If you have read any of my previous book reviews, you will know that I am easily influenced by what I read. It's the same with movies. If I watch a dance movie, I will wish for days that I was a good dancer. If I watch a movie about an artist, or a genius, I will wish that I was that talented. So therefore, I really love to read biographies and non-fiction books as it is more possible for me to take learnings from these. It's a bit unrealistic for me to become Tris from Divergent.
This book was no exception to the above rule. It made me passionate about dog training again, and made me wish that I had enough time and money to devote my life to training dogs for a certain purpose.
The book revolves around the dogs, and their training for the Navy Seals. It follows the author (Mike Ritland) and what made him get involved with dogs in military purposes, and then gravitates towards the actual dogs and some stories of them in action over in Iraq or Afghanistan. The dogs are being trained for bomb detection as well as human apprehension. The book explores into the history behind dogs being used in the military as well as statistics throughout on the difference in deaths/injuries pre-dogs and post-dogs.
I personally really liked reading this book. I will admit that I found it hard to get into the story line at first, since it wasn't immediately about the dogs, and was more following Mike's journey into military and dogs. I think once I got past the first chapter or two, then I had trouble putting the book down and really was so engrossed in it. I found the writing style a bit haywire. He would discuss something, then go on a tangent about something else, not really finishing off what he was originally talking about until later in the chapter. I got used to this pretty quick, but it did mean that I really had to pay attention to what I was reading, otherwise I would get so confused as to what he was talking about. That meant that this was not a book I could read before bed! I do think that if I was to write a book it would be quite similar in the fact that I would go off on tangents, so I can't hold it against the author. I think it was a great touch that alongside stories of these dogs being used in real life situations, and in training, that he incorporated facts that backed up what he was saying. This showed that he had actually put some research behind his way of thinking, and I think that is a great trait in a human. I think that is another reason why he decided that positive training was more beneficial than punishment. He saw and read about the fantastic results, and therefore tried it himself and the proof is really in the pudding.
As I said earlier, this book has inspired me a lot. I was getting a bit lazy on the dog training front with Diego but after reading this it has inspired me to train a lot of different tricks and actions. I really want to try and do some scent work with Diego as I feel this would engage both mind and body and that is what he really needs. It also proves the amount that a dog is capable of, and puts your dogs current daily activities in perspective. I feel like I may be letting both dogs down a little bit as they are not getting nearly as much physical and mental stimulation, and therefore are not living how they were made to live, especially Diego.
I don't want to say too much more about the actual book, because I still want it to be an exciting and gripping read for all of you. It is more for someone that likes a read where you have to think about and comprehend what you are reading, as opposed to a laid back, relaxing book. If you can make it through the first chapter, then you are definitely going to enjoy this book. Rating wise, out of ten, I would give it a six or seven but that in no way says that is is a bad read! Try it for yourself, and if you have already read it, give me a comment down below telling me your overall thoughts on it.
Thanks for reading.
Photo containing all four books is my own. Images of author and his dogs are not mine. I took the photos off Mike Ritland's public FaceBook page and no copyright infringement is intended.