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Seven Ages of Man's Best Friend: A Comprehensive Guide for Caring for Your Dog Through All the Stages of Life


Do our dogs experience the equivalent of infancy and puberty? Do they go through the terrible teens or struggle with midlife crises? And what can we do to ensure they take each step in stride? In The Seven Ages of Man's Best Friend, best-selling author Jan Fennell leads us through the key phases of a dog's development by uniquely defining the seven ages of our dogs. In a fresh, new approach to the subject, Jan charts a dog's life in stages: the buoyant, boundless energy of the Puppy and the Pioneer, the ...

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2006 Hardcover First US Edition New in New dust jacket; Remainder mark 0060822198. 9.42H x0.95D x7.18W; 320 pages; Jan Fennell, author of The Dog Listener, presents a ... comprehensive guide for the care of your dog. The book is well illustrated and takes the reader from canine infancy to adolescence to maturity andlate life. It is a must for every dog owner. Buy now as a gift for a dog lover. Read more Show Less

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Do our dogs experience the equivalent of infancy and puberty? Do they go through the terrible teens or struggle with midlife crises? And what can we do to ensure they take each step in stride? In The Seven Ages of Man's Best Friend, best-selling author Jan Fennell leads us through the key phases of a dog's development by uniquely defining the seven ages of our dogs. In a fresh, new approach to the subject, Jan charts a dog's life in stages: the buoyant, boundless energy of the Puppy and the Pioneer, the troublesome teens that are the ages of the Playboy and the Protégé, the difficult middle years of the Pretender and the Protector, and the twilight years of the Pensioner.

The book works as a comprehensive guide to coping with the problems that crop up at particular times in a dog's development, including training and vaccinations as well as puberty and parenthood.

In The Dog Listener, Jan Fennell changed the way we think about our dogs. Now, in her most important book since, Jan once more challenges conventional thinking and puts forward an alternative view of the dog's world. It is a book you will want to read straight through — then keep close at hand for years.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fourteen thousand years ago, a wolf stepped out of the forest and entered a human village. Centuries later, selective breeding has produced dogs that bear little external resemblance to their lupine ancestors but retain much of their wolf genetics. Indeed, trainer Fennell (The Dog Listener) asserts that understanding wolf psychology and social structure is the key to comprehending dog behavior. To that end she explains the life stages through which wolves pass, describing the challenges, both physical and psychological, that each stage presents and drawing parallels in the growth and development of dogs. Written for the layperson, this is a comprehensive guide to raising and training a dog, covering all aspects of doggy demeanor from health and behavioral issues to grooming and training. Patricia B. McConnell's The Other End of the Leash deals with similar topics but Fennell's seven-stage approach is distinctive. The only drawback here is the British references to kennel clubs, breed groupings, measurements, and orthopedic screening agencies. Nevertheless, given its wealth of information, emphasis on positive training methods, and easy-to-read style, this manual is recommended for public libraries.-Florence Scarinci, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060822194
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/7/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Seven Ages of Man's Best Friend

A Comprehensive Guide for Caring for Your Dog Through All the Stages of Life
By Jan Fennell

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Jan Fennell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060822198

Chapter One

In the Wild

A wolf pup spends the first part of its life, around nine months, within close proximity of the den where it is raised. During these months it passes through the initial distinct phases of its life. For the first three weeks or so, the wolf pup is utterly dependent on its mother. It remains close to her at all times, suckling to her bosom in the den. During this time, the family unit remains undisturbed by the pack. Despite being the leader of the pack, even their father, the alpha male, stays away during this time.

After three weeks or so, however, the puppies will be able to walk and make their first furtive movements away from their mother. At the same time, their father, the alpha, and the rest of the pack begin interacting with them.

A wolf pack is a well-oiled machine, a tightly knit team in which every member knows its place and its job. And from the very beginning every wolf is groomed to take its position in that chain of command. During the pups' first weeks every adult wolf has become "broody" too, producing a hormone called prolactin. They know the newcomers represent the pack's futuresurvival. They know too that more than half of the new litter will not survive into adulthood. (Disease, starvation and predators claim 60 percent of young wolves before they reach the age of two.) So, as the pups emerge into the den, the pack begins the job of educating their new members about the day-to-day realities of surviving lupine life.

The messages the pups get during this phase are powerful and formative ones. They see how facial expression and body language convey important signals about status. They learn how their elders also use these signals to avoid confrontations. They see that rank is determined by a combination of experience and personality, with the stronger characters rising to the top of the pack. And by watching the way the grown-up wolves interact, particularly with the alpha, the pups get their first glimpses of how the very top of that hierarchy works.

But the most immediate lessons they learn come from play. As they begin chasing, retrieving and play-fighting with their siblings, they not only develop their physical abilities but also begin to see where their strengths-- and ultimately their place in the pack --lie. This is the very beginning of their preparation for full-fledged membership of the pack. In time, the natural herders, stalkers and attackers will begin to emerge.

The domestic dog's first eight weeks echo those of its ancient ancestor.

The First Age: Overview

The first eight weeks of a puppy's life are the equivalent of two and a half human years. So it is not surprising that it spends this time wrestling with a dizzying array of questions. Who am I? What am I? What is my relationship with the dogs and humans around me? How does the world in which I find myself function? And how am I going to survive within it?

During the first days the mother will be entirely responsible for guiding it through this minefield. But, as the dog develops, its human owners will quickly come to the fore, dealing with everything from weaning it off its mother's milk, to toilet training and grooming, worming and starting its vaccination program.

Most important of all, in the absence of the pack, which would teach a dog in its natural wild habitat, humans must take on a key role in helping the newborn's mental and physical development. They must learn to communicate in a language that the puppy will understand. And to be able to do that they must first establish the dog's trust, forging a bond in which the puppy feels safe, secure and happy in their company.

The early hours -- birth and beyond

The first few moments of a dog's life are traumatic. The newborn puppy emerges from the warm, safe, dark environment that is the womb into a world filled with new smells and sensations. Often it does so with a bump. I've seen a dog give birth standing up so that its puppies fell out headfirst, landing on the floor with a plop. It is little wonder that the newborn finds it an overwhelming experience. Fortunately its mother will be there to reassure and care for it. And her maternal instincts are by now so intense that she will be fixated on its welfare for the crucial first two to three weeks to come.

The puppy is born encased in a sac filled with amniotic fluid that has been attached to the placenta. Often this is split open during the process of labor, but if not the mother will tear it open herself with her teeth. She will then stimulate the puppy to breathe by vigorously licking at the mucus that covers its face in the wake of the birth.

During these first few moments the puppy is getting used to being outside the womb. The mother will stimulate it until she hears the puppy emitting a sweet, muffled mutting sound and sees it making small movements and nodding its head. She also chews the umbilical cord with her teeth, the ripping movement acting as a stimulant to the puppy.

Unlike a herbivore baby who is up on its feet in minutes, canine puppies are helpless and have no protection at all. Their eyes are closed tight and their ears are pinned back, like little triangles. Their head at this point is disproportionately large compared with the rest of the body. Yet their instincts are already telling them what to do.

Within a very short time the puppy's little head comes up and it begins to sniff the air. It is drawn to the mother's body by her warmth and is soon attaching itself to her teats. It is a wonderful thing to witness a tiny newborn puppy work its way from . . .


Excerpted from The Seven Ages of Man's Best Friend by Jan Fennell Copyright © 2006 by Jan Fennell. Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Table of Contents

Picture Credits x
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 13
From Wolf to Wolfhound: The Evolution of the Modern Dog 16
Puppy: 0-8 Weeks 23
In the Wild 24
The First Age: Overview 26
The Early Hours - Birth and Beyond 26
Suckling Machines - The FirstTen Days 27
The First Turning Point - Ten Days Onward 28
Three Weeks - The Extended Pack Forms 29
Handling the Puppy 31
Teaching Recognition - Giving a Dog a Good Name 33
The Power of Play 34
Cutting the Apron Strings - Weaning and Toilet Training 36
Weaning 36
Toilet Training: When, Where and How? 49
Personality Testing 51
Well-being 55
A Healthy Start: Protecting Your Puppy from Illness 55
Internal Parasites: Worming 55
Eye Testing 58
Teeth 62
Feet 63
Pioneer: 8-12 Weeks 65
In the Wild 66
The Second Age: Overview 68
Feeling at Home in the Human World-The Young Dog's Needs 68
A Safe Haven-What the Dog is Looking for in its New Den 70
The First 48 Hours 70
A Space of its Own 71
Making the Home Safe and Secure 72
A Place to Play 73
"No Go" Zones 73
A Place to Toilet 74
Diet 75
Canine Companionship 76
The Dog's Senses - And How to Use Them to Your Advantage 77
Smell 78
Sound 79
Breeds Apart - What Different Dogs Demand from Their Owners 80
Physical Demands 80
Spatial Demands 81
Grooming Demands 81
Dogs with Medical / Life-Span Demands 87
Laying the Boundaries-Providing the Structure and Security a Young Dog Needs 87
Training - Laying the Foundations 87
The Art of Canine Communication: An Introduction 88
Food Power 93
Typical Problems 95
Teething Troubles: Dealing with Biting 95
Independence Anxiety 96
Crying at Night 98
Canine Rivalries 99
Rivalries with Other Animals 101
Well-being 102
Vaccinations 102
Grooming: The Key to Good Health 105
The Home Vet: Checking on Your Dog's Health While Grooming 112
Playboy: 3-9 Months 129
In the Wild 130
The Third Age: Overview 132
Growing Up Fast-The Physical Change 132
Watching Your Dog's Weight 133
Body Scoring: How to Monitor Your Dog's Weight and Condition 134
Dealing with Weight Problems 136
Pushing the Boundaries 137
Heel Work and Preparing for the Walk 138
First Steps: Going Out on the Walk 143
Moving into the Wider World - Typical Problems 157
Canine Confrontations 157
Fear of Noises on the Walk 158
Introducing Dogs to Other Breeds 159
Traveling: Getting Used to the Car 160
Well-being 162
Grooming / Health Care 162
Puberty 162
How to Tell When Your Dog Has Entered Puberty 162
Neutering 165
When Not to Neuter 165
Single-Litter Mothers 166
Overheated Hormones: Dealing with an Overamorous Dog 166
Protege: 9-18 Months 169
In the Wild 170
The Fourth Age: Overview 172
The Apprentice 172
The Stay and Recall 173
Off the Leash - Letting Your Dog Run Free on the Walk 175
Freedom - FirstTime Off the Leash 176
Accidents Will Happen 177
Diagnosing the Problem 178
Specific Injuries 179
Useful Tip: Playing in the Snow: How to Avoid Ice Balls 184
Dogs Behaving Badly - How to Deal with "Difficult" Dogs 185
Taking Charge of the Four Key Areas 187
How to Establish Leadership When Reuniting: Step by Step 189
How to Be an Effective Leader 200
Well-being 202
Hip and Elbow Scoring 202
Pretender: 18-28 Months 209
In the Wild 210
The Fifth Age: Overview 212
Challenging Times 212
Leadership Challenges 213
Challenges on the Walk 214
Challenges at Mealtimes 216
The Ultimate Sanction - Countering Challenges to Your Leadership 217
When and How to Banish a Dog 218
Breeding 219
To Breed or Not to Breed? 219
Finding the Right Partner for Your Dog 221
Successful Mating - Getting It Right 223
Making a Detailed Birth Plan 225
Pregnancy 225
The Pup's Progress 225
The Mother's Progress 228
Phantom Pregnancies 231
The Final Countdown 232
Delivery Day - Helping Your Dog Through Whelping 233
Items to Have on Hand 233
How to Spot That Whelping Is About to Begin 234
Whelping 234
Litter Sizes 236
Problem Deliveries 236
When to Call the Vet 237
Helping Out: How to Help the Mother 239
Protector: 28 Months to Around 7Years 243
In the Wild 244
The Sixth Age: Overview 246
The Die Is Cast 246
The Best Days of Their Lives - Helping Your Dog Enjoy Its Prime 247
Field and Working Trials 248
Agility 248
Flyball 249
Obedience Competitions 250
Dog Shows 250
Doing What Comes Naturally 251
Mixed-up Dogs 251
Potential Behavioral Problems 252
Severe Aggression 252
Separation Anxiety 255
Nervous Aggression at Mealtimes 257
Toilet Troubles 258
Car Chaos 261
Rescue Dogs 262
Living with a Rescue Dog 263
Well-being 265
Middle-Age Spread - Overweight Dogs 265
How to Tell if Your Dog Is Overweight 265
Dieting: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight 266
Problems Associated with Obesity 267
Pensioner: Around 7Years and Beyond 271
In the Wild 272
The Seventh Age: Overview 274
Longevity - How Long Will My Dog Live? 274
Average Life Spans by Breed 275
Your Dog's Age in Human Terms According to Size - A Guide 276
Emotional Old Age 276
Interacting with Other Dogs 278
Growing Old Gracefully - Looking After an Aging Dog 279
Patience 279
Comfort 279
Routine 280
Companionship 280
Exercise 281
Diet 281
Adapting the Dog's Diet to Old Age 281
Overweight and Underweight Dogs 282
Coaxing Old Dogs to Eat 282
Special Needs 283
An Elderly Dog's Best Friend - The Importance of the Vet 283
Grooming 284
What to Look For 285
Well-being 287
Medical Problems 287
Cancer 288
Senility 289
Heart Conditions 290
Bowel and Bladder Problems 290
Sight and Sound - The Senses Fade 292
Loss of Hearing 292
Loss of Sight 294
The Final Farewell 297
Euthanasia 297
A Fitting Farewell: What to Do with Your Dog 300
A Fresh Start 300
Further Information 302
Contacts in the U.S. 302
Contacts in the U.K. 303
Other Contacts/Kennel Clubs 303
Index 308
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