Customer Reviews: Dogspeak: How to Learn It, Speak it, and Use It to Have a Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Dog
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on November 3, 1999
Dog Speak not only shows you how to train your dog, but clearly and quickly explains why it works. Instead of just giving you lessons to blindly follow - it explains the logic behind the dog's actions, so you can in effect think like the dog and relate together. The dog naturally wants to please its master. Dog Speak shows you how to clearly signal to the dog and communicate one to one - to make your dog eager to please his master - and of course making the master extremely pleased with the dog.
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on July 25, 2000
I enjoyed reading this book. More than the half explains everything about dog language, how to understand what your dog is trying to tell you, how to understand aggression, playfulness, fear etc, and how to reply to those signs once you 've understood them. The last chapters of the book deal with training (sit, stay, down), general information about the health of your dog, how to groom them, how you can improve an old dog's life and make those last years as comfortable as possible. You can see in almost every line Mr Dibra's love for dogs. It is truly wonderful! I was also amazed when I read that the author got a puppy wolf, as a pattern, in order for him to understand better the ancestors of our dogs and their behaviour.
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on April 13, 2004
I had heard of this book, and being on a neverending quest for better canine health, wellbeing, and communication (as evidenced by my other reviews!) I decided to add it to my "stack" of read-and-rates.
There is nothing new, novel, or remotely remarkable about this book. But less than average writing, poor illustrations, and out-of-date techniques are among some of its numerous flaws. I approached this book initially because it was listed under "Dogs -- Behavior" AND "Dogs -- Training." But really if anything, it falls under choosing and caring for a new puppy!
There are 10 chapters in this book. The first is more of an "extended intro," second is Dibra's 8 Fundamental Pack Behaviors (nothing any reading/thinking person wouldn't know *yawn*), and chapters 3-6 are all about choosing and caring for a new puppy! WHOA! Wasn't this listed under "Dogs -- Behavior"? Just wait, it gets better!
Chapter 7 finally gets to the "behavior" portion I crave. But I was severly dissappointed. The illustrations are terrible, if not incomplete, and the description of basic doggy body language is less-than-adequate. He doesn't even BEGIN to go into the complexities of certain types of dogs, or "dialects" as we like to call them! But all in all, if you have never read any texts on behavior, it may possibly be a wee bit helpful to you.
Unforgivable Sins in this book:
· Dibra's puppy-buying guide relies HEAVILY on AKC as a "starting point," saying you can use them for breed research, breeder referral, and a reference point. Not so. AKC offers generalities like breed standards (useless when matching a dog to your lifestyle!) and a list of breeders who may or may not produce quality dogs. This generally wouldn't bother me so much, but he KEEPS referring to it!
· Dibra recommends that at 6 months a dog be fitted with a "control collar"... which is a lame way of saying "choke chain." He says in chapter 8 (pg 143) "It goes without saying that training can't begin without the proper equipment: training control collar and leash ... Otherwise you have no control of your dog." Oh really? hmmm... I've never used a correction collar and I compete in agility, which takes a high degree of focus and control.
· I was disgusted by his use of the choke collar in general, such as when teaching heal, continually pop the collar at intervals to remind your dog to stay with you. What, is it a reward now? He also mentions that it is not punishment, it is correction, and that punishment makes a dog "shut down." I'm here to tell you, I have a dog that "shuts down" when you tug on his nylon martingale accidentally! I know several others who shut down when you correct them verbally! How do you deal with that?
· He is against any other training device and doesn't even cover them except to say they "backfire." Please be open minded! Even I teach methods for equipment I don't agree with!
· A minor fault: he refers to the veterinarian as the ultimate reference for doggy health. I'm here to tell ya (as a vet tech student and natural raiser) vets don't know everything! And above all else, who knows your animal better than YOU!
I was severely disappointed with this book to the point that I wrote down the things as I found them (hence the quote). There are way more "red flag" quotes in the book. I can't believe this man teaches celebrities how to handle their dogs for $300 an hour. I know I will do without his help...
Want a better book which is REALLY about behavior? Stanley Coren's "How to Speak Dog"
Want a better book which is REALLY about communication? Suzanne Clothier's "Bones would Rain from the Sky"
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on July 8, 2001
I have just finished reading "Dog Speak" by Bash Dibra and found it extremely helpful. As an animal artist who prefers to paint from life, I frequently need to advise my clients on basic obedience for their pets. Mr. Dibra has written his book for pet owners and not professional trainers so it is easy to read. I have painted dogs of every breed and description and when owners used the techniques I recommended from this book I noticed a considerable change in the pet's behavior on subsequent sittings. There are no frills or controversial new training methods here, just solid, proven advice. It is a must for every first time dog owner or anyone who just wants to review the basics.
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on September 28, 2000
As I read this book, I kept turning back to the copyright date because I found it hard to believe that the training philosophy Dibra espouses is still being promoted. These techniques are old-fashioned; most respected dog trainers have long since moved on to an approach that encourages the dog to think, not to be pushed into position and then "corrected" if he does not learn from the experience of being pushed around.
There are so many better books out there--please keep reading to at least get a well-rounded view of dog training. Don't accept any one trainer's or author's view as gospel.
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on July 12, 2001
Great book! It was very helpful in letting me know what I should & can expect from my puppy and trying to understand his needs and body language. A definate for anyone with a new puppy or just trying to understand their dog better!
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on July 8, 2001
This is a fascinating and useful guide to dog thinking and behavior. I think the book's a wonderful, practical resource for either first-timers or long-time dog owners and dog trainers.
It's also much better written than most books on the subject. It's easy to read, but highly informative, eye-opening, and filled with good advice.
By the way, the book doesn't discourage pet-owners from getting dogs from animal shelters. On the contrary, there's an entire chapter devoted to how to find the right dog for you in shelters!
Overall: Dogspeak talks the talk and walks the walk -- highly recommended.
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on July 10, 2001
A friend of mine gave me a copy Dogspeak after my son was born. We were afraid that our King Doberman (100 lbs+)would be jealous of the newborn. With the two authors insightful obsevations of dog behavior, my wife and I were able to have less trepidations about the two of them. After all, our dog WAS the firstborn, then came along this little runt who garnered all of our attention. With a few simple techniques, we were able to re-incorporate our dog into the family life. The two of them are now the best of friends. Thank you Bash Dibra and Mary Ann Crenshaw!!
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on July 11, 2001
I am a first time dog owner and DogSpeak was a big help in understanding dog behavior. This book was GREAT! The writing was clear and simple and I got the sense that the trainer really knew how to read dogs. Some may argue that the tips in the book aren't exactly revolutionary, but they don't have to be! The basic techniques in this book, along with my own persistence and patience, are what helped me train my own dog. I highly recommend this book.
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on November 19, 2002
Despite the author's statement, there is nothing revolutionary about this book. In fact, many suggestions in it are falling by the wayside (paper training, "corrective jerk") as we learn more positive, fun ways to work with our dogs. Although it contains great suggestions for selecting a dog, other books have better all-around advice; for example, "A Simple Guide to Puppies." For true enlightenment on dog communication, read Patricia McConnell's delightful "The Other End of the Leash." Leave this one, with its aggressive approach to training, on the shelf.
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