I bought this book during the first round of Borders bankruptcy closings last year. Dog Tips from Dogtown was inspired by a TV series about the dogs at Best Friends Animal Society, and it was written by their trainers along with Michael S. Sweeney.
I know there was nothing we could have done to prevent Ginger and Gracie's deaths earlier this year. Ginger was an old dog with uncontrollable seizures and a likely brain tumor, and Gracie was genetically cursed to develop an incurable bone cancer. Even though I know rationally that their deaths weren't my fault, I still feel some guilt. I feel like I could have been a better parent to them, particularly Gracie (I had assumed we'd have plenty of time together when I could make it up to her -- as it was, she may have been bemused by my constant devotion during her final days). That's what led me to buy several dog books in March and eventually to start reading Dog Tips from Dogtown toward the end of last month (if you're wondering why I chose to read this book instead of my recent purchases, I really don't know). My wife's desire to get another dog ASAP was also a factor. I want to be ready to deal with whatever training and care our next dog needs.
I thought enough time had passed that I could read a dog book with dry eyes, but I was wrong. I made it through the early chapters about picking out a dog, but the chapter about training brought back too many memories of the trials we had with Gracie when we first got her (we had a private trainer who used techniques similar to those described in the book). If that hadn't done it, the photo of the Catahoula mix named Little Girl on page 204 would have.
I haven't read any similar books for comparison (though I like to think I know something about the subject since I've had dogs most of my life), but Dog Tips from Dogtown seems reasonably thorough without being overwhelming. It's easy to read and it's filled with useful tips from people who have dealt with a variety of dogs. For those who prefer CliffsNotes, the Epilogue provides a nice recap of the most important points.