day and once every four hours at night. By about five months, your puppy should be able to wait the whole night before needing to go to the bathroom. So unless you or someone else stays home all day and sets an alarm to get up twice every night, your puppy will have accidents. This is a fact. Practice, consistency, and patience will get you a housebroken puppy.

The only time you can teach your puppy a housebreaking lesson is when you catch him going to the bathroom or immediately afterward. If your puppy goes to the bathroom inside the crate or when he's walking around the house, say "no" in a firm but friendly voice, then immediately take him outside to a spot he's used before. Smelling this area will remind him that outdoors is the place to go to the bathroom. If he is inspired to go again at that point or anytime you are outside, be sure to give him a lot of praise. Praise is a way to tell your puppy he's done something good, something that pleases you. Say things like "good boy" and gently stroke his back and pet his head. Getting everyone else in your house to follow these house-training steps will help your puppy.

Puppies learn by:

Consistency. Respond the same way every time.

Patience. Don't get frustrated and walk away or yell.

Correction. Say "no" and show your puppy what you want her to do.

Praise. Let her know when she does something that pleases you.

If everyone follows the same house-training steps, it's just a matter of time before this job is done and it's time for fun!

Signs its Time to Go

When your puppy needs to go to the bathroom, she'll show you at least two signs: she'll sniff the ground and she'll start walking in circles while sniffing because she's searching for a good spot to go.

Before your puppy starts giving you go signs, take her outside as soon as she wakes up and just after she finishes eating. You'll prevent some accidents this way. But let's face it, just as a baby is not potty-trained overnight, a puppy is going to have accidents. When your puppy has an accident in your home, clean the spot right away and apply an odor remover to the spot. This way she won't smell it and be tempted to go in the same spot again. And remember not to correct her unless you catch her going to the bathroom.

The World of Puppies

Being good and kind and patient with your puppy is important because how you and other people interact with her now will shape her personality later. By the time your puppy is a full-grown adult dog, her personality is completely formed. Early puppy experiences affect her ability to interact with new dogs, interact with new people, learn, be emotionally stable, and be self-confident.

Paws for Thought

Puppies can understand "come" and "stay" by 12 weeks of age with a lot of practice and praise.

Chow Time

How often and how much should you feed your puppy? It all depends on her age. Here's a chart to help you figure out how often your puppy pal gets to chow down.

ages meals per day

Less than or equal to 3 months 4
3-6 months 3
6-9 months 2
Greater than or equal to 9 months 1-2

You should feed your puppy about as much food as she is able to eat in 15 to 20 minutes. If your puppy doesn't chow down as soon as the food's served, you can follow the puppy food package directions for the proper amount. However, this amount may be too much for your puppy. Some veterinarians recommend you cut the package quantity suggestion by one-third. Adjust the amount of food according to your puppy's age, weight, and activity level.

Throw a Puppy Party

During the first eight weeks of life, while your puppy is with her mother, she will learn a lot about how to play and fight by interacting with her littermates. But she won't learn everything before you adopt her. A puppy party is a fun way for you and your puppy to meet and play with other people and new dogs.


* Guest list

* People snacks

* Puppy and dog snacks

* Plenty of toys

* Planned activities


You can send out formal invitations or call friends and relatives on the phone and invite them over for a specific date and time. There are two kinds of puppy parties you can have. You can have a party where you introduce your puppy to your friends and relatives. This will give your puppy a chance to interact with people of all ages, sizes, and activity levels. Or you can invite a couple of friends and their dogs over and carefully introduce your puppy to each dog, one at a time. If you have this second kind of party, be sure to check with all the adults first to make sure they think this is a good idea. Also, it's very important that an adult be present during this kind of party just in case any of the guests become party poopers and don't play nicely. Look to your puppy for signs of stress to decide how much activity is appropriate.

Have plenty of snacks on hand for the guests — those with two and four legs! You can either have enough toys to share among the dog guests or you can have some games planned. (See Chapter 4 for some ideas.) If you share your puppy's toys, after the party wash them all in warm, soapy water and thoroughly rinse them to get rid of the smells of the invited dogs. Remember that dogs use scent to distinguish what belongs to them. Washing off the other dogs' smells reintegrates the toy into your puppy's environment so that he knows it belongs to him.

Puppies are full of energy and curiosity. Everything is new to them, so they're always exploring. Before you know it, your puppy will be an adult dog. Once he's finished growing and he's house and obedience trained, you'll have even more fun.

Greetings in Dog

When your dog meets another dog, she'll sniff the other dog to find out if the other dog is a female or male and to tell if the dog is friendly.


Creature Comforts

About 12,000 years ago dogs evolved from wolves. Dogs still maintain many of the same traits as their wolf ancestors. For example, like wolves, dogs are pack animals. In the wild, they travel in a group and always need a leader. The leader is the one dog who the other dogs have chosen to protect them and to keep them safe. Usually the leader is the oldest male dog. In your household, even if you have only one dog, your dog sees your family as his pack. The leader of your household pack may be the oldest male or the biggest and strongest person in your home.

This chapter is filled with fun things to make your dog comfortable in his new pack.

Make Room for a New Dog

If you're bringing a new dog into your home when you already have one, a little preparation will go a long way to help your new pal get along with your old buddy. Each dog should have her own bed, food and water bowls, and toys. Later, once they become more familiar and comfortable with each other, they may begin sharing, but let them have their own place and space at first.

On the first day you bring home your new dog, introduce him to the dog already in your home on neutral turf — someplace outdoors that doesn't already have your old dog's scent on it; in other words, not in your backyard. Make sure both dogs are on leashes. Let them say hello to each other the doggy way by sniffing and smelling each other. Watch their body language and listen to the noises they make. If you hear any growling, try to distract each dog from the interaction and maybe take a short walk with your old buddy before trying again.


Excerpted from A Dog's Best Friend by Lisa Rosenthal. Copyright © 1999 Lisa Rosenthal. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

The Humane Society
Dogs deserve a lifelong commitment of responsible caring, and Rosenthal's book deserves praise for helping children play their part.
Betty White
Good basic advice, simply stated, is interspersed with enough fun projects to hold the attentions of youngsters both two-legged and four-legged.
—actress and dog lover

Meet the Author

Lisa Rosenthal is a pet owner and playwright. John Caruso is the director of humane education at the Anti-Cruelty Society.

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A Dog's Best Friend: An Activity Book for Kids and Their Dogs 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This helps with my dog issues