Book Teaches Children How to Train and Socialize a Puppy
Authors Giselle Nevada and Jennie Chen join host Laura Reeves to share the story of their new book, “The Puppy Adventures of Porter and Midge – Out and About,” a book about two puppies who go on adventures, written by dog people to share with the general public.
“As dog people, these dogs are our lives,” Chen said. “Our entire lives revolve around them. So our way of communication is certainly at a different level because we’ve got the depth of knowledge that the general public doesn’t necessarily have. They might have a couple of pets throughout their lifetimes, where we’ve got dogs that we train, show, live with us, live with somebody else, and those sorts of things.
“So being able to communicate to someone who can only take a tiny snippet of what we understand in the dog world is so difficult. And then trying to translate that to a child who may not have all of the communication skills and mobility skills. How do we communicate these ideas to kids, to this different audience, so that as they grow, these are the things that are really important? What does a puppy see when they’re out in public? So yeah, we’re very passionate about this.”
The dog “characters” in the book are a Mastiff and a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, the breeds Nevada and Chen own. The two friends met while living in Austin, TX, and developed this project from their combined passions.
“You will see a lot of people who are in the dog world also drawn in,” Chen added. “They may not be the characters, but they may be the people you know walking around on the street, the veterinarian, other people, and other dogs that you may already know from the show world. So we try to incorporate a lot of that. We also want to incorporate a lot of the breeds that aren’t as well known, like we have a Bouvier in there.
“We really wanted to speak to a different audience. Because it’s not just, ‘Oh, this is what I’m to do with an adult.’ This is what we need to do as a puppy. And now you layer on a kid, How do you get a kid to understand that? Because they don’t understand the same things we understand. They’re not able to pick up the visual cues, the body language that dogs have. How do we introduce them to this idea of socialization?”
Listen to the entire episode for more details or watch on YouTube.
New Children’s Book Devoted to the History of our Best Friends
Host Laura Reeves is joined by world famous children’s book author and illustrator Lita Judge to discuss her newest release, “Dogs: A History of Our Best Friends.” Spoiler alert, Laura and Lita share a friendship dating back almost 40 years!
The book is the result of the pandemic providing Judge the time and mental space to focus on a topic she’d wanted to write about for years, she said.
“I think the reason I hadn’t written it sooner was because it was just a massive amount of research. It covers 40,000 years of the history of dogs,” Judge said. “And there’s so much information about: how did we domesticate them, did they self-domesticate, you know, stacks of books to read. And I felt like I had the quiet space to just really dive into this because I knew that this project was going to be a total labor of love.
“It’s my second longest book that I’ve done. And I just wanted to do it. Well, when I was going to do it, you know, I got to research medieval times and prehistoric times and what was our relationship to dogs in 1st century China and how did dogs serve in war and what do therapy dogs do? And you know, all this vast amount of information, I knew this really needed a nice chunk of time to devote to it. So the time was right.
A life-long dog lover raised by two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and an Alaskan Malamute, Judge said “the thing I was the most curious about was how did we get from wolf to dog. And that was just so mind blowing. Like, how does that transition happen? And it was so interesting because I had to talk to different scientists and you know, I used to be a geologist and I worked on dinosaur digs. So I knew everybody has an opinion on these questions. The consensus seems to be more and more they self-domesticated and that they have the social skills because they work as pack animals and they understand working together that they were able to make that leap in working with us.
“So I think that was the thing I was really fascinated by. The other thing I was blown away with is that dogs were prescribed as treatment as early as the Middle Ages. If you had a stomach-ache, hold a dog. We didn’t understand why (then). Now we know it lowers your cortisone, lowers your blood pressure, releases oxytocin. I mean, we know why now, but we didn’t understand that why then. And yet we knew it worked. You know, we knew that that relationship with our dogs was that incredible that it’s actually healing, and luckily healing for the dog as well.”
Listen in to the full episode or watch the interview on our YouTube channel for more insight and special takeaways that apply to the dog world from Lita’s journey from shy, withdrawn teenager to world traveler, doing book tours and speaking engagements for thousands and even how she met her husband on a cross-country bicycle trip.