Be sure to check in all month for great nonfiction books!

If you are planning on giving a dog or cat for Christmas this year or maybe you already have one and need to put some effort toward training your new family member, these would be great books to tuck into your child’s stocking.


A How to Speak Cat Training Guide

By: Tracey West and Gary Weitzman, DVM

Published: August 4, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


Our family has had a cat in our home for six years. We haven’t technically trained her, but she does know how to use her litter box, beg for treats, let us know when she is hungry or wants to go out on the porch, and wants to play with the laser. Cats are very smart, but also like to be in control. Whether you have a kitten, an full-grown cat, or an older cat, they can be trained.

Whether you want your cat to perform tricks like shake or wave or whether you want to train them to not wake you up in the middle of the night for food, this book is for you. There are basic training activities as well as those that are more advanced.

When we found our cat, Stormy, over six years ago in our garage, it took our daughter all day to coax her out to come and sit next to her on the blanket. With soft voices and singing, by evening, Stormy was on her lap and we knew she was going to be a part of our family. The key that is mentioned numerous times in this training guide is patience and meeting your cat’s needs so they feel comfortable and willing to play or cooperate.

The end of the book offers games to play with your cat such as an agility course, hunting game, or the shell game. Every page also includes amazing and adorable photos of cats performing the tricks or playing. If you are joining a cat and a dog for the first time in your house, there are also tips for helping them get along.


A How to Speak Dog Training Guide

By: Aubre Andrus and Gary Weitzman DVM

Published: August 4, 2020

Publisher: National Geographic Kids


If you have a new puppy or would like to train your dog to perform tricks or behave better in your home, this book is a way to get your kids involved in the training.

First of all, there is a flow chart to make sure your dog is ready to be trained. This book gives you background information about dogs, how they learn, and how to decode your dog’s behavior. Then basic tricks are introduced including teaching them to Stay, Come, Sit, Stand, Wait, and Heel. Then more advanced training including rolling over, dancing, ringing a bell, and jumping through a hoop is explained.

The key to training your pet is having patience and being firm. Lots of photos of the tricks and dogs performing them are featured on the pages. All different types of dogs are shared on the pages showing that any dog breed can be trained.

There is a section on trouble-shooting and retraining your dog if you are having problems such as chewing or barking. There is also a chapter on service animals and their importance to helping others.

The end of the book features ideas for making your own dog toys. If your family has a puppy or a new dog, this book would be extremely helpful with getting your child involved in the caretaking and training of your family pet.

Gary Weitzman joined San Diego Humane Society as its President and CEO in 2012. A Certified Animal Welfare Administrator, he has served as Chair of the Board of the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and is currently a board member of Shelter Animals Count, and Mama’s Kitchen, a San Diego nonprofit committed to providing food for people with chronic illnesses. An Air Force veteran, he earned a double BA in Biology and English from Colby College, a Master’s in International Public Health from Boston University, and his DVM from Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Weitzman was the former co-host of the nationally distributed public radio program The Animal House which ran for 7 years and is the author of eight books published by National Geographic: Everything Dogs, How to Speak Dog, How to Speak Cat, The Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness and from National Geographic Kids are Dog Breed Guide and Cat Breed Guide.

To purchase a copy of these books, click the photo below:

Other books you might like:

Thanks to the publisher for sending copies of these books for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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