For week two of Nonfiction November, I was tasked with pairing a fiction book with a nonfiction book.
As I love dogs, and I love zombies, I thought I’d pair a book about managing a multi dog household with a horror novel featuring multiple zombie dogs. Perhaps if the characters in the novel read the dog training book they’d pick up some tips on how to manage a zombie dog horde?
Book one: Change of Breed: The Beginning by Ashley Nicole.
The staff of a veterinary surgery get stuck at work when the world ends and their former human and canine patients develop a taste for living flesh.
However, these are not your normal dumb undead. The dogs lay traps, destroy fuel lines on cars and the human zombies show evidence of coordination.
For the vets and technicians it’s not just the animals outside that are cause for concern. Friends become enemies as they fight for survival. As the book cover says, not everyone gets bit but everyone changes.
When I heard about this book I had to buy it. Zombie dogs – two of my favorite things combined into one awesome horror – how could I pass that by? I’d seen zombie dogs in movies like Resident Evil, but I looked forward to reading a book about undead canines as the main antagonist.
There’s a lot about this book I liked. The setting is genius. There just aren’t enough stories about veterinarians. The office provides the characters access to lots of items that are useful in a siege, including drugs, and I enjoyed the medical aspects to the story.
The large cast of characters was well handled, and each person was believable with an interesting back story and progression.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of characters and the narrative took turns following each one without getting close to any of them, which left me not caring what happened to them. It was a little like reading a script at times, where the physical actions were described in detail but I didn’t get to see the actors to bring the characters to life.
The zombies hinted at something exciting, but as this is the first in a series, readers will have to wait for subsequent books to discover exactly what’s going on. The zombie dogs, while interesting when they appeared, didn’t have enough screen time for my liking.
Exciting and fast paced, Change of Breed is an enjoyable zombie novel and a solid start to the series.
I award Change of Breed…
Change of Breed is available for $3 ebook and $12.99 print book on Amazon.
Book Two: How Many Dogs? By Debby McMullen
How Many Dogs? is a practical guide to using positive reinforcement training in a multi dog household, covering topics such as daily management, training and troubleshooting.
I’ve owned this book for a while, and I’ve picked it up and started reading it lots of times, but I’ve always struggled to finish it.
McMullen writes well and there is lots I liked about this book. I was especially interested in her chapter about losing one of the crew, and I liked that she suggested explaining death to the surviving dogs. I’ve always encouraged the dogs to sniff the body of their fallen comrade, if possible, and after a thorough investigation they usually seem to understand what’s happened and show no further interest. I’m not sure if telling the dogs what happened will have any meaning to the canines, but it undoubtedly helps the humans, and I like the idea of dogs and people working together as a crew.
The author also reminds the reader that when you choose to have multiple dogs in your house, you have a responsibility to work hard in making sure that all individuals get along. After all, dogs have no control over who they have to share the house with, and it’s not fair to stick lots of strangers together and tell them to like it or lump it.
McMullen does advocate positive reinforcement training, but she spends a lot of time talking about being a leader to your crew and, while I agree that rules and consistency are essential for a happy relationship between humans and animals, she comes a little too close to dominance theory at times for my liking.
I also found her advice a bit too simple at times. Perhaps if I’d read the book before establishing a multi dog household, or if this was the only dog training book I’d ever read, I’d find it more useful. I think if you already have more than one dog then you have probably found a way to manage the topics brought up in the book. I’d hoped that it would cover dog to dog aggression in more depth, as well as training as a group, and introducing non canine animals to the crew, but it isn’t that sort of book.
McMullen’s heart is certainly in the right place and I’m sure there are many gems to be gleaned from this guide, especially if your new to the world of positive reinforcement training and are looking for a primer.
I award How Many Dogs?…
How Many Dogs? is available for $9.72 ebook and $19.95 print book on Amazon.