Looking at Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs, I had to remind myself to never judge a book by its cover. The book looked like a silly, frivolous picture book that was created just for fun, with bright, bold pictures and silly sentiments. So you can imagine how surprised I was to learn that the book had lots of substance—which, I reckoned, it should have, since I found it on a forum about books that pack a positive punch about animals.
Don’t Lick the Dog is a how-to guide when it comes to caring for and meeting new dogs. I even learned a lot of things myself while reading the book. For example, if a dog is jumping on you, did you know that you should cross your arms over your chest and turn away from him or her to discourage the jumping? That would have come in handy in so many situations!
Another good tip was to be still when a dog is growling—though I’m not sure I’d be able to do that myself, especially if the dog is big! I also learned that when you let a dog sniff your hand to get to know you, you are supposed to curl your fingers beneath your hand so they don’t mistake your hand for a treat or a presentation of treats. I have always extended my fingers straight under a dog’s nose, which must look pretty stupid to people who know how to do it right! You’re also supposed to stand still if a dog is smelling your shoe to allow him to get used to you.
Another great tip is to turn away from a dog and pretend that you are shy if a dog is too shy to approach you. This will allow her to build up her confidence and get used to you before you can pet her and show affection. I also like how it shows the “wrong” way to pat a dog, since many kids—particularly toddlers—do this when it’s the wrong thing to do.
Meeting a new dog is something that most people will do at some point in their lives, yet none of us are really taught how to meet them properly. Many kids aren’t even taught to ask, “May I pet your dogs?” as they are reminded to ask in the book. I think it’s a very important book to read to children in order to teach how to treat animals—especially if you end up getting a pet yourself!—and it would be a perfect addition to any library.