A Kid's Guide to Dogs

How to Train, Care for, and Play and Communicate with Your Amazing Pet!


By Arden Moore

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 17, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

This fun and informative book gives young dog lovers the canine know-how they need to make having a dog a positive experience for all — pup, kids, and parents alike!

A Kid’s Guide to Dogs delivers the basics of caring for and training a dog to develop good canine habits with humor and creativity. In addition to learning about dog health and preparing for the arrival of a new dog at home, kids will discover fascinating tips on decoding a dog’s body language and how to teach a dog simple tricks. Full of colorful photos and illustrations, the book features easy crafts for making a dog bed, a doggy piñata, and toys; and offers dozens of ideas for getting both kids and dogs active, with indoor and outdoor games, hiking, swimming, and even a dog party with special treats kids can make themselves.

Animal behavior consultant Arden Moore brings her expertise and years of sharing her pet knowledge with audiences on radio, television, and in live talks and award-winning books to this kid-geared guide. Whether the dog is new to the household or a long-time family member, this is the perfect resource for getting kids to take more responsibility for — and have more fun with — their canine companion.


I unleash heartfelt "paws and applause"

to all the dogs in my life, past and present, who have made me a better person. Special appreciation goes to my canine writing partner for this book, Kona, my sweet and smart Jack Russell terrier mix.

And a big shout-out to my pet-loving family, especially Julie, Deb, Karen, Kevin, Jill, and Rick.


Hi, kids!

1. My Dog, My Friend

2. Make a Happy Home for your Dog

3. Time for School: The Canine ABC

4. Out and About

5. Be Your Dog's Best Health Ally

Answers to Trivia Quizzes


Metric Conversions

Recommended Reading



Additional Photography

Pamper Your Pets with More Books by Arden Moore

Share Your Experience!

Hi, kids!

Arden and Kona

If you're reading this book, I bet you've always loved animals, just like me! One of my favorite memories is of the day my dad came home with a beagle he adopted from the local animal shelter. We named her Crackers. I'm not sure why we picked that name, but Crackers quickly became my best buddy.

She loved to join me on walks in the woods and swims in the lake. And she willingly helped me eat my beef liver (yuck!) without my parents noticing at dinner. Crackers was my first dog, and I will never forget her.

Today, I am blessed to share my life with three great dogs: Kona, Bujeau, and Cleo. Each day, they make me smile and teach me something new. For the past two decades, I have done my doggone best to educate people about dogs in my roles as a pet behavior consultant, pet first-aid instructor, radio show host, and author. I believe I have the best job in the world!

Serving with me as your canine guide throughout this book is Kona, a happy, young Jack Russell terrier mix I adopted from an animal shelter in San Diego. It was love at first sight for me — and for her, first sniff.

At the time, Kona knew only one behavior cue — Sit. But since coming to live with me, Kona has mastered dozens of cues and tricks. She loves to learn! She has aced three levels of dog obedience training and delights in her role as a certified therapy dog when we visit schools, hospitals, and senior centers.

Her official title is Pet Safety Dog Kona, but she sports the fun nickname of "Ice Cream Kona." She travels with me all over the country as we teach pet first-aid classes and give pet behavior talks. This shelter alum shines as a canine ambassador.

All dogs need and deserve a solid foundation of good training as well as opportunities to explore and play with their favorite person — you! Kona and I are here to give you the insights and tools you need to become your dog's best friend, whether you just brought home a new puppy or you've had a dog in the family for a long time, or even if you just love dogs and hope to have one of your own someday. Let the learning and fun activities begin!

Paws up!

Speak, Kona, Speak!

Hey, kids! We all know Arden couldn't have written this book without me. Look for my tips and comments throughout the book — I have plenty to say and am always happy to say it!

1.My Dog, My Friend

Sharing your life with a dog is totally cool. A dog can be your best friend — someone to love you, play with you, keep you company, and cuddle with when you're feeling sad. Many people consider their pets to be members of the family. I know I do.

Dogs score so many points when it comes to making our lives better. They are grrr-eat listeners who always seem to know how we're feeling. They can be four-legged comedians unleashing goofy antics. Even if your dog chews your favorite sweater or wakes you up early for a potty break, he will always view you as number one and treat you like the top dog.

Having a dog is more than just feeding and walking her and having cuddle time. It's important to understand her behavior and know how to treat her like a dog, not a furry person or a toy that you can pick up and play with whenever you want. Your dog, just like you, has feelings. She can feel happy and sad, confident and scared.

Because your dog — like all dogs — wasn't born with good manners or proper training, she counts on you and your family to teach her good canine habits. An important gift you can give your dog is positive, supportive training. With good training, you can keep your dog safer and make life easier and far more fun for the whole family — especially your dog! You'll learn about training in chapter 3. For now, let's talk some more about dogs.

Let Your Dog Be a Dog

You can have a great relationship with your dog, but it's different from the way you pal around with friends and the way you act with your siblings. Dogs are very attuned to humans. After all, they've been living with us for thousands of years! Even though they've adapted to living with us in close quarters, they have deep-seated needs that we must respect. Here are things to keep in mind about having a dog in your pack.

Family Ranks

Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals who want and need to know their place in the family. Just like you know that your parents are the leaders of your family, your dog should know that your parents and you always "outrank" her. Playing the roles of benevolent leader and keeper of all treats is the way to earn canine respect and loyalty.

Your dog should never view herself as top dog in your household. That kind of canine confusion can cause problems. A dog who is confused or scared by not knowing how she fits into the family might become a dog who barks a lot, doesn't listen to anyone, chews up your stuff, runs away from you, or snaps at or even bites people. No one wants that! Dogs want and deserve family structure plus predictable daily routines.

A family is like a wolf pack — everyone needs to know where they stand in the group.

Dog Speak

What you say to your dog is not as crucial as how you say it. Dogs are highly attuned to emotions in people. Yelling at a dog is likely to cause her to cower submissively and tremble. Praising a dog will make her wag her tail with delight.

Dogs are also better at reading human body language and postures than people are at interpreting canine body language. So choose your words, tone, and body language carefully when "chatting" with your dog.

Think Like a Dog

Dogs do their best to understand and interpret our behaviors. For example, to humans, hugging is a show of affection. But to a dog, a hug can be viewed as a threatening act, even if she puts up with it. For her, a good scratch on the chest or gentle petting on her back is more welcome. To help your dog on the path to becoming well behaved, it is important to respect her needs and to leave her alone when she wants to chill out or when she is eating.

Respect your dog. This terrier clearly doesn't want to be kissed. (Learn about body language.)

Speak, Kona, Speak!

Dogs and people have been friends for a really long time! No one knows for sure, but most scientists think that humans had dogs as hunting partners and guardians as long as 14,000 years ago. Bow-WOW! That's a long time to be buddies!

Training = More Fun with Fido!

Just as you learned from your parents to be polite and not interrupt people or shout indoors or run into the street, your dog needs help learning basic manners, too. Think about the benefits for you both. The better behaved you are, the more willing your parents are to take you places or let you take part in fun activities. The same goes for your dog. A well-trained, socialized dog is welcomed at many places, including dog-friendly hotels and restaurants, campgrounds, pet stores, beaches, and around town.

It's best if training starts in puppyhood, but it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!

Meeting and Greeting Dogs

You may know your alphabet forward and backward, but do you know the doggy ABCs? As a dog-loving kid, you naturally want to say hello to any dog you see on the street, but you also need to keep safe and make sure the dog wants to say hello to you!

Follow these three rules to the letter every time you meet a dog to keep yourself safe and make the meet-and-greet fun for all. (See dog-to-dog meetings.)

Let's say a cute dog on a leash is heading your way. Here's what to remember.

A = Ask permission. Never pet a dog you don't know unless the owner says it's okay to do so.

B = Be sniffed. Dogs use their strong sense of smell to determine if the person they are meeting is a friend or foe. Instead of immediately trying to pat the dog, make a fist and extend your hand for the dog to step forward to sniff.

C = Carefully stroke the dog's back. Not all dogs like being patted on the head; it can feel threatening if they don't know you. Build up the dog's trust in you by gliding your hand gently down his back.

Do Not Pet This Dog

Some dogs do not want you to pet them. They may be afraid of strangers or just not interested in making friends. Keep on walking if a dog you meet shows these back-off signals:

  • Hides behind his owner when you approach.
  • Lunges or growls.
  • Tenses his body.
  • Raises his lip and shows his teeth.

Be a Tree

If a strange dog approaches you off leash, do not scream or run away. These actions will only cause some dogs to chase and possibly attack you. That's because dogs are predators, and they like to chase and capture prey that moves. So don't be prey! Stay still and be quiet.

Here's some good advice from our friends at Doggone Safe: Be a tree. Why act like a tree? A tree is boring because it just stands there. Dogs don't chase trees. They chase things that move, like squirrels. So even if you are scared when a strange dog approaches you, do your best to "be a tree" by following these three safety steps:

  1. 1. Stop and stay tall in place.
  2. 2. Slowly fold in your arms against your body.
  3. 3. Keep your head down and don't look directly at the dog.

What the Yap?

Dogs make about 15 different sounds, many of which they direct only at people. Why? Because dogs are smart. They have figured out that people communicate mostly by speaking rather than interpreting body postures. Dog-to-dog "conversations" tend to be silent because dogs mostly communicate with body postures.

To achieve a meaningful two-way chat with your dog, you need to look as well as listen to help figure out what your dog is really saying.

One or two barks. When your dog looks at you and barks just once or twice, she is trying to convey, "Hey, friend, what's up?" This is a doggy hello. Respond by greeting your dog in a friendly upbeat way to let her know you are paying attention. Keep it simple. Just say hi and your dog's name and give her a friendly pat.

A string of rapid barks. When your dog unleashes a bunch of bark-bark-barks that seem to speed up and go higher in pitch, she may be sounding the alert that a person or another dog is approaching. She could also be barking in frustration that her favorite tennis ball slid under the couch and she needs your help to retrieve it.

Resist trying to quiet her by yelling at her when she's in rapid-fire bark mode. In the dog world, yelling sounds like barking, and your dog is likely to interpret your excitement as an invitation to keep going.

Whining. This high-pitched, mournful sound is made with a closed mouth. Doggy whines can be real calls for help, like when your dog is asking you to open the door so she can go out to potty. Sometimes dogs whine in frustration or because they are anxious about something, like waiting at the vet's office or being left outside a store when you go inside. Finally, dogs may whine when they are in pain, so check to see if your dog has an injury or a tender spot on her body.

Panting. Dogs don't sweat through their skin the way people do. To cool off, they pant by breathing rapidly with an open mouth. A dog who is too hot or has been playing hard may pant quite heavily, a signal that it's time to rest and cool down and have some water.

Dogs may also pant when they are anxious or scared. Yawning or licking lips is another clue to nervousness.

Howling. Like their coyote and wolf ancestors, some dogs will raise their heads and let loose with a series of long-held notes. Some breeds, like Siberian huskies and beagles, are natural-born howlers. It's like a canine telephone system to communicate with faraway pack members.

Dogs have much better hearing than humans, so some dogs howl when loud, high-pitched sounds like police sirens and fire truck horns irritate their sensitive ears. If your dog is a howler, you could train her to speak on cue and amaze your friends with her cool trick.

Some breeds are natural-born howlers.

Growling. This low, rumbling sound comes from the throat, accompanied by lifted lips and bared teeth. It means "Stay away!" and is the warning a dog gives before she goes into attack mode. Do not approach a growling dog — she may lunge or even bite. Some dogs growl to guard food or their favorite possessions or to warn overly playful pups or children to leave them alone.

Speak, Kona, Speak!

My canine pals and I have plenty to yap about, but we often do it without making a sound. How? We do a lot of "talking" with body postures. And guess what? So do you! Think about waving to a friend to say hi, putting your finger to your lips to mean "shhhh," or jumping up and down with excitement (just like a happy dog!). Can you think of other examples of body language that dogs and people have in common?

Great Gravy Cookies

Makes 4 dozen small cookies


On Sale
Mar 17, 2020
Page Count
144 pages

arden moore

Arden Moore

About the Author

Arden Moore is the author of more than two dozen books on cats and dogs, including A Kid’s Guide to CatsA Kid’s Guide to DogsThe Cat Behavior Answer BookThe Dog Behavior Answer Book, and Real Food for Dogs. She hosts the Arden Moore's Four Legged Life Show, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show and the award-winning Oh! Behave Show on Pet Life Radio. She travels North America teaching veterinarian-approved pet first aid and pet behavior classes with her dog, Kona, and cat, Casey. She has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows and is an in-demand speaker at pet conferences. Learn more by visiting her at http://www.ardenmoore.com and listen to her shows at http://www.fourleggedlife.com.

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