The author of Embracing the Wild in your Dog, Bryan Bailey, approached us for a review of this book. Since we’re all about natural pet care, we agreed that it would be a good fit.

Book Review - Embracing the Wild in your DogEmbracing the Wild in your Dog makes a wonderful first impression with its cover illustration. It’s a beautiful representation of the content therein, which is written well and enhanced by exceptional storytelling.

The author draws upon his experience of growing up in Alaska with his mentor, an army survivalist. Their study of wolves provided unique insights into the wild behavior of the domestic dog’s related ancestors. Those insights form the basis of the author’s theories about dogs and their training. Flashbacks to his mentor’s teachings throughout this book make it both informative and interesting. He has enhanced his wild education with related formal education.

The goal of Embracing the Wild in your Dog is to help “pet parents” and dog trainers understand and embrace the wild origins of a dog’s behavior. There is a strong focus on aggression, supported by stories of the author’s experience in training dogs.

“Mostly, it is about developing a deep understanding of the authors of your dog’s behavior-nature and the wolf,” writes Mr. Bailey. “In doing so, you will truly learn who and what your dog really is and the whys and hows of its behavior. You will learn the tools that nature gave your dog to survive and coexist in both the wild and in your home. You will learn how activating and deactivating natural impulses and mechanisms in your dog will lead to the harmonious existence and the control you always dreamed of. Lastly, you will come to know the wolf in your dog and accept it for the wonderful gift that it is.”

The contents of Embracing the Wild in your Dog includes:

Lessons from the Wild
Nothing to Fear
Know the Parts
The Circles of Life
Difficult Decisions

It isn’t necessary that you concur with all of the opinions and conclusions of the author to benefit from reading this book. Personally, I wouldn’t put an equals sign between any domesticated animal and their wild cousins. However, I have learned many aspects of responsible, effective pet care by studying genetics and wild habits. That’s the true value of this book, in my opinion. It provides a unique perspective and reminds us all that dogs are animals. They want and need to be cared for as such.

I can’t say I agree with every comparative conclusion in this book. I believe there’s a happy medium to be found between the theories presented here and a more domestic approach. Having said that, I don’t claim to be a dog trainer.

The author sums it up nicely with, “Solving dog problems requires a three-dimensional approach: the dog, the humans involved, AND the wolf.”

I did benefit from reading this book and I don’t hesitate to recommend it if you have pets and/or train them. Read it with an open mind and you will see your dog in a more natural light. That’s always a good thing.


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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Embracing the Wild in your Dog

  1. As someone looking to become a part-time dog trainer, I am definitely going to pick up this book. I am a firm believer in trying to understand as much about dog psychology as one possibly can.

    Thanks for the review,

  2. Intriguing! I’m considering a career in dog training once I graduate from HS and so I’ll pick up a copy then.

  3. Treat a dog like an animal? What a novel idea! Maybe now people will stop putting clothes on the poor things. LOL

  4. That’s the best take on pet care I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t agree with it all either but I do get most of it. I second your recommendation for what its worth.

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