Top critical review
36 people found this helpful
Great book if you have lots of idle friends
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.