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November 11, 2019

The Evolution of Charlie Darwin by Beth Duman ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Since it is Nonfiction November and I only had a few new release ARCs to read, I dove into my backlog of old ARCs to see if there were any nonfiction books there. I found 3 and I decided to read The Evolution of Charlie Darwin: Partner with Your Dog Using Positive Training by Beth Duman.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Evolution of Charlie Darwin
May 2011; 978-1461153894
ebook, print (206 pages); nonfiction
I thought this was a good follow-up to the book I read last month, What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren (read my review). Plus, many people think puppies make great Christmas presents so this would be a good book to read before making the decision to bring home a new family member.

I have to admit to being a bad reviewer. This book has been on my shelf since 2011 - the year I started blogging and didn't know how to say no to review requests.

When I accepted this book for review my dogs were much younger and I thought I could try out the games and techniques Duman described in her book. Now my dogs are about 15 years old. One is blind and other is going senile. They rather sleep than learn a new trick. However, I did attend training classes with Schatz when she was a puppy that used positive reinforcement and when I worked as a zookeeper, I used positive reinforcement training. So I'm familiar with the topic of this book.

Duman shares personal anecdotes from training her own dogs as well as testimonials from clients. She provides step by step instructions on "games" to train various behaviors as well as worksheets to help you evaluate and track your dog's progress. There is a lot packed into this relatively short book.

 Duman does repeat herself often throughout the book. While it was a bit annoying for reading straight through, it's a good thing if you are skipping around in the book or going back to specific chapters.

I think this book is a good primer to get you familiar with using positive reinforcement or to help keep your training skills sharp. While Duman does not come right out and say it, she shows that it is important to work with an in-person trainer from time to time.

It takes a lot of work to have the well behaved dog that joins you on all your adventures. Genetics has a very small role to play. Most of how your dog behaves comes down to how you train him or her. I fell Duman makes this point perfectly clear. So if you are thinking about getting a dog this holiday season take some time to read through this book to see if you are up to the task.

Buy The Evolution of Charlie Darwin at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. unless people are already planning on adding a dog to their family, i don't think giving one as a christmas present is a good idea. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. I agree but then you'll hear stories of people giving their kids puppies for Christmas and then a few months later they are trying to re-home it. You see it at Easter with bunnies too. People think it is a cute gift but don't think through all the responsibility that comes with having a pet.