- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books (September 18, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401309259
- ISBN-13: 978-1401309251
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Divine Canine: The Monks' Way to a Happy, Obedient Dog Paperback – September 18, 2007
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About the Author
The Monks of New Skete have been breeding, raising, and training dogs for more than thirty-five years on their monastery in Cambridge, New York. They have become the pre-eminent authorities on the most productive ways to achieve that which every dog owner desires--a companion who can enrich one's life.
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Top Customer Reviews
"We're using the RCMP method," advised an old friend with a puppy the same age and a copy of an aged dog-training manual used by the Mounties. "Grab the muzzle and hold it shut if they bite."
"Have you heard of 'How to be your Dog's Best Friend' by these famous monks in New York state?' asked a brand new dog walking acquaintance. "They are really against paper training."
From monks to Mounties, the choices were mind-boggling. And even if the Mounties were looking all around less credible, thanks to their problematic handling of humans, the monks' line about being your dog's best friend didn't really appeal to me either. As a parent, I've never wanted to be a human child's best friend let alone a dog's. It all sounded just a little too new agey for me.
In the end I threw my hat in with the adorable Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan and his holy trilogy of exercise, discipline, affection.
Alas, Cesar, who has apparently since remedied the problem with his latest book, didn't provide much in the way of concrete advice to go along with all the inspiration, which is how I came to find myself just over a year later with a dog who still won't come when I call and who retains her penchant for biting people's feet in an effort to get them to play.
What with the Mounties in the headlines again, this time for tazering people, and the monks putting out a new book -- Divine Canine, which also has a companion TV show -- the moment seemed right to give the brothers of New Skete a try.
Well, I am indeed very glad I did. Divine Canine is one of those books that fill you with the power of possibility, the dog book equivalent of listening to the theme from Rocky or Chariots of Fire. "Yes, yes, yes," I say to myself as I read, "I can do that." I can do what Brother Christopher, the trainer featured throughout the book, does because, unlike Cesar Millan, he is telling me exactly how to do it. In fact, Brother Christopher even has photos. I am truly, divinely inspired.
In fact, I am so inspired I put Brother Christopher's techniques to use almost immediately. Next time we are at the park and Bridget starts biting another dog walker's feet, instead of ineffectually pulling her away and screaming, "No foot," I calmly take her aside and look into her eyes as I say "No foot" in a firm, non-screaming way. Progress has already been made thanks to the Monks' emphasis on the importance of eye contact.
Now, maybe this is un-Monk-like to admit, but I am inspired not only by my own dreams of a delightfully obedient dog but also by the schadenfreudeliciously horrible behaviour of some of the other dogs featured in Divine Canine. These dogs, all adults, are way, way worse behaved than my Bridget. In fact, one of them, Chico, is so bad, he even causes the ever patient Brother Christopher to question himself and his dog training techniques.
In the end, however, both trainer and dog rally for a happy ending. Chico learns the five commands the monks feel all dogs must master: heel, sit, down, stay and come. And thanks to the <span style="font-style: italic;">Divine Canine</span>'s recipe of inspiration, concrete tips, and perspiration, I swear that Bridget is going to follow in his footsteps and learn them too. (Stay tuned for further developments which will be covered here)
In the mean time, the Scottish Terrier and Dog News highly recommends this attractive book to anyone whose adult dog hasn't yet mastered the five basic commands. We'll most definitely be passing a copy along to the friend who used the Mounties' method. Turns out his dog could still use a few tips.
It is good reading, but should not be purchased as a training manual. It has nuggets of great information in dealing with particular problems.
Case Studies Provided by Breed & Temperament: This book is well designed in that the authors provide case studies of different breeds and temperaments of dogs. All the dogs in the case studies are older and most have behavioral problems. Some of the breed outlined are: Bull Terrier, English Bull Dog, King Charles Spaniel, and Labrador Mix. If you have a bull dog or terrier, this book provides extensive examples how to deal with these independent and more stubborn breeds such as using more treats to motivate and giving them more play time before training to keep their interest.
Details Photographs Show the Commands: The training programs show detailed step-by-step photographs of how to perform the commands. Each case study is broken down in sections that make the process easy to follow. The photos show in detail how to teach a dog to "Stay" and "Heel" which are two commands that I did not thoroughly understand how to train until I read this book.
Specific Behavior Issues Addressed: There is also a section to address specific behavior problems as well. What I love best about this book is it discusses how the basic training program can be tailored to dogs depending on their behavior and temperament. The authors give thorough and specific examples of how to deal with temperaments such as dominant, apathetic, stubborn and high energy to behaviors such as unresponsiveness to commands, jumping up on guests and aggression to name a few.
Best Tips I Got from This Book: One of the best tips I got from the book, was to keep a young unresponsive dog (my Mini Bull Terrier) on the leash in the house, until she was fully responsive to all verbal commands. It has worked as now she is off the leash in the house and not nipping at my children which was her most offensive behavior before I started this program. The suggestion of using a 30 foot long lead to train for the "Come" and "Retrieve" commands has been extremely valuable to me. Beginning the training in an area that does not have distractions for the dog was also been a great tip.
I highly recommend this for people who want to obtain a better relationship with their canine companions and to gain control of their household again from an unruly adult dog.