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on April 18, 2001
I have two rambunctious beagles who both came to me later in life with pleanty of bad habits, and a few new habits I taught them that weren't so good. In just a few short days of using the techniques in this book I can already see the changes in my dogs. The constant barking at everything outside is fading, they are reliably sitting to go outside and for walks.....just amazing.
The best part is nothing in this book is hard, and the dogs seem to like it. The writing is entertaining. The author has a good grip on dogs. I also appreicate his "It's never too late attitude" So many books give up on older dogs.. or just refer you to the leash correction method of dog training for older more challenging pets.
This is going to be the book I loan my friends when they get new dogs, replacing some of my old favorites.
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on January 11, 2001
What a nice change. The last time I trained a dog was atleast 15 years ago using the leash/punishment/force the dog to do what you want it to method employeed by many training schools in my area. We failed the class twice. It was a painful procedure for both me and my dog who was a very loving, affectionate animal. I think he was often wondering "why is she doing this to me?" Dunbar's method has been a much more effective tool for me. I have used this method on a boxer puppy and a pug and found it very succesful. Both dogs enjoyed learning new things and it was easy to teach them using Dunbar's method. Sit, stay, come and the few tricks I taught, they learned very quickly. My only complaint is that when I had a serious discipline problem the book did not give me much guidence. We live across from a corn field that the pug found very alluring and unfortunatly a major roadway is between our yard and the corn field. When he went past his boundries and needed some sort of correction there was no guidence. They said when a dog fails to respond and it is an important matter to discipline right away but not with excess. Period as in Dunbar does not elaborate on effective techniques that can get the job done without harming the bond between dog and owner.
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on November 21, 1998
The three things I liked best about this book are Dr. Dunbar's sense of humor, the easy to read style and the amazing amount of info! I tried some of these techniques on my dog and they worked within minutes! And this after my dog and I 'failed' training school twice!
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I found Ian's book to be excellent. His advice was sound - no miracle methods, just common sense. The book was different to many in that the training section made only a small part of the book. He focussed more on dog psycology - how to understand and get the most out of your dog, and how your dog can understand and get the most out of you. Training your dog after these goals have been acheived is then a lot easier, he argues. This book is best read about a month before you expect to get a puppy.
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on March 13, 2001
There are lots of books out about understanding your dog's behavior, about preventing discipline problems, and about basic training for the pet dog. This book combines these principles in a format that is easy to follow and humorous. His approach is simple and old-fashioned without being at all harsh. Consistent adherence to the principles outlined in this book will allow you to raise a dog whose behavior is trustworthy enough for you to take him anywhere. Read this book before you get a puppy, and keep it handy for reference as the puppy develops. I have raised my furry best friend using Dr. Dunbar's techniques and now have a 2 year old dog who is playful and goofy but who I can trust to behave at home and in public, on-leash or off. If you buy just one book about raising a pet puppy, make it this one.
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on July 21, 1999
I have just started a career in dog training and the trainer I am apprenticing with requested that I read this book.
I had heard of Dr. Dunbar a lot over the last year or so of investigating my future career,and I was certainly impressed with his credentials. But, after reading this book I am even more impressed.
It is a really dense book, so much so that I am going to read it again so I don't miss anything, but written in such a nice voice that it really was a joy to read.
It covers just about everything a dog owner could want to know about living with a dog. I am not surprised that the person I am apprenticing with makes this required reading for all of her students.
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on April 25, 2002
My standard poodle pup is 15 weeks old now. A couple weeks
ago on our first night of obedience class, the trainer said
to jerk the leash when she pulls. I felt this kind of correction
was harsh, and after one week it never seemed to help. In fact
it probably reinforeced her leash pulling behavior and made her
neck sore.
Then I read Dunbar's book and after just one walking session
using his techniques, our puppy showed great improvment. It
happened right before our eyes! Needless to say, I was
thrilled. Now we're having a great time learning all
sorts of new things.
Dogs sure are smart. Are you? Get this book and read it
(twice!).
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on November 13, 2001
Traditional dog training was amazingly unaware
of the developments of the behavioural sciences.
Only with the appearance of problem dog therapeutists
a couple of decades ago did matters start to change
in a revolutionary way as concepts from eg marine
mammal training were applied in dog training (eg
by Karen Pryor).
Unlike the traditional methods, the novel techniques
were non-coercive, and much more humane for the dog.
Dr Ian Dunbar is one of the best-known representatives
of the new shcool of dog training authors.
The present book is in my opinion easy and fun to
read, and, even more importantly, the techniques suggested
are both fun - for dog and owner alike - and effective.
On the negative side, it's rather limited in scope,
which is of course to be expected. It focuses on the
upbringing of the common companion pet.
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on August 13, 2008
First let me say that this book and the more recent "Before and After Getting Your Puppy (Dunbar 2004) are virtually identical. There is a little additional material in the later volume, but in that book states that all important training MUST occur in the first 6 months of puppydom. One day later is too late. For those of us who aquired the dog when slightly past six months - well - let's just hope it's not true.

That said, I think most of the training techniques in Dunbar's books are reasonably effective - but he cops out on some very important behaviors. Many older puppies and dogs have greeting behaviors that include frantic jumping, pawing and scratching and even excited nipping. If an owner and his dog are ever going to have a social life (or a uneventful walk,) it is essential that these behaviors be corrected. These behaviors are particularily challenging because they are cccurring when a dog is in a high state of agitation and far less likely to attend to, or even hear, commands.

Dunbar's recommendation is to have a party (with at least twenty people) and have all those individuals repeatedly enter the house armed with treats. The dog is instructed in the proper behavior and rewarded when he/she complies. Treat and repeat until Rover gets the idea. Then have a party the following week to make sure it all stuck. Dunbar also wants you to have all these good natured dog lovers to walk around the block a number of times carrying treats so that Rover can "run into them" on his walk and be shown (again, and again, and again) how to behave. Now in theory, this is a great approach, but the truth is that most of us don't have twenty or more friends willing to spend a number of hours, two weeks in a row, assisting us in our dog training. As this is his only suggestion for correcting greeting behavior, it leaves the majority of us in the lurch with jumpy, hyperactive greeters who will no doubt drive away the friends we do have.
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on September 7, 2001
This is a very interesting and helpful book when trying to train a new puppy as well as a mature dog. It explains how bad behavior develops and the steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place and the method to change behavior that has already occurred. This book was highly recommended by a group of people who work with Greyhound adoption, as a means to altering behavior that occurs in an older adopted dog. I used it with a great dane puppy and even when I think it may not work, I have not been dissapointed in anything the author writes. This book is hard to get and you may have to wait as it is frequently back ordered, but that just attests to its value in training your furry friend!!!
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