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The Midnight Dog Walkers: Positive Training and Practical Advice for Living With Reactive and Aggressive Dogs Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
WHAT IS THE MIDNIGHT DOG WALKERS' CLUB?
If you have a reactive or aggressive dog, and you find yourself walking him in the middle of the night or at the break of dawn to avoid meeting other people and dogs, you are already a member of this exclusive club to which nobody wants to belong. In The Midnight Dog Walkers, professional force-free trainer Annie Phenix addresses the often-taboo topics of reactivity and aggression in canines, speaking to owners honestly and candidly from the vantage point of her own experiences, successes, and even heartbreaks. Using reward-centered, scientifically based techniques with a focus on the all-important human–canine bond, Phenix introduces owners to training methods to help their dogs recover from fear, anxiety, and aggression in collaboration with a professional trainer or behaviorist.
Inside The Midnight Dog Walkers:
- The stories of real Midnight Dog Walkers, detailing the extreme measures they take to manage their dogs' behavior around others·
- The author's experiences with her own aggressive and fearful dogs·
- The importance of good breeding and proper socialization in forming a dog's adult personality and temperament·
- Why punishment-based training worsens a dog's behavior and destroys the human–canine bond·
- The history of positive reinforcement and the qualities of a good dog trainer·
- Creating open communication and cooperation between owners, trainers, and veterinarians·
- Phenix's training program and plans for managing and rehabilitating a reactive or aggressive dog
Praise for The Midnight Dog Walkers
Annie Phenix is an engaging writer whose compassion for dogs and the people who choose to help them shines through in this book. She makes a compelling case for the elimination of the use of force, fear, and pain in training for not only these vulnerable fearful and reactive dogs, but for all dogs. She provides an honest perspective on what it’s like to be a card-carrying member of the Midnight Dog Walkers’ Club and what others should know when they seek training help for their dogs. Lucky ones may even end up with Annie.”
Debbie Jacobs, CPDT-KA, CAP2
I’m thrilled to be reading an early copy of Annie Phenix's book on reactive dogs, where almost immediately I found this amazing (and so very true) quote: ...in order to change another species' behavior, we must first change our own.’”
"The Midnight Dog Walkers is not just another book about dogs. The title grabbed my attention being a dog trainer, I instantly realized what she meant. This book reaches out to those dog owners who have to live with dogs who express themselves through aggressive behavior, but it does so in a unique and so very touching way, with compassionate, practical, and sound advice on how to deal with such behavior. Annie [also] goes beyond this in reaching to all dog owners in helping them understand what others are going through and how all of us can help each other and, ultimately, our beloved dogs.”
Claudia Estanislau, DTBC, CASI
"A very enjoyable read. Ms. Phenix is an excellent storyteller as well as someone who has been there herself and can empathize with her readers. With solid, easy-to-follow training advice, backed by expert veterinary behaviorists and fellow trainers who specialize in working with reactive dogs, Ms. Phenix will give you hope and practical training toolsand even some smiles along the way."
Leslie McDevitt MLA CPDT-KA, CDBC
- File size : 17849 KB
- Publication date : March 29, 2016
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 224 pages
- Publisher : CompanionHouse Books (March 29, 2016)
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B01CSWPE2Q
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #486,000 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Phenix explains what it means for a dog to be above threshold and how to use counter-conditioning to unring that bell. She also debunks the myth that walking a dog more will solve the problem. Not true when those uncontrollable triggers encountered on walks push the dog over threshold. She compares it to trying to overcome a fear of black widow spiders. What if, just as you were getting used to seeing a spider at 10 feet away, someone dangled one in your face? Suddenly, 10 feet away doesn't feel safe anymore.
Phenix offers alternative ways to stimulate your dog's mind without increasing reactivity. These include nosework games and puzzles.
This book makes me cry, I relate to it so much. When my dog kept getting worse on the leash, and then when she bit someone, I felt very much alone. I felt like no one understood what I was going through, and I didn't understand what was wrong with my dog. I'm so glad that other dog owners struggling with the same thing will have this as a resource.
I love this author's viewpoint about dog ownership being a commitment, her willingness to share her life story, and also that she is willing to dedicate her life to helping dogs that so many just dump at the pound. I agree with her about clicker training and I've been following closely the first steps for healing and training for my dog. It's too early to say if my dog will ever be able to go out in public and act normally. But with this easy to read book with its great stories, easy instructions, beautiful pictures, I feel dedicated and empowered to try. I am grateful that the author wrote this book and can help save dogs lives that she doesn't even know, including my own loved Shiba.
The book has great practical information for choosing a breeder, desensitization and counter conditioning protocol, counter conditioning specifically to doorbells, and entertaining/exercising your dog in ways other than taking her for a walk. I loved the suggestions of teaching nose work games, having a "Sniff-a-Thon," and using food puzzles. These are great ways to enrich the quality of a dog's life and increase the human-canine bond.
The book reads like a lengthy meandering blog post, so blog readers especially may find it fun. The first 99 pages are nearly autobiographical with frequent anecdotal stories that highlight the challenges dogs and their owners face along with the formal and informal credentials of the author. Stories and points are non-linear, not concise, and often repetitive. The next 100+ pages focus more on providing solutions, but they too are not always linear. For example, Connectivity is talked about on page 139, but no instructions for developing a connection between owner and dog are given until the section called "On Leash Training" more than 30 pages later. There are often nonlinear tangents of great information, like covering how we bore our dogs today under the heading of "Canine Body Language."
During the detailed instruction on desensitizing and counter conditioning to the presence of other dogs, the author states that the dog's owner should "ignore barking, lunging, or freaking out from your dog" while continuing to rain chicken from the sky. I thought that the training setup was great and loved that the book was giving some practical advice to modify behavior. However, if the dog is "barking, lunging, or freaking out," the dog is over threshold, and systematic desensitization is not being executed. If the chicken is of high enough value to the dog, the counter conditioning element alone may still work, but there is risk of poisoning the chicken as a reinforcer at worst and being significantly less efficient in modifying behavior at best. It would be better advice (as is given elsewhere in the book) to create more distance between the two dogs to keep the reactive dog under threshold.
The last two paragraphs under the heading of "Empathy" were spot on and should be read by all dog trainers and owners. Really, this is the perspective from which living with or training any dog should stem.
I liked the honesty of the section regarding medicating dogs for pathological and/or neurological issues, recognizing that sometimes training/behavioral modification alone is not sufficient (or that medication alone is not often sufficient either). When problems start in the brain, the brain needs to be treated, and this sometimes requires medication. I also appreciated that Ms. Phenix got her veterinary advice from veterinary behaviorists well known in the industry, listing them as both a resource to readers and giving credit for the information where it was due.
In general, I thought this was a good book, but I was clearly not the intended audience. I would have preferred more practical advice, less self-promotion, and fewer anecdotes and lists of all the challenges dogs and people face. I read this hoping for well laid out solutions to offer clients (which I think make up about 20% of this book), but I found a book that I believe many will consider empathetic to the plight of its readers. This is not a bad thing and may be exactly what many people need--a book to affirm their struggles. I would have preferred something that focused a bit more on training strategies.