Ocean Beach resident, veterinarian, and San Diego Humane Society president and CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman has authored two new children’s books on best practices for dog and cat training.
The companion titles are “Fetch! A How to Speak Dog Training Guide” and “Pounce! A How To Speak Cat Training Guide” (National Geographic Kids Books, ages 8-12).
Weitzman is a certified animal welfare administrator who joined SDHS in 2012. He formerly co-hosted the nationally distributed public radio program “The Animal House,” which ran for seven years.
He has penned several pet books including: “Everything Dogs,” “How to Speak Dog,” “How to Speak Cat,” “The Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness,” and from National Geographic Kids, “Dog Breed Guide” and “Cat Breed Guide.”
“These (new) companion guides are really about how to read (pet) body language,” said Weitzman. “They are really good for anybody on interpreting what your dog or cat is trying to communicate. The books are broken up into a few sections offering steps for pet training.”
“Fetch” and “Pounce” offer the best tips and tricks for training four-legged best friends.
Whether teaching puppies basics like "sit," "stand," and “stay,” correcting behavioral problems, or training your pooch to perform more advanced tricks, Fetch will walk you through all the necessary steps. Kids will bond with their pups through structured lessons that showcase easy-to-follow instructions and commands. Additional content introduces readers to Hollywood hounds, dogs on the job, how to make your own dog toys, and famous historical canines.
And whether you want to train your kitty to walk on a leash, or how to use a scratching post instead of the couch, Pounce will take you through all the steps you need to know to get started. Kids and their parents will learn basic training, corrective training, and tricks they can do with their cats. Fun special features introduce readers to famous trained cats and felines in ancient Egypt.
Both books are coming out at an ideal time, given pet adoption and ownership are “booming" during COVID quarantining.
“Since COVID what we’ve seen is an enormous desire for adopting by the community,” said Weitzman. “And people are holding onto their pets as I’ve never seen. It’s a gold lining to what’s happening. There is a quarter of the number of animals we normally have in the shelters, and people are even wanting them as fosters.”
Weitzman is proud of how SDHS has evolved.
“San Diego County is the largest region in the United States that has zero euthanasia for treatable animals,” he said. “No other similar large organization takes care of animals the way we do.”
Asked why San Diego is so animal-animal friendly, Weitzman replied, “We have more than 300 endangered species in San Diego, which is one of the most biodiverse areas in the United States. People here really care about their companion animals, and it’s encouraging how people step-up the way they do for animals and animal causes.”
Weitzman is equally proud of SDHS programs that have distributed 230,000 pounds of pet food to people suffering from financial hardships. “Our real goal is for people to hold onto their pets so they never have to come to the shelter in the first place,” he said concluding, “Support your local shelters and take care of your animals.”
Fetch and Pounce are available on Amazon, at Warwick’s Bookstore in La Jolla and at sdhumane.org/about-us/news-center/stories/books.html and nationalgeographic.com.