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Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog Paperback – June 1, 2003

122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Thanks to the advice in this booklet, my (formerly) reactive dog walked calmly and politely past five barking dogs today. I was delighted! " --Carrie Moskowitz and Chauncey

About the Author

Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. and Karen B. London, PhD. are Certified Animal Behaviorists and professional dog trainers who specialize in evaluating and treating serious behavioral problems in domestic dogs. They are both nationally and internationally respected ethologists who combine the best of science and practical experience to help their two favorite species, people and dogs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 63 pages
  • Publisher: Mc Connell Publishing, Ltd.; 2nd ( 2009 ) edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891767070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891767074
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert applied animal behaviorist. Her company, Dog's Best Friend, Ltd., specializes in family dog-training and treating aggression in dogs, and she is an immensely popular speaker around the country. She is the co-host of Calling All Pets, an animal behavior advice show syndicated to a hundred public radio stations, and works daily with four dogs (three border collies and a Great Pyrenees) on her sheep farm outside of Madison. Her Web site is

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By schaargi on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have a rescued dog that is nuts-aggressive on a leash. I have read sooooo many dog training/behavior books, and this one is one of the best. Why? 1) It gets right to the point. 2) There are only 3 main techniques to remember and practice (plus a few "panic button" tactics). 3) It's fewer than 60 pages.

This book is easy to understand and doesn't muddy the issues with a lot of extra stuff. The techniques are non-violent but work. I've been through several dog trainers that told me that I wasn't correcting my dog hard enough so he wasn't getting the message. Things were only getting worse. The corrections were only making him more agitated, so that he began aggressing earlier and earlier when he saw another dog.

This book helps you train your dog to have a different reaction to whatever sets him off so that his habit is to look at you when another dog (or person) comes around, instead of freaking out.

McConnell anticipates that things always don't go as planned; one heading is titled, "Oops! My Dog Looked Away Before I Said Okay." She also gives suggestions for troubleshooting.

I highly recommend this booklet!
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Reader on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is short, and clearly written. It is often funny, and is very easy to understand. The author goes into enough detail and gives advice on enough side issues (car aggression, techniques for specific kinds of dogs or owners) that I get the sense that she has worked these principles for a very long time with pretty much every kind of dog out there. In other words, at no point did I think, "but what about my dog, he's different because" without the author addressing the issue a few paragraphs later.

If you want volume for your book-spending money, you may be a little unhappy with how short the book was, but I was relieved by it -- I wanted to finish the book and start applying the training ASAP, so the shorter the better.

The "watch" technique is working for my dog. He's not "cured", but we are having positive events -- I got him to watch me while we were in my truck instead of lunging and barking at a dog that was walking by. He also let a cow (we hike, and ranchers let their cows out in the high country to graze) walk within ten feet of us and did not even bark. He actually stayed calm and kept looking back to me for treats. Maybe he doesn't mind cows (!), but staying that calm near another strange animal is new behavior.

I still expect it to take several months before he lets a dog go by us on the trail without trying to tear it apart, but I am seeing very small results just one week into using the watch command. Like the author suggests, we are working with easy to moderate situations, and just getting those down before we move on to high stress situations.

I have worked with 2 different $80 an hour dog trainers on this problem with my dog, and while they did teach me helpful things, I think I've gotten more useful information out of this book. If you can't afford a trainer, and you feel like you can't go another day with your dog acting like a maniac, definitely give this book a try.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sarah M on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read McConnell's book The Other End of the Leash and really appreciated her scientific approach to the dog-human relationship. I rescued a big mix (3 years old, 70 pounds) about a year ago and once he got used to life with me and got his confidence up he started acting like a maniac on the leash when we would see other dogs. I took him to 2 rounds of obedience training which helped our bond and was good for his brain, but didn't do much for his "leash reactivity" as McConnell calls it. So I went online to see what I could find and ended up buying Feisty Fido as well as the Cautious Canine.

I have been following Feisty Fido to the letter for 2 to 3 weeks and have already started to see results. I bought the equipment that she recommends (leash, collar, and bait bag) and am following the regiment exactly. It's a lot of work, but it's totally worth it to not own the Neighborhood Menace. The book is an excellent step by step way to rehabilitate a leash reactive dog. Feisty Fido is a program to correct one behavior, but I think the method could be applied to any kind of fear-induced reactive behavior.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Tx Gun Gal on January 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is primarily for dogs aggressive on leash, same dogs off leash are fine with most, if not all, other dogs. It is only one of 28 catagories of aggression or combination thereof. The benefit to getting this booklet is that 1) you can determine if this is really the problem before you invest in a lot of more expensive books that deal with all manner of aggression. AND 2) You should be working with a trainer on ANY kind of aggression issue. This booklet will help you to know what type of methods are likely to be effective and you will have something to refer to as you are working with the trainer - I would not work with anyone who is not familiar and endorses at least some of McConnell's positive training recommendations.

Her booklets in general cover more information with more pages than you will find in a single chapter of a lot of training or dog problem books. This gives you 59 pages dealing with just one very common, very specific issue! You would get far less for a lot higher price if you brought a book on a more general behavior topic.

If you found the booklet useful, great! If you didn't, be glad you didn't spend more for it, quit yer bitchin and donate it to a rescue group who can use it - it's tax deductable
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