Most helpful critical review
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Out-dated at best, horrifying at worst!
on September 23, 2008
[While not worthy of such, this book recieves one star simply because Amazon demanded that I rate it.]
While her methods may have won her and her dogs multiple awards in the 1960's, Winifred's harsh training style is out-dated and inappropriate given the less "hands-on" methods that science has found to work best for all mammals, not just dogs...
In this book, the author preaches physical punishment (slapping, hitting, jerking, pushing, pulling, "scruffing", etc), often coupled with in-your-dog's-face vocal reprimands, and she recommends doing it "as often as necessary", even to very young puppies.
You'll find lots of useless information and even more bragging, and if you follow the "steps" as the author suggests, you're garenteed to damage whatever relationship you have with your dog beyond repair - this type of "training" will teach even the toughest, hardest dogs that you are dangerous. I highly doubt that any worthy dog owner, whether trying to better their housepet's manners or trying to earn a formal title, would be eager to intentionally frighten or physically harm their puppy or dog.
I've been a professional trainer for over 15 years, and used to use the "J&P" (jerk & praise) methods with limited success - I watched dogs pass with flying colors one moment, and crumble the next. Back then, it was frustrating and often infuriating, but I know now that they sometimes crumbled for the same reason they sometimes excelled: anxiety and fear of aversives.
While there is no such thing as truely positive training (don't let those "fluffy" trainers fool you), clicker training and using rewards (which doesn't just mean treats, folks) has scientifically proven highly successful for a variety of mammalian species. IT WORKS, and it works 100% of the time for 100% of dogs. It takes far less time to train a dog using rewards than it does to train a dog using aversives and negative punishment, and for two simple reasons: NO ONE WORKS FOR FREE, and EMOTIONAL STRESS HINDERS LEARNING. Believing that your dog works "just to please you" or just "because s/he should" is the equivilent of your boss believing that you go to work every day just to make your boss happy - it's ignorant, arrogant, and egotistical, to say the least. Mental and emotional stress trigger the "fight or flight" reaction that ALL mammals possess, and once that button has been pushed, learning is impossible, causing you frustration and causing your dog to move into panic mode...
While I could easily go on about this, I'll stop here. This book may be useful for historical purposes, but for your dog's sake, learn about the science behind canine behavior, learning methods, and training methods before you plunge into punishments and aversives. Or better yet, find a trainer that's well versed in ALL methods of training, and have them help you out. It may be easier for you to read just one book and jump into scolding your dog for everything he does wrong, but unless you tell him what he's doing RIGHT, in a language he can understand, he'll never learn anything other than to fear you.