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Dog Training For Dummies Paperback – July 2, 2010
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About the Author
Jack and Wendy Volhard are internationally recognized for their contributions to dog training, health, and nutrition. At the heart of their teaching is the "Motivational Method," a unique approach to training that is aimed at people who value dogs first and foremost as pets and companions.
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One of the things that makes this book great is that the authors are extremely practical. They understand that most people work during the day, and that many dogs are in single dog homes. They give good advise for almost all situations and circumstances. They realize that there are multiple methods of dog training, and that some dogs may require another methods of training for certain behaviors. The method they promote most is positive reinforcement, but they recognize that their way may not be the only way (though they make a compelling case for using positive reinforcement).
The book begins with dog basics such as dog psychology, nutrition, and equipment. I enjoyed this section because my friend and I are both new to dog ownership (we're both grad students who had a couple dogs growing up, but never as adults). It helped us get off on the right foot. All the common items people buy for their dogs was mentioned including the crate, quality dog food, feeding/water bowls, treats, different types of collars/leashes, chew toys, nail clippers, and a brushes. The only other item that we had to purchase after getting this book was a prong collar (we bought a herm-sprenger which is WAY better than the ones at petco).
The dog psychology section was pretty cool. It talks about how dog behavior generally fits into one of four categories: prey, pack, fight, flight (fight and flight are both a part of what the authors call defense drive). There is a test you can fill out which gives you a personality profile. Kiba (our dog) has a moderately high pack drive, medium prey and fight drive, and low flight drive. We lucked out because he is basically a "teachers pet". The chapter on dog psychology also helps me understand how to modify unwanted behavior by helping Kiba switch gears if needed.
The training sections are great. They talk about why we should teach each command and give detailed instruction on how to do it. The first exercises are sit, down, stay, and leave-it. All have been very useful when training Kiba. The instructions were great, I just wish I had followed the training instructions more closely (I recently re-read some of the training instructions and found some golden nuggets of wisdom I had missed the first time around). Then there are instructions for training the dog to walk on a loose leash and coming when called. These are what we have taught so far.
After the chapters on basic training the authors talk about curbing objectionable doggie behaviors such as chewing, barking, and jumping-up. The authors get to the root of the objectionable behaviors and discuss how to fix them. They preface the chapter by saying that some behaviors are easy to prevent and other can be more challenging.
The rest of the book talks about the AKC Canine Good Citizen test, training for competition, retrieving (the next thing we are going to teach Kiba, some dogs like labs are naturally good at it, but Kiba naturally sucks at it), dealing with aggression, professional training, senior dogs, training habits to avoid, more tricks to teach/learn and more. While I haven't really applied much that was in these last chapters yet, they made for interesting reading and I look forward to getting there soon.
In conclusion, BUY THIS BOOK!
Soon I am gaining another Pit and will read this book again and train my new dog......