TAILS FROM THE BARK SIDE by Brian Kilcommons

TAILS FROM THE BARK SIDE

True Stories from the Family Dog Files
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Dog trainers Kilcommons and Wilson continue a pattern they established in Good Owners, Great Dogs (not reviewed): a self-professed tactful handling of the charges in their care and a supercilious treatment of the owners. In these pages are found dozens of short stories of dogs with problems: the flatulent Rottweiler; the bored, butt-chomping whippet cross; the submissive poodle whose Howdy Doody grin is mistaken for savagery; dogs mean and reckless and sexually dysfunctional. As Kilcommons and Wilson tell it, the canine troubles are remedied in a nonce--as soon as their jughead owners see the light, that is. There is the mistress who worries that her dog doesn't poop as much as she does, and the dog has three bowel movements daily. Ha, ha. Another woman who feels her dog is oversexed, yet plays with him with her rump in the air. Ho! Each vignette is signed--Kilcommons comes across all superior and disdainful (``People frequently tell us their dogs are dumb. We usually correct them''), Wilson the purveyor of cautionary and morality tales. After a story of abuse, Wilson intones, ``say a prayer for little dogs and children everywhere''; and while out walking her dogs, she outwits an exhibitionist, not by sicking the mutts on him, but by laughing, ``loudly and long, and that laugh was the only long thing in the vicinity.'' What this has to do with dogs is anyone's guess. It may be that the authors are striving for Barbara Woodhouse's gruff and impatient bluntness; unfortunately, their attitude comes across as plain smug. Perhaps Kilcommons and Wilson's work with dogs is magical, though thoughtful trainers will say that's half the equation; the admittedly more troublesome half, their handling of the owners, could use a fair amount of polishing. (b&w photos) (Radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1997
ISBN: 0-446-52150-7
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1997