A picture of the book, "The Complete Dog Book."

Within minutes of opening this book, I found myself checking the date it was published and demanding to know just how old this book is. The rottweiler hasn’t been hugely popular since the mid-90s, but the book was published in 2015. (ad) Not a promising start.

The book also tends toward admonishment, letting people know how expensive, time consuming, and inappropriate for most people dogs are. On the one hand, I’m sympathetic to the author. As a dog groomer I’ve seen firsthand just how many people severely neglect their dogs. You would be shocked by the number of people who truly, genuinely, should not own pets.

Yet at the same time, our shelters are overcrowded. If we selected only the people who stayed at home and had the money for even the most advanced veterinary treatments, I suspect the number of dogs being euthanized for lack of homes would rise significantly.

The Lecture Continues

Throughout the book, the author’s low opinion of dog owners in general is apparent through word choice if nothing else. After the initial warning about dogs being expensive and time consuming, they also tell you to lock the dog up somewhere else at night because your “rage” is a form of attention. Yikes. Who is raging at their lonely puppy in the middle of the night?

It then continues with how people “Think they are doing something” for their dogs if they bother to mix some carbs into a semi-moist packet. Grooming isn’t just to keep the dog comfortable, but also a dominance display.

While there are some good tips in this book, many in fact, I can’t recommend it. The entire dog care section of the book is written as if the reader is the scum of the Earth, and it just doesn’t sit well with me.

Fortunately, this is only about a quarter of the book. The rest of the book goes over the different breeds and is actually a good and relatively honest inventory of each breed.

Do the breed overviews make up for the complete lack of empathy in the first section of the book? Not really. Not when there’s a perfectly good dog encyclopedia from the Smithsonian Institute that is just as detailed.

I just can’t recommend this book.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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