by Steve Dale

Whether for information on training adopted dogs, an entertaining read about one perpetually bad dog, or the touching story of blind cat, here are half a dozen fall reading choices for adults, and some books for younger animal lovers:

"Do over Dogs: Give Your Dog a Second Chance for a First Class Life," by Pat Miller

As the legendary Miller, a trainer who trains the trainers points out, most dogs deserve a second chance, but how do you go about it? Finally, here's an excellent book (manual in some ways) describing the process. Two problems over-represented among shelter and rescue dogs are resource guarding and separation distress, both focused on in great detail. I'm partial to the section on dog-training myths. Myth No. 4: "Dogs can't be trained with positive reinforcement. You have to punish them so they know when they are wrong." To all of these myths, Miller responds with experience, science and a dose of common sense.

"Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat," by Gwen Cooper

Now available in paperback, this is memoir (which sold well in hard cover) about how to live with a blind cat. Homer may be the most friended cat ever, with over 15,000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Homer's story demonstrates the adoptability of special needs cats, rabbits and dogs. A cat that might have been euthanized. Homer now enjoys celebrity status. He is generally a fun-loving but ordinary cat. The story, though, is extraordinary.

"Fixing Freddie: A TRUE story about a Boy, a Single Mom, and the Very Bad Beagle Who Saved Them," by Paul Munier

The family didn't need another dog, but there Mom was with Freddie. In the style of "Marley and Me," this is the funny memoir of a single mom whose youngest son is now grown and ready to move on, while the author is left alone with Freddie. Able to raise kids, no problem. Able to raise a dog? Not this one. Did she fix Freddie? Well, you'll have to read the book.

"Chase!: Managing Your Dog's Predatory Instincts," by Clarissa von Reinhardt

It's called prey drive, and it's in the genes of many dogs. They don't merely want to chase a squirrel or a cat; they want to kill it. Can you actually train the genetic drive away? Well, maybe. The author is a dog trainer who lives and works in Germany.

"Pukka: The Pup After Merle," by Ted Kerasote

The author demonstrates how to raise and socialize a puppy using over 200 photographs. You may not recognize Kerasote's name but you might know his previous top-selling book, "Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog." The text offers the perspective of the dog. The scenic photos of Wyoming are nice and the book is all very sweet - but there's nothing new here.

As school begins, maybe one of these books for young people may come in handy for an extra-credit project:

"The Adventures of Harvey the Wonder Dog:Harvey the Hungry Dog," by Lise Dominique, illustrated by Chrissie Vales

Writing for kids, and finding just the right tone can be like walking a tightrope if the goal is to educate and entertain. This author pulls it off. The story and the book are just delicious. That's because so much of the tale is about food. Dominique begins: "Critters tend to look at things one of two ways. They are either dangerous or delicious."

Harvey is a wonder dog, from finding a way to get sausages at the July 4th Parade to what he hungers for more than anything, love. But then, that's true of all dogs.

"Animal Rescue Team: Special Delivery!," by Sue Stauffacher, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

This latest Animal Rescue Team adventure involves a stinky skunk (are there another kind?), a murder of crows, and other mysteries the team of teenage sleuths is set to solve. The message - about rescuing animals - is a good one, and the book is fast paced. This is the second in a series; the third installment will be out later this fall.

"Mamba Point," by Kurtis Scaletta

The PR material begins, "Africa is a place that most kids only read about. Linus Tuttle is about to call it his home." And with Africa come an assortment of wild animals, but Linus repeatedly happens upon deadly black mamba snakes. They're rare, and hard to spot for people seeking them out. So why does Linus see them so often? Ahh, something's going on here.








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