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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training, 2E Paperback – February 7, 2006

37 customer reviews

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About the Author

Pamela Dennison, owner of Positive Motivation Dog Training, has been training dogs since 1992. After switching methods from traditional punishment-based training methods to positive training, Pam has become an expert on working with dogs with various behavioral issues. She has written a monthly column, “The Barking Lot,” and authored Bringing Light to Shadow: A Story of Recovering an Aggressive Dog.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 2 edition (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592574831
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592574834
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

NEW!!!! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training now has an ONLINE class! So no matter where you live, you can now train with me! www.idiotsguidepositivedogtraining.com


I started out my writing career by accident. I adopted Shadow and for some unknown reason, decided to keep a diary on his acclimation into my household. After working with Ted Turner (not Jane Fonda's ex), he mentioned that I should turn that diary into a series of articles. And voila! Bringing Light to Shadow was born! It took me over a year to find a publisher for it though, but in the meantime, my agent found me another opportunity to write a book for the Complete Idiot's Guide series - and then came The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training. And the rest as they say, is history. Five books, four DVDs and 35+ articles later, I am still writing and in fact, would really love to delve into fiction, except I have no clue how to go about it.

Of course, I am still training dogs and helping people to help their dogs and create positive relationships. I speak across the country and across the ocean as well on many different topics - from positive training in general, to working with aggressive dogs, to free shaping, to Rally obedience and competition obedience. I went to Australia last year and spoke at the APDT conference - once I got over my fear of flying, I was thrilled to be there. I have some seminars coming up soon - in Chicago, IL, Richmond, VA and of course here at home.

I have a 7,000 sf facility in the wilds of New Jersey - yes there really are wilds in New Jersey and keep busy with my business and my own dogs. Shadow is still here - he is now 10 years old and doing great! He continues to surprise me with how "normal" he is. It used to take him months to warm up to new people and now, it only takes seconds. After earning his CGC (Canine Good Citizen certificate ) back in 2001, he has gone on to earn his CD (Companion Dog title), NA and NAJ, has a few legs of Open (agility), his ARCHEX and Level 3 titles in Rally obedience, (and he has been in the Top 20 for National Ranking for 3 years) his TSW (Team Swim certificate for Canine Water Sports) and is now working toward his certification for tracking. He could get it now if I were a better handler.

My other dogs at present are Emma and Beau - both rescued Border collies. I compete with them in most sports and are very successful. They have also been on stage and screen - Emma was in an Olympic Paint commercial, Beau was in a Mack Truck print ad and Beau and I were both in the movie "I am Legend!" Don't hurry out to buy it on my account - we are only in for 6 seconds (I counted) in the very last scene.

My complete listing of books:
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training, 2nd edition, Alpha Pearson
Bringing Light to Shadow; A Dog Trainer's Diary, Dogwise
How to Right a Dog Gone Wrong; A Roadmap for Rehabilitating Aggressive Dogs, Alpine Publications
Civilizing the City Dog (a supplement to the above title), Alpine Publications
Click Your Way to Rally Obedience, Alpine Publications

My DVDs:
Positve Solutions for Standard Behavior Problems, Barkleigh Productions
Camp R.E.W.A.R.D. for aggressive and reactive dogs, Barkleigh Productions
The 2 above were seminars that were taped
The Magic of Shaping; Explore the Possibilities, Tawzer Dog Videos
Training the Whistle Recall, Positive Motivation Dog Training
The Magic of Shaping; Explore the Possibilities

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By citywulf on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pam Dennison is perhaps one of the best authors in terms of presenting positive training in an understandable way, that shows clearly why it works and how it fits naturally into a dog's "culture." I also love that she included not just one, but two chapters on body language - sorely lacking in many books. This one has knocked a couple other recommended reads a bit lower on my list. More approachable than Pat Miller (an excellent trainer but too much train-of-thought in her books) and less technical than Pamela Reid (excellent read if you want more depth, tho), anyone can use this tool to create a wonderful relationship with a willing, eager-to-learn companion.

This book is not for the more challenging issues. It is mostly manners and prevention - the basics. Pair it with Outwitting Dogs, however, and you have all you need to tackle most* issues (*barring aggression, which should be handled with the help of a behaviorist who uses counter-conditioning and desensitization).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eliza G on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wonderful, clearly written positive training book full of PRACTICAL and USEFUL training exercises that work. Good overview of how dogs learn, how to read their body language to understand what they're communicating, how to use reinforcement schedules properly, how to introduce a new dog into your household -- in short how to set your dog up for success.

For those looking for specific help with a particular issue (such as teaching "Come") each chapter starts off with a brief outline, making it easy for you to see at a glance what each chapter covers.

The writing is broken up into bite-sized paragraphs making it easy for you to work with your dog with the book open to help coach you through each step.

Each chapter also contains interesting tidbits of dog information, simple and clear definitions, and easy pointers to help get you going.

Whether you're on your first dog, or perhaps have switched breeds and what worked for your old breed isn't working for your new breed, or it's been awhile since your last dog, or you just want a refresher -- this book is will help you and your dog achieve great things together!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. vanSaders on November 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
My dogs responded awesomely to this book! Finally my confirmed puller is walking WITH me!!! And my puppy is happily glued to my side! No more prong collars, no more being dragged around! thank you Pamela!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Brett on March 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
My family recently welcomed a wonderful Collie - Captain Jack Sparrow into our lives. From day one, I read this book, studied the techniques and the reasoning and rationale behind the methods and practiced them with Jack.

The first day he learned his name using the clicker method. After about three or four repetitions, that was it, he knew he was Jack. Amazing. The very next day we practiced his name some more and then in nothing flat he learned sit, stay, down and come in two 10 minute training sessions the same day. After that it was just a matter of continuing the repetition and adding more commands.

Once of the sections I found particularly useful was the information about reading your dog's behaviour and signals. I never really gave much thought to various dog behaviours, subtle or otherwise until I read Pam's insightful book. Now it all makes sense!

If you're looking to train your dog, understand your dog and really relate to your dog in a meaningful way, get this book!

Kevin Brett
CEO, Kevin Brett Studios, Inc.
Author: "The Way of the Martial Artist: Achieving Success in Martial Arts and in Life"

The Way of the Martial Artist: Achieving Success in Martial Arts and in Life!

Producer of: The Art of Intelligent Driving (DVD)
The Art of Intelligent Driving
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Forero on April 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Helpful information for people completely new to dogs. The author is very contradictory with treating dogs as human or not. And the examples/side stories given provide no scientific/professional background as supporting evidence to this manner of teaching. I am not saying positive reinforcement is wrong. Just this author's delivery makes it seem like nonsense.

This book in no way replaces actual formal training that every dog needs. I think this book is a quick and easy read to get you an idea of how to treat dogs. But if you need actual help in training, I suggest something else.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
The author discusses positive training adnosium and yet she glosses over important points and techniques. Potty training is covered in a page and a half, which seems a bit scant to me in a book about dog training. This is not so much a book on how to train your dog but book on the philosophy of positive dog training.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barb S. on January 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a fantastic dog training book. I literally read it cover to cover in record time. It's as close as you can get to a "recipe" to train your dog. Unlike many training books it also helps the reader to recognize and deal with stress in your dog. A dog that is stressed can't learn effectively. It troubleshoots common behavior issues. And describes, in detail, how you can train your dog to be a good citizen and a great family member. This is the first book I recommend to new dog owners and people looking for a more humane, yet effective, training method. I've even given copies to several people. Get this book! I've read around 60 different training books and this is one of the best.
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