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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars35
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on May 26, 2008
I really enjoyed Ms. Bailey's approach to training gun dogs, especially the emphasis that she places on conditioning instead of formal training. Ms. Bailey's conditioning techniques allow you to train your dog without the dog realizing it. Her book and its methods are only intended for puppies to 1 year old dogs. She defers you to other books and techniques to use for training your adult dog. However, I feel that if you use the techniques she has stated in her book with your puppy/adolescent dog, you will be well on your way to having not only a great bird dog, but also a great family friend that is well mannered and socialized.
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on November 4, 2013
I bought this in preparation for our new German Shorthair Pointer. Overall, it was a good read in gaining insight into what was a new breed for us in a non GSP-specific manner. However, I found a lot of the content fairly vague and non-specific. I'm the type where if I get a training aid, I want to be told exactly what to do and this was lacking in that regard
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on August 18, 2011
Quite simply, this is the best book I've ever read on the subject of training gun dogs. Joan follows a logical progression of learning challenges, just don't fall into the trap of thinking you and your dog have to be precisely where "the book says" you both need to be at X point in time. I don't believe that was Joan's intention, to be that exacting in the timeline, as she certainly knows and points out that each dog learns at a different rate, for any number of reasons.

Still, the sequence of steps to be taken along the way are most effective. Teachings in other references actually help get the dog ready to start learning between their 5th and 10th week. When they get coupled with "How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves", even the most novice owner/trainer will find their task to be less like work and more like fun as you watch the dog learning faster and deeper.

Now if only we could get her to write books like this for parents and teachers.
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on December 17, 2014
My deepest appreciation and thanks for your two Gun Dog Training books. I only wish I would not have had to edit my Amazon review down to 400 characters! I've read many Gun Dog training books, and your methods are the only approach that makes perfect sense to me.
I'm getting a French Brittany female pup from a breeder in Bismarck, North Dakota this spring, and thanks to you, I now have a plan in place that I feel really good about.
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on November 4, 2011
This is the third time I have used "How to Help Gundogs Train Themselves" to expose a puppy to its first year of home and hunting and it is still working like a charm. I am having a very good season with my six month old wirehaired pointing griffon after following Joan Bailey's methods and recommend this book very highly!
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on March 9, 2016
I'm sure in 1993 this book was at the forefront of the positive approach in performance dog training, but reading it now tends to date it. There are lots of mentions to the debunked alpha mentality and the discussions of force retrieving are not my cup of tea. Operant conditioning has made great strides since this book has been published, and while it's a good read as the author has valuable experience, I would read it with caution if you a force free trainer. I enjoyed reading it nonetheless.
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on December 1, 2008
This book was one of two recommended to me by a member of the local NAVHDA chapter. Being a bird dog novice, I had contacted them for advice on how to condition my German Shorthaired Pointer for possible field work. It reads very well and makes a lot of sense, even if you are new to hunting breeds and the lingo of hunting sports. It emphasizes the importance of "conditioning" (as opposed to actual "training" which comes later) the puppy and young dog for its future job, and describes very clearly how to go about it. It also gives advice on what NOT to do to prevent having to retrain the dog later on.

Regardless of whether or not you want to hunt with your dog, I recommend this to anyone who is getting a gundog puppy. It is a lot of fun to strengthen your pup's instincts in a gentle way, and fascinating to watch your dog grow mentally before your very eyes.
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on June 6, 2010
Joan Bailey provides a great step-by-step guide for getting a new pup off to a great start--not just with hunting, but all aspects of owner/dog relationship during the critical first year. Whether you're new to having a versatile gun dog or think that you're experienced (like me) the book will help you avoid mistakes and have a great time developing your pup's potential. I found the material on house and yard conditioning to be equally valuable as the hunting advice.

I followed the book pretty closely with my two wirehaired pointing griffons, and I'm pleased with the results. I learned about the book from several breeders, who recommended it.
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on January 25, 2013
Awesome book for the forst time trainer, not the most degail oriented book ever written but sufficient enough and really helps understand more of the basic premose behind everything from picking a pup, through its first year of development. Cautions what not to do as well as giving advice on what you should do and has a rough timeline to follow as well
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on November 24, 2008
Writen for the average dog owner who would like to hunt their dog. Concise and full of easy to implement tips and strategies, this is the book for thsoe of us who don't live in wide open spaces and have untold hours to dedicate to the new pup. The title is more than just a sales pitch, the author actually tells you how to let the pup train himself for the most part. Excellent reference for the newbie.
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