Most helpful critical review
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Why they keep putting out "new" editions of this book is beyond me!
on July 29, 2008
If you happen upon this book or feel the need to purchase it, PLEASE read it with a grain of salt (or lots). I would pass on this book...for sure! No one should treat animals they have taken into their homes the way Strickland recommends at times.
First off, the author seems to brag about her own dogs and her own work with them through the years a little too much to be objective or even necessary. For instance, she has four pages (mostly pictures of her dogs doing things most dogs will never have the opportunity to do with four large paragraphs of text) about the importance of teaching your dog to swim, but yet only has three small sentences (less than a third of a page with the subtitle) about teaching your dog to come when called. The section about TEACHING YOUR DOG TO RIDE IN A CAR is a full page long without any pictures, but sections on biting and jumping up are half that and really only for those who may have never owned a dog--not necessarily for those who have a dog or puppy who need work in those areas. I think she has her priorities WAY out of wack!
Secondly, she actually goes so far as to tell readers not to use any other training methods but hers mentioned in the book, implying that her ways are the best. Well, I have been told by many experienced dog trainers and dog owners that you need to do what works FOR YOUR DOG while also being consistent. She mentions her great success has to do with her being so consistent; however, many of her methods have big red flags on them as far as I am concerned. There is so much in the first part of this book that I actually found offensive. For example, under TEACHING YOUR DOG TO STAY AT HOME OR IN THE CAR, she actually tells readers to "slap him (your young puppy) with your hand, saying 'No, shame.' Repeat this as often as necessary." She also recommends that you have your dog in the front seat with you of your vehicle, but does not mention any proper safety restraining for the dog's safety. Strickland even contradicts herself by badmouthing handlers in dog training rings who yell at their dogs and such, then tells readers to "scold" and "reprimand him (your dog) with your voice" in the Preliminary Training Chapter. Lastly, the author also recommends squirting your dog in the face with a squirt gun if he/she misbehaves. Therefore, I think there must be WAY better training methods and books available out there.
The only reason why this book got a star was because of all the information on AKC Obedience Regulations. However, I would think that such information could be found through the AKC on-line somewhere or at least in a better hardcopy book somewhere. I have not gotten through all of the formal training section because the beginning stuff was so useless, but the little I have tried to look up was not easy to follow and/or not very helpful. I am sure I will find something useful in this book if not just bad examples as to what not to do!
Best wishes to you and your dog(s).