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Bad Dog: A Love Story [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Martin Kihn , David Drummond

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Book Description

April 3 2012
Meet Hola. She’s a nightmare, but it’s not her fault if she tackles strangers and chews on furniture, or if she runs after buses and fried chicken containers and drug dealers. No one ever told her not to. Worse yet, she scares her family. Hola may be the most beautiful Bernese mountain dog in the world, but she’s never been trained—at least, not by anyone who knew what he was doing. 
 
Hola’s supposed master, Marty, is a high-functioning alcoholic. A TV writer turned management consultant, Marty’s in debt and out of shape; he’s about to lose his job, and one day he emerges from a haze of peach-flavored vodka to find he’s on the verge of losing his wife, Gloria, too, if he can’t get his life—and his dog—under control.
 
 Desperately trying to save his marriage, Marty throws himself headlong into the world of competitive dog training. Unfortunately, he knows even less than Hola, the only dog ever to be expelled from her puppy preschool twice. Somehow, together, they need to get through the American Kennel Club’s rigorous Canine Good Citizen test. Of course, Hola first needs to learn how to sit. It won’t be easy. It certainly won’t be pretty. But maybe, just maybe, there will be cheesecake.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 330 pages
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company; Unabridged; 6.25 hours edition (April 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611747481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611747485
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,404,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“This wry memoir of the human-dog bond is one that eschews the usual treacly sentimentality in favor of a raw, deeply sincere, and self-aware homage to this powerful bond.”
       —Publishers Weekly [HC starred review]

“Poignant. . . . a surefire heartbreaking bestseller along the lines of Marley and Me.”
       —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A bittersweet tale of renewal. . . . An endearing read full of hope, humor and humility.”
       —Kirkus Reviews

“Not a cozy Marley and Me duplicate or Cesar Millan–type training book . . . this sharply written, darkly funny memoir–cum–dog story–cum–recovery tale will serve a wide audience well.”
       — Library Journal [HC starred review]

Review

“This tale of a man who forgot he was a man and the dog who ultimately reminded him is the most touching, original buddy story I've come across in ages. Sit. Stay. Read.”
       —Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  90 reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is not another Marley and Me March 5 2011
By E. Jacobs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When I selected this book from the Vine program, I was a little hesitant because of the onslaught of dog books precipitated by the success John Groban's Marley and Me. I did enjoy that book very much, but some of the later books modeled on that one failed to live up to their predecessor. However, with Bad Dog, Martin Kihn creates a unique book that has more in common with memoirs like Mary Karr's Lit: A Memoir (P.S.) than with general "I Love My Dog" books.

The story is not centered so much around the titular Bad Dog, named Hola, but rather around Kihn's struggle with alcoholism and recovery. He is on the verge of losing it all, and his inability to maintain control over his dog is an excellent metaphor for his inability to maintain control over his life. This metaphor is carried through the book as Kihn attempts to sober up and focuses his attention on his new addiction--training his dog. Hola is a representation of the struggles that Kihn himself is experiencing. Will they be redeemed? Read it to find out.

Overall, I liked the unflinching honesty of this book. I thought the use of Hola as metaphor was interesting. And there was some humor thrown in there, too. For me, some of the detail about the dog training process and certifications grew a little dull, but the the story is much more than that. Definitely worth a read.
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Ten Things That are Great About "Bad Dog: A Love Story" March 2 2011
By E. Burian-Mohr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
If you're looking for a warm fuzzy dog tale, this isn't it. Well, it is... kind of. It's the story of a recovering alcoholic (Marty, the author) and a recovering bad dog (Hola), and how they face obstacles and hurdles together. And while there doesn't appear to be a 12-step program for Bernese Mountain Dogs, perhaps Hola's steps toward her GCG (Good Canine Citizen) qualify, making her a friend of the canine Bill W.

Briefly, Marty and his wife adopt an adorable puppy - a Bernese mountain dog who's missed the obedience train. As Marty's drinking escalates, he pays less attention to the dog, whose behavior deteriorates until, ultimately, Gloria leaves both of them.

The book is Marty's struggle for sobriety, reconciliation, and a dog who doesn't attack strangers, inhale unattended dinners, and drag humans behind her in the pursuit of a squirrel.

That being said, here are the top ten things about "Bad Dog (A Love Story)"

10. I always look for new bodies of information in anything I read, fiction included. "Bad Dog" is jammed with information about dog training, obedience, GCG, methods of training, breeds, trainers, and everything canine. At times it gets pretty technical, but you'll survive.

9. Marty is a huge fan, of Susan Conant's Holly Winter books, as am I. (Well, I'm a fan, though, unlike Marty, I don't put her in my Top Ten Authors List.) He pulls certain bits of philosophy from her book -- things we learn from dogs and the lessons they teach us. It a perfect teaser for Conant's books, and brings us some of her best philosophical moments and quotes. A favorite, re: Holly Winter's malamute is that "He doesn't necessarily do anything more than take my opinions under advisement."

8. It's a dog story. Who doesn't love a dog story?

7. Kihn writes good characters, from his seemingly put-together sponsor to the dog ladies with their sweatshirts ("You had me at woof"), to the trainers who treat dog training as a religion, to the doorman. Each is unique and masterfully described.

6. Kihn writes good dog characters, too. Besides Hola, you'll meet the teacher's pet, the kiss-up dog, the perfect dog... There are as many types of dog personalities as human personalities.

5. Doggie insights. The book is full of them, and you'll learn a lot about your dog (and how your dog manipulates you for the greater canine good.) For example, a trainer points out that Hola, who is a pretty dog, has trained Marty. By batting her eyes and turning on the charm, she gets Marty's attention. He rubs her belly, he sweet-talks her. The book can make us more aware of behaviors we may have unwittingly encouraged.

4. Dog training insights. (See 6) Different trainers have vastly different philosophies of how to train a dog, and Mart samples many of these. You'll encounter many points of view. The moral? There's no one right way. The right way is the one that works for the dog/human combination. And a great piece of advice for those who wish to achieve dominance over their dog? "Ignoring attention-seeking behaviors is the highest form of dominance." (Now stop yelling at the dog when he barks at the mailman.)

3. Dog dialog. Marty talks to Hola, and Hola talks to Marty. Admit it. You do it, too. You probably have a special voice your dog uses when answering you. Marty (en route to his estranged wife, with Hola in tow):
Marty: Hola... what if Mommy doesn't want to see us?
Hola: She'll want to see me. Everyone loves me.
Marty: Don't count on it, girlfriend.
Hola: Do you think she made crab cakes?

2. It's a powerful story of addiction and the struggle for sobriety. The author writes clearly and painfully about the steps, the slips, the obstacles, the support, the fellowship of AA, and more. It's realistic. It's harsh. It's inspiring. It's more than a little scary. We see that recovery is always fragile. You'll hear tales of bottoming out that will make you cringe. You'll see people struggling forward and feel huge amounts of admiration.

1. Marty tells an inspiring story of recovery, about regaining trust that has eroded away over years, through the love of a human and a dog.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who's the bad dog? March 13 2011
By Rebekah Sue Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Martin Kihn tried too hard to be funny in Bad Dog: A Love Story.

However, he did a great job combining an "untrainable" Bernese mountain dog named Hola, the ins and outs of the American Kennel Club and of dog training, and his alcoholism. It really seems like the bad dog is Kihn, actually.

This isn't a cute-and-fuzzy dog story, but the irreverent Hola makes the reader fall in love with her. The reader also feels for Gloria, Kihn's wife who just couldn't take it (either the dog or the husband, but probably the husband). Kihn portrays himself as a guy who doesn't need pity or sympathy, just support, because of his screwups with his life and with training his dog.

Kihn is actually a likable character, despite his shortcomings. He frankly told his story.

I'm not nuts about books told in the present-tense, nor do I think that Alcoholics ANONYMOUS meetings and members should be discussed without consent of everyone involved (for all I know, there was consent, but there's no cute little blurb in the front of the book saying so).

That said, this is a good book. I'd give it a B+, and I'd share it not only with dog lovers or people in The Program, but also with teens. It's not raunchy or full of vampires (nothing against vampires but they are SO overdone) but it's full of honesty and love.

Totes.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, especially for pet lovers April 13 2011
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Hola is a heavyweight (literally) in the dog world. She's a Bernese mountain dog, and, as Martin Kihn can tell you, they don't come small. Considering her size --- at a strapping 95 pounds --- you might think that training is an obvious essential. Good manners would seem to be Priority One for a large girl like Hola. Unfortunately, Marty just doesn't get it. Smitten by her beautiful face, he overlooked any unpleasant traits she tended to exhibit. In short, Hola stole his heart, wrapped him around her little, um, toe, and blinded him to her altogether unsavory conduct.

It takes Marty's wife, Gloria, walking out on him --- and Hola --- before he understands that there is a problem. A serious one. The myriad puncture marks and angry bruises that habitually adorn Gloria's arms have done little to sharpen Marty's sensibilities. Hola is just too gorgeous. But what about Gloria? She's gorgeous, too, and she's made it clear that Hola scares the dickens out of her. When she's finally fed up to the point of leaving him, he faces her abandonment with his usual confusion and denial. It only takes a few days to drive the point home, though: Hola needs a drastic adjustment in her approach to human interaction. He writes: "I mean no disrespect to her when I say that all things considered, taking the long view and giving her the full benefit of the doubt, she was a horrible bitch."

Thus begins Marty's journey to help Hola earn her Canine Good Citizen (CGC) award and prove to Gloria they can all live happily together. How hard can it be, really? A dog only has to pass a test of 10 items, most of which appear to be a cakewalk. Well, if the test involved real cake, maybe Hola would have an easy time of it, but treats are frowned upon, including cake. Good behavior comes at a cost. It also comes with a lot of hard work and many trips to classes and dog camps inconveniently located. Just ask Marty.

As if Gloria walking out wasn't enough, Marty has another problem that needs immediate attention. Lately, he's been having fewer and fewer days without a drink. Gloria's complaint --- that even when he's home he's not there --- starts to make a sickening sort of sense to him. So, while Hola is learning the 10 steps to the CGC, Marty is learning the 12 steps to sobriety. Achieving both will radically change all of their futures.

Now add to those hurdles brutal winter weather, an AA-sponsor gone rogue, and some understandable trouble at work, and you can see that Marty has an uphill battle. What keeps him going is that both of the ladies in his life are worth it.

There's no question that dog lovers will eat up this book. So, too, will cat lovers, for I haven't yet mentioned Ruby, a saucy feline who is thrust on Marty when he least expects it. But while pet owners may be more drawn to BAD DOG than other readers, there is something for everyone here. It's hard to decide which is tougher: Marty's battle with the bottle or Hola's struggle with transitioning to GOOD DOG. It would be an amusing adventure if it weren't all true. Because of that, BAD DOG is a heartwarming memoir written with fine introspection and canine wit.

--- Reviewed by Kate Ayers
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Story of Hope and Humor April 3 2011
By C. Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Have you seen the TV shows about how training dogs helps prisoners gain a sense of self-worth, responsibility and joy? This book, Bad Dog by Martin Kihn shows how developing a routine of training and unconditional love
have helped him pull away from the abyss of alcoholism.
It is not so much a story about Hola, a Bernese Mountain dog as a man's struggle with alcoholism,the destruction of a marriage and the difficult road back.

Dog training can become an obsession, in this case, a good obsession.Martin's wife had wanted a dog,she didn't even recognize at the time what she really wanted was for Martin to stop drinking and so that they could rebuild their marriage. She thought a dog would make her happy.

They picked a dog from a breeder and named the dog Hola. Hola was not the typical Bernese Mountain Dog. She was unusually intelligent, gorgeous, exuberantly affectionate and extremely active. Because Hola was different from others of this breed, it made the task of training Hola much more difficult. Marti had never trained a dog before.

I really liked this book. I am a sucker for books about dogs but this definitely had a twist to it.
There is a lot of humor and hope in this book as the author goes on his journey away from alcoholism and towards better human relationships and loving dog relationship.

Since I was curious about the AKA, this breed and different kinds of training I enjoyed it even more but some may not.

I was hooked early in the book and it was difficult to lay it down.
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