New book explores how to be a happier, healthier dog owner

A University of Liverpool researcher is empowering dog lovers to find health and happiness with the help of their pets.

Leading human-animal interaction expert Dr Carri Westgarth has authored The Happy Dog Owner, a guide to improving the health and well-being of dogs and their owners through science-led training techniques and easy-to-follow advice.

Drawing on 15 years of research at the University and a wealth of practical experience with dogs, Dr Westgarth is now helping owners to gain a new understanding of their dog’s needs and how to be the best owner they can be.

Hailed as being ‘the go-to book for every enquiring dog owner,’ the new guide explains how to maximise the benefits of dog ownership and minimise the risks through making intentional choices about where we get our dogs from, how we train them and what activities we do with them.

Dr Westgarth said: “If the media are to be believed, owning a dog is the perfect antidote to the crises of obesity, depression and now even coping with a pandemic. However, a deep dive into the actual scientific research shows a less conclusive or rosy picture. What is often forgotten is that owning a dog often comes with stresses of its own. It is important that owners have realistic expectations of the benefits that dog ownership will bring and know how to put in the work needed to achieve them.

”I wrote this book because I felt there was a need for an easy to read and evidence-based guide for dog owners or people thinking about getting a dog. In recent years there has been an explosion of scientific research into the health impacts of owning dogs and knowledge about canine welfare, behaviour and training. At the same time, many people are living with chronic health conditions and disabilities and looking towards their dog to provide them with daily support. This book summarises and provides guidance on these issues, so that the latest expertise can be accessible to all and impact the lives and decisions of everyday dogs and their owners.”

The Happy Dog Owner: Finding Health and Happiness with the Help of Your Dog by Dr Carri Westgarth is available in all good book shops.