For Kari Neumeyer, it was love at first sight when she first laid eyes on the German Shepherd puppy she would come to call Isis…
With dreams of a loving and loyal best friend, Kari and Rob take the plunge into the exciting world of new dog owners, spending every spare moment doting on their beloved new family member. They do everything they know to make sure they raise their puppy right, from reading books to taking little Isis to obedience classes. It seems as though they couldn’t be happier, until the unthinkable happens, and Isis starts displaying signs of aggression.
Kari struggles to make sense of what is driving Isis’s aggression and turns to her trainer for help. But through the use of traditional punishment-based methods, it seems like her dog’s aggression is only getting worse. Out of frustration, she turns to other trainers and finds that the methods she was taught to use may have been exacerbating the problem all along. After making the change to positive dog training, Kari spends countless hours working with Isis to help her overcome her reactivity, and learns a lot of valuable lessons along the way.
Bark and Lunge is a detailed memoir of one woman’s experiences in raising and rehabilitating a reactive and aggressive dog. Full of humorous and heartwarming stories, this book also tackles some very difficult subjects as well. How far would you be willing to go to save your dog if it became aggressive? As someone who owns a reactive dog myself, I loved Kari’s steely determination to help Isis- at any cost. The emotional roller-coaster she details in this memoir is quite familiar to me, and I think to anyone who owns a reactive dog. Just reading about her struggles and successes was a cathartic experience for me, and while there is a load of great information layered through the pages of this book on the various aspects of dog behavior and training, you certainly don’t have to own a reactive dog (or any dog at all for that matter) to truly enjoy this story. And of course, with a recommendation from the legendary Dr. Ian Dunbar, (founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers) this book is a no-brainer for any animal lover- I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Rating: 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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About this author
Kari’s name rhymes with safari. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School and has worked for news outlets in Washington state and the Czech Republic.
She grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television.
Now she lives in Bellingham, Washington, with her beau, Rob, and their dog family.
In her spare time, she volunteers teaching an adaptive martial arts class to adults with developmental disabilities at the Max Higbee Center, fostering a love of creative writing to Whatcom Young Writers, and walking shelter dogs at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley.
She blogs about dogs at KariNeumeyer.com.