Secrets of the Snout by Frank Rosell

Secrets of the Snout by Frank Rosell, University of Chicago Press, ISBN: 13: 978-0-226-53636-1, 265 pgs., $23.40.

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Professor Rosell has done a wonderful job explaining how a dog’s nose works. He gives us accounts of different types of detection dogs which is a delight to read. The book is easy to read and understand because written for the average pet owner.

While other books have covered a dog’s scenting abilities, Professor Rosell has included the latest research along with keen insight to dog behavior. He explains what makes up scent and what a dog detects.

Each chapter features a specific dog’s scenting experience which helps the reader gain useful insight as to how dogs do their jobs. He explores topics such as, can a dog tell identical twins apart and other interesting experiments.

There are extensive notes for each chapter as well as a thorough index which makes it easy to locate specific material. I highly recommend this book for all working dog and pet owners who would like to understand their dog’s world of scent. This book was first published in Norway and was so popular that it was translated into English and published in the United States.

The Chapters include:

  1. Dogs at Work
  2. A Dog’s Sense of Smell
  3. A Good Judge of Character
  4. Pet Finder
  5. Search and Rescue
  6. On the Hunt
  7. Police Work
  8. Customs and Border Control
  9. Military
  10. Medical Detection
  11. Field Assistant
  12. Pest Detector and Building Inspector
  13. Other Work Tasks for Sniffer Dogs.
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A little brag from me!

I wanted to let my followers know that my latest book, K9 Troubleshooting won first place in the National League of American Pen Woman’s contest and has now been nominated in the Dog Writers Association of American contest. I will not know for a month or so if it wins. Being nominated is an honor in and of itself. There are a lot of books entered. 9781550597363

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ghosts of Iwo Jima by Joe Jennings

Ghosts of Iwo Jima by Joe Jennings, self-published, ISBN: 9781522042914,  $10.50, 341 pgs. Is a unique blend of genuine search and rescue work by SAR dogs, factual history and a few ghosts added for extra drama. Although this is a self-published book, I have to rate it very high in writing quality. It flows well and is well organized. The physical aspects of the book are good as well.

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Ghosts of Iwo Jima is a story about a team of men and woman, and two special dogs, who go to Iwo Jima to find the remains of five Marines that died on the island during WWII. The book takes us to the historically factual battle and gives the reader a genuine feel for a war situation. Most of the search takes place in an area the Marines named the Amphitheater where the five Marines went missing.

The realism of the story is due to the fact that the author served in the Marines during Vietnam and made the Marines his career serving from 1964 to 1988, including being a part of the Combined Action Program, served in the infantry and reconnaissance units. He is also a SAR dog handler with the Great Basin K9 SAR unit.

The dogs are a Cadaver dog and a Military explosives detection dog. The cadaver dog must find the bodies and the explosive detection dog must clear the area of unexploded ordnance before the team can search.

What I especially liked was the conflict between the characters, one specialist did not understand and believe the capabilities of the dogs, and the Japanese commander who was in charge of the island and was misinformed as to the intent of the team’s search. The two ghosts that were involved in the mission were enemies and did their best to influence the outcome of the mission. The bad ghost tried to kill the dogs and sabotage the mission, while the other ghost communicated to the team to guide them. The way all of the elements of the story blended together is excellent.

The dialog in the book has a real-life sound to it, making the reader feel as if they are a part of the team. The pressure that the team felt is evident to the reader, since the team was allotted only ten days by the Japanese to find the missing remains.

All of the technical aspects of the book are true to life, the searching, the forensic work and the obstacles that the team faced. The ending is excellent, with an unexpected surprise. Of the many books that I have reviewed, I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and wished there were more missions to come, in another book, for the team. For his first book, Joe Jennings did an outstanding job.

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes, by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education, Inc.; 256 pgs.; ISBN: 978-1-55059-672-4, $44.95

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How can you make a good book better? Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak who wrote K9 Fraud, have accomplished that with their updated book, K9 Investigation Errors. They cover many important points in handling dogs that are common mistakes. For example, they explain how dogs can read human gestures, even the slightest ones (the Clever Hans Effect) which can cause a false response from a dog. They review some famous cases in the United States and show how the handler or poor training misled authorities, sometimes resulting in the arrest of the wrong person.

What I especially liked was their comments that dog handlers who claim fantastic results with their dogs (typically false) influence authorities who believe them and then think that properly trained dogs who cannot perform to that level are not as good, when in fact the properly trained and handled dogs are correct.

Another interesting point that they bring out in their book is what they call failure scents. This is when a dog associates a scent with failure and by association can lead to the dog’s poor performance. This is the same as people will often associate a benign event, song, scent or even food with a bad experience and react to the memory that it triggers.

There is so much information in this book that I strongly recommend handlers of all disciplines read this book and evaluate how they can improve their dogs and their handling skills.

The book is a high quality book, as is typical of Brush Education Publications, with quality binding, pages and soft cover. It is well edited with no typo’s or other common mistakes that authors tend to make when writing. It is always a pleasure to review a Brush Education book.

The chapters are:

Scent-Identification Lineups

The Dutch Training Method for Scent Identification

Dogs’ Responsiveness to Human Gestures

Tracking Dogs in Crime Investigations

Scent Research and Tracking Experiments

Errors in Mantrailing

Human Odor and Dogs’ Scent Perception

Scent Problems and Training Problems

Preventing Investigation Errors

K-9 SAR Novel – ‘The Canine Handler Payback’ by M.C. Hillegas

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By M.C. Hillegas, ISBN: 9781942430360; 273 pgs. $14.99; Publisher: Year of the Book.

This was an interesting and a surprising novel about Sarah, a volunteer canine SAR handler. The book is written from the three main character’s points of view which provided an interesting perspective for the story.

While this story is fiction, it did give the reader an inside look at what K9 SAR is like, the stresses and the problems that we all face. Ms. Hillegas is a real-life K9 handler which gave the story it’s realism. I found the story interesting because I am familiar with Codorus State Park, the setting for the searches.

The story weaves the life of Sarah, a woman who lived most of her youth being abused in the foster child care program, her efforts to leave her past behind and make a new life for herself. The searches are connected to each other and turn out to involve Sarah’s past. They are both homicides which require police investigation and surprisingly are also connected to a cold case.

The ending was a real twist and leaves the reader waiting for the continuation of the story which will be Ms. Hillegas’s next book.

Although this is a self-published book, the quality of the soft cover and pages are good. The font is clear and easy to read and for a first novel, Ms. Hillegas did very well.