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The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training Paperback – September, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media Corporation; 1st edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580622038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580622035
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,561,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Owens, founder of Raise with Praise, Inc. and a certified evaluator for the Delta Society's Animal Assisted Therapy Program, has written a good, basic, reasonably priced introduction to dog training based upon rewarding "successive approximations" of correct behavior. Gone are the leash "pop" and harsher corrections of earlier obedience methods. Nonviolent dog training shapes appropriate behavior with rewards such as food and games. Incorrect behavior is punished by ignoring the dog and by verbal cues such as "oh-oh." There are chapters on clicker training, target stick training, and training gear such as collars and leashes; the nine ingredients of canine optimum health (high-quality diet, play, socialization, quiet time, exercise, employment, rest, training, and healthcare); and human-canine communication. How to teach "sit," "stay," "down," "stand," "come," "heel," "take it," and "drop it" are explained step-by-step and illustrated with photographs. For public libraries.AFlorence Scarinci, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"After working for years to expose trainers' cruelty to animals in the production of movies, I applaud a book that encourages the compassion and nonviolence that dogs so richly deserve." -- Bob Barker, Host, The Price Is Right

"This is an important book. Paul Owens offers a powerful voice of nonviolence and a truly enlightening approach to raising and training your dog. I wholeheartedly recommend his message of compassion and joy." -- Jack Canfield, Co-author, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Soul

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Customer Reviews

Def. recommend this book to any dog owner.
This book starts slow, but by the end it amazing how much you will learn about your dog and how to work with your family pet.
serious reader
Paul Owens gives a fun way to train your dog using treats and positive reinforcement.
Kerry Witzeman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By S. Rasco on January 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
My roomate made me read this book so that we're on the same page while training her puppy (a standard poodle, 6 mos.). I like the non-violent approach, and wholeheartedly agree that shocking, kicking, and hitting are abusive ways to train an animal. The positive reinforcement and clear techniques are great. Owens guides you through phases of mastering commands with clear instructions and what to expect. I found his methods of teaching the puppy who's in charge (establishing dominance) to be great because you don't have to be rough or aggressive to do it. This is with several different forms of witholding rewards/attention and restraint so that the dog learns that it gets cut out of the fun when it does something wrong.

Paul Owens studied yoga in India, and is very into some New Age ideas and methods. These, you can take or leave. The relaxation and focus techniques are good for me to keep me from over-reacting or forgetting that he's just a puppy and can't be expected to behave all the time. However, I will not be doing any yoga breathing and bonding with the dog or playing him music or sending him vibrations of love, peace, and acceptance. Sometimes, the author seems to forget that it's a dog and not a furry person with the emphasis on spiritual communion with your dog.

There are some things that he doesn't address, most likely because bigger behavioral problems that don't stop with training probably need to be addressed in a few personal sessions with a good trainer. With a large breed like ours, there are some specific concerns that aren't addressed. Anything our horse of a dog does is magnified because of his size. Jumping isn't just annoying, but dangerous. If he stands up, anything on any surface is accessible to him. Baby fences won't be an obstacle in a few months.
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144 of 154 people found the following review helpful By My feelings and thoughts on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Paul Owens Nonviolint approach allows your dog to keep its personality. Where as the other methods break the dogs spirit. the old methods of controlling through domination is just that OLD. This book taught me many things I paid hundreds of dollers to learn by having a in-home-trainer,However this book continued on where my trainer left off. This book also helps you see things from the dogs mind of reasoning and understanding. I was able you use the lessons and get results in as little as 5 min. and as long as I practice what Paul tells us in this book I am a happy dog owner with a dog that obays me very well. There truly is no need for the old way of training and the proof is in this outstanding book. I can not praise this book enough. please if you are going to get a dog or have one already do yourself a favor and get this book.And please do not let any one tell you that those cruel training methods are better until you try this first, you will be amazed.I love the hide and seek game and the "find it" with my dog.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Belle on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a must have book for true animal lovers. Based on a philosophy of "Raise With Praise", Paul's approach is all about love... and let me tell you, it works! Paul covers every facet of caring for your dog, including: training, a truly healthy diet, and great insight into how dogs think.
I've read alot of books on dogs and this is by far the most original and compassionate approach I've seen. He really makes it fun! We trained our dog to sit, stay, come, crawl.. and absolutely had a blast doing it. His biggest asset seems to be that he really gets animals, he knows how they think and this has allowed him to develop a way to communicating with them that is positive and effective. Enjoy.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I liked this book very much. Paul does a great job of conveying that the best results come from a basic understanding of how dogs view the world and how they learn. It is a huge stretch to getting the humans past thinking and acting as though the secret to training companion dogs is imposing your will on a dog and then correcting it for "disobeying". Without knowing any better, many, many people think that the ONLY way to train a dog is by teaching it to avoid corrections. I think that is killing an ant with an anvil and happily, many other dog owners do, too. The only criticism I have is that the book may have a narrow appeal. Some may be turned off by the spiritual overtones. I found that aspect refreshing myself. It's pretty hard to learn how to use a clicker well by reading a book, but I guess it won't hurt anyone if the human screws up, right? If I had a client who was "into" a holistic approach, this would be my first pick.
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147 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Kent Ponder on March 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
As an owner and trainer of many dogs and cats, and as a person whose Ph.D. is partly psychology-based, I loved this book, but ...
The problem is that it best fits the person with ideal patience and ideal time-availability. It also best fits the person who does not have a very large, strong, determined, alpha-willed dog. There's really no secret here; education of animals (and people) includes both reward of desired behavior and negative reinforcement of unwanted behavior. It also depends in part on the genetic predisposition of the individual being trained. If there is enough time, and the dog is not a strong-willed alpha personality, working only with positive reinforcement can be effective. But many dog owners just don't have enough time, and some dogs are genetically aggressive, naturally domineering and stubbornly (even manipulatively) willful. My experience with dogs indicates that a few negative reinforcers are sometimes useful, and need not be harmful to the dog. For example, prong or choke callers need not be used harshly, but with dogs such as my 100 lb. male Bull Mastiff the extra control can sometimes be helpful because of his pulling strength and the toughness of his "bull" neck as he suddenly lunges after a bird or squirrel, etc.
The book's insightful comments on developmental psychology, explaining aspects of canine emotional and cognitive maturation at different ages are, alone, worth the book's price. Dogs, like children, best learn certain attitudes and behaviors during growth periods that occur at specific ages which the author outlines. He mentions, for example, that dogs are especially sensitive to negative input from eight to ten weeks of age, which is due to the type of brain development that occurs at this age.
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