Marty Becker's Advice to Understanding 'Your Dog'

Veterinary expert and animal lover helps you understand your dog.

ByABC News via GMA logo
April 15, 2011, 7:34 PM

April 15, 2011— -- Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker understands how trying it can be to have a new puppy. In his new book, "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual," Becker conquers every part of the dog-owning lifestyle, such as finding the right pouch, solving behavioral issues and preventing health problems. This road map to pet ownership is a must read for dog owners new or old.

Read an excerpt from "Your Dog" below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library.

Chapter 1

What Are You Looking for in a Relationship?

All dogs started pretty much the same, as wolves who hung outaround humans for scraps. Eventually, the relationship grewcloser; the animals best suited to hanging around were theones who bred, and they started to change to suit the environmentthey were in. In time the dogs evolved into something like what'scalled a pariah dog— a medium-sized, brown, agile, short-haired dogwith a long snout and erect ears. You can still find dogs like these allover the world, hanging out on the edges of human society. If dogs areleft to breed as randomly as possible, the pariah dog is what they looklike.

But we like a lot of different things in dogs, don't we? We like dogsin all sizes, shapes, and colors, with all kinds of ears and tails, long-haired, curly-haired, short-haired. . . the list goes on. It wasn't just forreasons of appearance, of course. For many years we counted on dogsto help us by herding our livestock, protecting our homes, pullingwagons or sleds, or helping us to hunt our dinners.

While a few kinds of dogs, mostly small, were developed solely ascompanions— and even they had some purpose as heating pads in thedays long before central heating was invented— all the rest had jobs.Our ancestors no doubt liked their dogs, told them they were gooddogs, and were even proud of the work they did and how well they didit. But few could afford to keep a dog who didn't earn his own way.