Supporting agility dogs with specialist lifetime cover

Stimulating play to entertain your dog and you

Author: Christiane Blenski
Translated from German by Anna McLuckie
Reviewed by Lesley White
Publisher: Hubble & Hattie

Description: A quick and easy read for anyone who just wants to have more fun with their dog. This book contains many ideas for games that you can play with your dog. It is aimed at stimulating play to entertain both you and your dog.

Dog Games – Stimulating play to entertain your dog and youContents:

• Includes a games pace test
• Over 50 new games
• Ideas for all dogs: large, small, young, old
• Every game is explained in detail and illustrated with several photos

Why did you want to review this book?
As a teacher, I believe that even if I only learn one thing after attending a workshop or course, reading a book or watching a DVD, it has been worth it.

What specifically did you like about the book?
One thing I liked was that most of the equipment suggested in the book can be found at home - old socks, umbrella, yoghurt pots, old towels, newspapers etc. which is appreciated in this time of rising costs. Other items such as Kongs™, clickers, hula hoops, wooden ball racks would need investment but that's down to you and your budget.

Without a doubt the games are fun, motivating and will improve your bond with your dog. They range from physical activities such as 'Jolly Brolly' Mountain Climber and Run with Me to mental activities such as Memory Games and Don't Lose Your Battle. Each game is set out the same, beginning with the name of the game and its level of difficulty. Comments in orange boxes related to the photographs, while comments in green boxes that appear occasionally related to more technical aspects of training.

All the photos in the book are in colour and very clear. They are taken outdoors in a variety of locations, making them look natural rather than posed.

The dogs used vary in breed and size, supporting the premise that dog games can be done by all.

What could have been better?
Did I Learn anything from this book. Sadly, not much.

From a health and safety aspect I would question some of the equipment used in the games such as balloons in Airy-Fairy, the small size of the balls used with the larger dogs and the small plastic boats used in Ship Snacks, As a responsible dog owner I would replace these suggested items with my own safer alternative.

As with my aspects of training, all you need is time and some imagination. n the back cover it states that the book 'is is a quick and easy to get the hang of games so you spend less time reading and more time playing, However, explanations of the games do not start until page 34. Up until then the author writes about playing as a team (with your dog) motivation, guide to games, a questionnaire, a humourless story, results of the questionnaire, paying without your dog, checklist, stress and a short assignment. I began to switch off.

I would have liked to read more biographical information about the author, supported by a photograph and lees about the publisher who not only list all their other publications on the front of the book but devote two pages at the back showing the covers of their other publications along with the ISBN Number and price.

What did you think of the design & format of the book?
The size of the book is 25cm x 25cm (9.75in x 9.75in) square not a size commonly used in the UK. The cover unfolds both at the front and back to reveal information about the dogs and people featured in the book as well as other titles produced by the publishers. Paperback. 128 pages. 245 colour pics. ISBN: 978-1-845843-32-8

£15.99 . For new dog owners, this book would be a good springboard for playing with your dog and having fun. That is why the price seem acceptable compared to others on the market.

Does this book represent value for money?
Yes, for new/novice dogs. If I was a new dog handler I no doubt would have got a lot from this book especially if I was one of those people who had gone to pet dog training classes but was always reluctant to 'let my hair down' in front of others by being too 'exciting' for my dog. No for experienced dog owners.

What is your overall rating of this book?
10/10  For new/novice dog owners as it might encourage the 'lazy' owner to get out there in the good weather with their dog and have fun.  2/10 for experienced dog owners.

About the publisher
Hubble & Hattie have published over 20 books relating to animals, the majority of which are canine related.

About the Reviewer...
Lesley White is new to agility but not to dog training. She has owned dogs for 28 years, shown her Yorkshire Terrier Robin at Crufts and studied at Bishop Burton College on the B Ed Canine Behaviour & Training Course.

She started to compete in 2011 but has spent the last four years attending and supporting her daughter Amanda and her G6 Papillon Team and her good friend Alyson Martin who is also her trainer. Lesley's Border Collie Bentley qualified as a Search & Rescue dog in 2008. In 2009 she founded Lowland Search Dogs Kent. Although she enjoyed this very rewarding voluntary work, the politics were too much and she retired in 2010.

In addition to Bentley, Lesley has a 17 month old English Springer Spaniel called Woody who is a real Jekyll and Hyde.   Indoors he is calm and affectionate and a pleasure to own. Outside, however, he is a typical ESS but with ADHD, on drugs and absolutely no body awareness,

During the day, she is a teacher, qualified in teaching English to secondary school pupils. She is also a qualified dance teacher and fitness instructor.

Available from the publishers direct or Agility Warehouse

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First published 30 July 2011


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