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Book Review
Childproofing Your Dog
by Brian Kilcommons & Sarah Wilson

Review by: Kate Connick, May 2006

A favorite among parents, Brian Kilcommons & Sarah Wilson's Child-Proofing Your Dog is remarkable for both its sensible, practical advice, as well as its exceptional readability.

The authors identify qualities that make for a good family dog, emphasizing, "To work well in the average family, dogs must accept noise, lots of touching and be forgiving."

They offer tips on choosing a puppy or adult dog, as well as how to prepare an existing dog for the arrival of a new baby, how to foster safety in the presence of a toddler, and how to realistically share responsibility for the family dog with young children.

The 7-page chapter titled, "Dogproofing Your Child" should be required reading for every parent and dog owner. Deceptively brief and simple, it captures the essence of what a child (or adult) needs to know to avoid the majority of preventable dog bites.

Kilcommons & Wilson are exceptional authors in that they manage to pack a tremendous amount of information into a very concise package. At 84 pages, this little paperback is easily devoured in one sitting - a decided advantage for today's busy parents. Moreover, the style of writing is instructive yet conversational, resulting in a very palatable, deceptively breezy guidebook.

I suppose one could argue that the book lacks depth, but that is intentional. The authors retain a tight focus on their limited topic, readily referring the reader elsewhere as needed. One is expected to teach the family dog obedience to basic commands, for example, although the specifics of how to go about doing that are outside the scope of this book. Similarly, pet owners are encouraged to hire behaviorists to evaluate and remediate serious behavior problems.

The fundamental messages of supervision, control, and safety are presented cogently. The reader is urged to foresee potential problems and sensibly act to prevent them by addressing both dog and child sides of the equation. This is excellent reading and makes a thoughtful, affordable gift. While it may not answer all questions, it covers the basics and does so in an engaging manner.

Child-Proofing Your Dog, by Brian Kilcommons & Sarah Wilson.
Published by Warner Books, 1994. ISBN: 0446670162

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