January 18, 2021

Recommendation but No Review: Divine Canine by the Monks of New Skete

divine_canine.jpgI don’t have a dog, but I’ve had several in the past and I want another one. I’m trying to make up my mind on that one. We loved our Scottie, and Denise loves German Shepherds. We could always love a mutt or two. I could stand the time thinking about something other than the usual stuff I think about.

But this isn’t a dog blog. I did, however, get this nice offer to receive a copy of Divine Canine by the Monks of New Skete in return for a brief review. (Seems the “monk” in the title attracted a publicist.) Ordinarily, I’d say, “Thanks, but I’m not really a monk, and this isn’t a dog blog and I don’t review that kind of book.” Of course, I do like monks….and dogs…and books…..so here you go: the Internet Monk recommends (but doesn’t review) a dog book.

It’s a fine book. My friend Deana trains companion guide dogs for the visually impaired, and she read the book for me. She said it was great and she recommends it. I’d take her word for it. She’s got awesomely behaved dogs and knows her stuff. She even gave me the book back.

This is a book that focuses on basic training and solving problem behaviors with dogs, and it covers all kinds of problems and all kinds of dogs, with lots of photos, practical instructions and easy-to-understand text. Plus, there are lots of nice insights from the monks, who don’t look scary or monastic at all.

I don’t know enough about dogs to say if there are better books or better methodologies, but the Monks of New Skete have a great reputation for their trained German Shepherds, and this book isn’t just a few pretty pictures. It’s a serious guide to working with your dog or the ordinary dog you decide to bring home from the pound. From house-breaking to complicated behavior problems, it seems to be the complete guide.


  1. I haven’t read this particular book, but I have read a couple of their other books and they are quite good. I’ve always recommended the Monks of New Skete to dog owners for good solid advice on dog training and behavior. I have good dogs and I generally follow their advice.

  2. i almost picked this book up the other day. currently i’ve been reading “how to be your dogs best friend” which is really good. i’ve enjoyed some of their other books.

  3. If anyone out there has a good source of Scotties or German Shepherds within reasonable driving distance of SE Ky, I’d love to know.

  4. The monks rock. I’ve read “The Art of Raising a Puppy” and “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend.” Really great dog trainining I got my insanely stubborn mini-dachshund under control in weeks…then my wife kicked him out. But still. The monks rock.

  5. German shepherds are sold everywhere and they can range from free to $5,000. (newspaper, internet, etc.) They are intelligent, adaptable, loyal, domestic, and can be a great watchdog as well. They are actually the only breed that is a part of every working class.

    Drug sniffing, handicapped, military, police, tracking, watchdog, shepherding, all include the German Shepherd. Good with children and older people alike, I as a longtime owner highly recommend that breed.

    They vary in size from 75 – 120 lbs. Our present dog Rudy (Notre Dame) is already 104 lbs and is 10 1/2 months old. They will live anywhere from 10 – 13 years. Good luck with your search!

  6. I have a full-blooded Black Tri Australian Shepherd that had a litter of 8 puppies 9 weeks ago. The dad is a Border Collie mix. I have one left – a girl. She has all the mom’s markings. If you’re interested, let me know. I’ll split the shipping cost with you. If you’re not familiar with Aussies, here’s a link to a picture:


  7. Thanks for the generous offer. We had an Aussie Shepherd when our kids were small, but it was simply too active for our lifestyle. With both of us working long days every day we didn’t have the time for the long outdoor times she needed. But she was a beauty and we really miss her. We probably need something with less “herding” instinct.

  8. For something other than dogs from the Monks, “In the Spirit of Happiness” is excellent and worthy of reviewing.

    It should be perfect for post-evangelicals, as it’s a nice immersion in tradition with none of the theological expectations. :-p

  9. Over the years we’ve had a Springer Spaniel, Border Collie, Australian Shepherd and a Shiba Inu. The Shiba is by far my favorite of all the dogs we’ve had. Japan’s gift to the canine world.

  10. Hi Michael,

    For your lifestyle, can I recommend a retired racing greyhound? We have two and have fostered dozens over the last decade. They are very calm and gentle – and they seem to know they are retired and act like it. People think retired racers might be hyper, but these dogs are sprinters. A good run around the yard or a nice 10-15 minute walk and they are ready to come home and nap for the next couple hours. I often say it is like living with large, affectionate thorw pillows.

    There is a very fine rescue group called Almost Heaven (http://www.almost-heaven.org/) that works in the WVa, Kentucky and Ohio tri-state area (tell them Bookdragon referred you). Or there’s Shamrock in Louisville, Ky (http://www.greyhoundsofshamrock.org/).

    Compared to the cost of most purebreeds, greyhounds are inexpensive – rescues usually charge only the cost of spay/neuter and shots. And with short hair and low dander they do not require much grooming.

    However, if you are set on a Scottie or GSD (also very fine dogs certainly), try searching on Petfinder.com
    A list of Scottie rescue organizations in your area can be found here: http://www.stca.biz/rescuelist.asp#KY
    there’s also http://www.scottiekingdom.com/

    For GSD’s rescues in your area are: http://www.fablesgsd.com/ and

  11. We had bouviers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouvier_des_Flandres), which we had to give away when we immigrated. I still miss them. A lot.

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