In this Book

Mr. and Mrs. Dog
summary

The New York Times–bestselling author Donald McCaig has established an expansive literary career, founded equally on books about working sheepdogs and the Civil War novels Jacob’s Ladder and Rhett Butler’s People, the official sequel to Gone with the Wind.

In his new book, Mr. and Mrs. Dog, McCaig draws on twenty-five years of experience raising sheepdogs to vividly describe his—and his dogs June and Luke’s—unlikely progress toward and participation in the World Sheepdog Trials in Wales.

McCaig engagingly chronicles the often grueling experience—through rain, snow, ice storms, and brain-numbing heat—of preparing and trialing Mrs. Dog, June, "a foxy lady in a slinky black-and-white peignoir," and Mr. Dog, Luke, "a plain worker—no flash to him." Along the way, he relays sage advice from his decades spent talking with America’s most renowned dog experts, from police-dog trainers to positive-training gurus.

As readers of McCaig’s novels will expect, Mr. and Mrs. Dog delivers far more than straightforward dog-training tips. Revealing an abiding love and respect for his dogs, McCaig unveils the life experiences that set him on the long road to the Welsh trial fields. Starting with memories of his first dog, Rascal, and their Montana roadtrip in a ’48 Dodge, McCaig leads us into his thirties, when he abandons his New York advertising career to move to a run-down Appalachian sheep farm in the least populous county in Virginia. This 1960s agrarian adventure ultimately brings McCaig, Luke, and June to the Olympics of sheepdog trials. In his narration of one man’s love for his dogs, McCaig offers a powerful portrayal of the connection between humans and their animal companions.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. West Texas
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. The Education of a Dog Man
  2. pp. 13-18
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  1. Overcoming the Home Court Advantage
  2. pp. 19-22
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  1. Mr. and Mrs. Dog
  2. pp. 23-28
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  1. What Your Dog Is Trained to Do and Why
  2. pp. 29-36
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  1. The Trainer’s Trainer
  2. pp. 37-46
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  1. A Desperate Gamble
  2. pp. 47-50
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  1. The E-collar
  2. pp. 51-59
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  1. Mrs. Dog Buys Our Ticket
  2. pp. 60-71
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  1. Behaviorism
  2. pp. 72-80
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  1. Positive Trainer Pat Miller
  2. pp. 81-87
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  1. The Last Dog Still Standing
  2. pp. 88-92
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  1. Listening to Dr. Dodman
  2. pp. 93-99
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  1. Some Epiphanies
  2. pp. 100-103
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  1. Ethology
  2. pp. 104-108
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  1. Drives
  2. pp. 109-115
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  1. A Thousand Yards
  2. pp. 116-119
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  1. One More River to Cross
  2. pp. 120-126
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  1. “That’s a Good Boy”
  2. pp. 127-131
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  1. “It Can’t Have Been Easy to Arrange”
  2. pp. 132-134
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  1. Welsh Roads (A Rant)
  2. pp. 135-138
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  1. Hafod Bridge
  2. pp. 139-143
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  1. Fifteen Minutes of Fame
  2. pp. 144-148
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  1. The Standard
  2. pp. 149-152
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  1. The Dogs’ Sabbath
  2. pp. 153-155
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  1. The Parade of Flags and Dogs
  2. pp. 156-158
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  1. Bad Sheep
  2. pp. 159-164
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  1. Eternity in an Hour
  2. pp. 165-172
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  1. Only a Dog
  2. pp. 173-176
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  1. Your Dog
  2. pp. 177-185
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  1. First Friends
  2. pp. 186-187
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  1. The Double Lift
  2. pp. 188-194
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  1. Acknowledgments, Further Reading
  2. pp. 195-196
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