Book Review: Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know

This blog started off as a diary to chronicle our adventures as we navigated our way through our first experiences fostering dogs.  We also wanted to get our foster dogs as much exposure as possible, so we talked about their personalities, quirks and funny habits.  Over the past year, our blog has morphed to include tips on dog training, social etiquette, and news about large-scale rescues.  And now we can add “book reviewer” to our résumé!

TLC Book Tours  is a virtual book tour website – not to be confused with the television network home of one Miss Honey Boo Boo. Over the summer, Trish Collins (the “T” in TLC Book Tours) contacted me about writing a review on our blog for a new book of short stories from a dog’s point of view. So wait a minute, I thought, you’re going to send me a free advanced copy of this book about dogs (!!) and all I have to do is tell my wonderful blog readers if I liked it?  Well score one for Foster Mom, because what Trish didn’t know about me was that in addition to being just a little bit dog crazy, I also happen to be a huge book nerd.  And books about dogs? Let’s just say, the last three books I read were A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, and The Art of Racing in the Rain.  Loved and highly recommend them all, by the way, but they are not the subject of this review…

Last month I finally got my paws (har) on the book in question, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson.  I already knew (by doing some advanced cyber-stalking research) the description of the book as listed on their website:

In this book, 11 courageous canines reveal the secrets they have kept for centuries.  A series of 115 short essays written by eleven different dogs who are willing to tell the truth — every last dirty, hairy, bit of it. Why they always dash to a rug when they have to throw up. Why they eat furniture when endless chew toys are nearby. And why they’re always absolutely starving.

Well that sounded promising.  As I started flipping through the book, I noticed that the pages were filled with bright graphics and adorable photos and doodles of our heroes and heroines depicting their adventures. Every page included an individual short essay by one of our eleven narrators.  Though “essay” seems to be the wrong word – these musings are written out in letter form, that might as well start with the words “Dear Human.” These dogs are, after all, breaking rank from their fellow canines and divulging the deepest of secrets to their guardians.  And I am so glad they did!

We’ve all wondered what our pups were thinking with an inquisitive head tilt or a guilty look. Well wonder no more, because it’s all here – “why do we eat grass, why do we circle, why do we bark?”  Each dog has their own personality and writing style as they discus everything from how they feel about dressing up in clothing to the circle of life.

You’ve got Moonbeam, who “accidentally” tricks her hippie Person into thinking her dead life coach is haunting their guest house.  There’s Sarge, the German Shepherd who just can’t seem to hold down a steady job until he finally learns to enjoy retirement.  Darling Sophie, an elderly Cocker Spaniel, spends her pages reflecting on all the special moments she and her Person experienced together as she nears the end of her life.  But far and away, my favorite narrator was Tinkerbell, the high maintenance Chihuahua with a Great Dane sized attitude and her own Facebook page.  Hilarious!

Now, for the negative…in the animal rescue world, we all know how essential it is to spread the importance of spay/neuter.  With four million dogs and cats put down every day (that’s one every 8 seconds), pet overpopulation is a huge problem.  While I chuckled at Bandana the Border Collie lamenting that after being left at the vet, he awoke to find that his favorite balls were gone, I didn’t care for the light tone the authors took with poor Gabby, a long-haired Dachshund who found herself knocked up by her first birthday, or with Rufus, the Bloodhound who tracked down a bitch in heat and had his way with her in a parked van. Those bits left me feeling a little icky. While I get that not everyone gets their dogs fixed, I would have liked to at least see the pet overpopulation theme addressed in the same approachable way the authors dealt with other serious topics in the book, like dogs being abandoned on the side of the road, and moving on after the death of a beloved pet.

The only other bummer for me was that there were no pit bulls represented among the narrators.  However, with the hundreds of breeds of dogs in the world and these authors only picking 11 of them to feature, I can hardly fault them for that.  Still, it would have been nice to see the hilarious antics of a pit bull portrayed from his or her own point of view. Maybe in a sequel?

All in all, would I recommend this book? YES. Any dog lover who can look past the “puppies having puppies”  parts and take this book for what it is – a lighthearted fun read that at times is laugh-out-loud funny – will surely enjoy this book.

Thank you, TLC Book Tours, for including our humble little blog on your virtual book tour for Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. We loved the book, and we had a blast!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour…

October 2nd: Peppermint PhD
October 3rd: 4 The Love of Animals
October 4th: Kritters Ramblings
October 8th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
October 11th: notes from a dog walker
October 15th: The Written World
October 16th: Dog is God in Reverse
October 17th: Book Hooked Blog
October 18th: Book Dilettante
October 22nd: Our Waldo Bungie
October 23rd: Savvy Verse & Wit
October 24th: Something Wagging This Way Comes
October 25th: 24 Paws of Love
October 26th: A blog from the dog house…
October 29th: Dog Foster Mom
October 30th: Reading on a Rainy Day
October 31st: Rescued Insanity
November 1st: Books & Things
November 2nd: Mr. & Mrs. & Nola Kisses
November 5th: Proud Book Nerd
November 6th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Hey, don’t forget about this guy –  Cooper is running for president AND is available for adoption!  If you’d like to add Coop to your family or cast your vote for him, visit Agape Animal Rescue.



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10 responses to “Book Review: Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know

  1. My copy is on my nightstand as we speak. Glad to hear you liked it, I’m only half way so far, good thing we are the final stop on the tour!


  2. Thank you so much for reviewing my new book, “Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know.” I’m thrilled you found it laugh-out-loud funny — and rest assured that we are big proponents of spaying and neutering. We even dedicated the book to the Florida Keys SPCA!


  3. Looks like a good read! I think I’ll be picking this one up.


  4. Thanks for agreeing to be a part of the tour – you did a great job with your review, and it looks like you really enjoyed this book!

    Oh, and I just checked out Alexrod’s reasons for eating the sofa … hilarious!


  5. The spay/neuter issue was my negative as well. While I liked the book and laughed out loud at many of the excerpts, I truly disliked especially the ones about female dogs in heat.


  6. Pingback: Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson, authors of Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know, on tour October 2012 | TLC Book Tours

  7. Pingback: Things Your Dogs Doesn’t Want You to Know. - Our Waldo Bungie

  8. Gabby’s story was a little icky to me too (I can’t lie, I didn’t read it all) but for the most part I really liked the honest accounts from these dogs. This is how dogs live, like it or not, and I appreciated that the authors didn’t make it too earnest. They included the bad with the good.

    But I agree on the pit bull front. In my opinion there should have been more mxed breeds in general. I guess I can’t always have my way. 🙂

    PS. Cooper definitely has my vote!


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