“Embracing the Wild in your Dog” – Book Review

This book from publisher FastPencil (2015) is a loving tribute to a man from author Bryan Bailey’s childhood who is never named but referred to as “my mentor” throughout the book. Over the course of many years the man teaches Bailey the skills required to survive the harsh wilderness of Alaska and to study the wolf’s behavior within the pack. This training will carve a career path for Bailey both in the military and as an animal behaviorist.

Each chapter is prefaced by beautiful photography of wolves in the wild and quotations from Native American chiefs whose names you will recall from your American history studies.

While you are never given instructions to address the specific problems you are having with your dog (e.g., aggression, excessive barking), you are left to correlate the behaviors in the wolf world to your dog’s behavior and draw your own conclusion of the cause of your problem.

Bailey is correct in his assessment of trainers. My personal experience is that some want to charge you thousands upfront, with written contracts and guarantees which is in essence a confidence game. They can cause further damage to your already unmanageable dog. Of course, they take no responsibility and blame the failure on the hapless owner.

In summary, I would recommend the book. It is enjoyable and will help you understand why your dog acts as she does. Of course, I would have liked some solid recommendations of stopping some unpleasant behaviors. I will say I will be interested in reading Bailey’s next book.

— Reviewed by Maureen H.