Let me begin by saying that prior to this book, I was training (and I use that word very loosely) my dogs with the traditional punishment-based techniques. My dog at the time, a gentle Malamute/Siberian/Wolf mix was, as I was told, stubborn and disobedient (do you ever wish you could go back in time and kick yourself for being so stupid???). Also, because of his wolf breeding, I was told I needed to be the “alpha” or else he would become assertive over me and possibly aggressive.
I am very ashamed to admit that I began using “dominance” training techniques on him, and it wasn’t until my dog bit me on the arm when I was putting him into an “alpha roll” that I began to question what I was doing to him. The look of fear in his eyes startled me- and I began to think that there must be a better way to train my dog.
It was about this time that I came across this book, and decided to buy it on a whim. I have to admit, when I first started flipping through the pages, I thought, “not that clicker training stuff!”, but the more I read, the more sense it began to make.
At the time, I didn’t own a clicker- I didn’t even know where I could buy one- so I put the techniques to the test using the click sound from a retractable pen (kind of funny looking back on it now, I can’t imagine what others would have thought if they had watched us train with a pen 😉 ). The results were incredible- my otherwise “disobedient” Mal mix was now offering eye contact (soft, not stare-downs), sits, downs, stays, and ***oh-my-goodness*** even heeling. What’s more, he actually begged to do training, and our once fantastic bond, broken down by years of harsh training methods, was now better than it ever had been before. I was hooked -and so was he!
Now, after years of putting this book to use, I can’t imagine training my dog any other way. The Complete Idiots Guide To Positive Dog Training is my go-to book for dog training. Over the course of the years, I have read many, many others, but this is bar-none the best. It covers every aspect of dog training from basic obedience, to socialization, multi-dog and child-dog household management, and more. I have used the name recognition method detailed in this book for renaming several dogs I have adopted, and have had them responding to their new names reliably within days.
Most importantly, this book has the most understandable, broken-down explanation of learning theory that I have ever come across, which -I promise- will entirely change your view of dog training (and perhaps even human psychology).
I whole-heartedly recommend this book to all dog owners, especially new owners, or owners who have dogs with behavioral problems, as the information it contains is indispensable.
Rating: 5 stars
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About the author:
Pamela Dennison, owner of Positive Motivation Dog Training, has been training dogs since 1992. After switching methods from traditional punishment-based training methods to positive training, Pam has become an expert on working with dogs with various behavioral issues. She has written a monthly column, “The Barking Lot,” and authored Bringing Light to Shadow: A Story of Recovering an Aggressive Dog.
Dedicated to the best friend and training partner I’ve ever had – Milagros Handsome Dan (aka Dan)
-thank you for all you taught me, I only wish I had learned what I know now sooner.