The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training, 2nd Edition

Product Description
Spare the punishment and raise a happy, well-behaved

The Complete 's to Dog Training, Second Edition, replaces the standard punishment-based training methods that have potential consequences for puppies and limited effectiveness with older . This guide demonstrates positive training methods, based on a system of rewards and encouragement, to teach basic commands and housetraining, and correct a host of problem behaviors. Readers will also learn loose-leash walking games and how to train for the American Kennel Club's increasingly popular Canine Good .

• Dog owners number more than 40 million in the United States, and more and more of them are giving up on punitive training methods
• One of the few dog training books that exclusively adheres to positive training methods

  • ISBN13: 9781592574834
  • Condition: USED – VERY GOOD
  • Notes:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training, 2nd Edition

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    • CA
    • March 22, 2010

    I think positive training methods can be used for all breeds of dogs but I think the author has trouble presenting her book that way. She presents the info as if you own a herding dog and then adds on some quick line about what to do if your dog is resistant. She doesn’t acknowledge enough that different breeds truly have different issues. It doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome these issues, but they are real. I didn’t have to do training to prevent my hounds from barking and going crazy at the front door. They just don’t do it. I have 3 and none of them has ever done this. My dogs don’t nip. However, they will do anything to steal food and they don’t want to walk next to me if there is an interesting smell (which apparently is always). These are the issues that are tough for me.

    Anyway, if you have a herding dog, I would imagine that this is a great book, but I felt like she didn’t do a good job of making the book more general. I called my friend who owns a Sheltie and recommended it to her.

    For positive training books, I prefered Clicking with Your Dog by Peggy Tillman. I felt like she presents the info for all dog owners.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  1. I agree with many of the points that the author makes and the training techniques for things like come, sit, stay make sense to me. However, we only get to those late in the text. Much of the text is spent repeatedly stating that use of ANY negative response to a dog is wrong. The author equates beating your dog and saying no to your dog. Over and over she presents an either/or reasoning fallacy (either you are training your dog with positive methods or you are beating/abusing him). In nature, dogs use both negative and positive responses to each other to socialize (this is true for pretty much all animals, including humans). Are we supposed to, then, just ignore that possibility? It is one thing to ignore the dog not sitting properly, and reward him when he does. It is another thing to attempt to ignore the dog when he is biting your child (and then should you give him a treat every time he does NOT bite your child?). I wanted to like this book, but, I didn’t. I think a more balanced approach is called for.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  2. I had a great experience. The book was sent in a very appropriate manner.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  3. This is a comprehensive, well-written, well-organized book on the methods that come under the banner of “positive training,” and are loosely based on B. F. Skinner’s experiments with rats and pigeons, locked inside boxes. If you want to learn these techniques you can’t find a better, more thorough manual than what Pam Dennison has written.

    So why only three stars? The way I see it, just because you CALL a method positive doesn’t make it so. (The Monks of New Skete call their methods “compassionate” even though they recommend hitting a dog, and even tell you that if she doesn’t yelp in pain you haven’t hit her hard enough!)

    So let’s look at a “positive” technique for teaching a puppy not to jump up. (This method isn’t specifically given in Dennison’s book, it’s just illustrative of the kind of fuzzy thinking going on right now about what is and isn’t positive training.)

    The trainer puts the pup on a six-foot leash, ties the leash, then she approaches him in a manner that will induce him to want to jump up. If he tries, he gets two punishments, one from a self-correction on the leash, the second from the trainer, who turns her back on him and says, “Too bad,” then walks away, leaving the pup feeling frustrated and lonesome. This is done over and over until the puppy, terribly confused, and not knowing what else to do, sits, hoping to avoid both negative experiences. Then the trainer praises the puppy and gives him a cookie. The little guy wags his tail happily but still has no idea that the reason he got both the cookie and the contact he so badly desired from the trainer was because he didn’t jump up on her (a dog can’t learn a negative), so the trainer has to do this over and over until the puppy finally gives up on this natural social reflex that also holds the key to teaching the heel, the recall, and even a focused sit. (“Too bad.”)

    That said, I certainly don’t believe dogs should be allowed to jump up on people. But I DO think they should be TRAINED to jump up on command, and then taught to channel or redirect the energy of that positive social reflex into other behaviors. They should also learn that they can jump up ONLY when the command is given first.

    A behaviorist would say, “Oh, well, that’s all conditioning too.”

    Fine, if you say so. But dogs learn better and retain the lessons longer when their hunting instincts are stimulated. They’re group predators by nature, which is why most of us have bins or baskets full of Frisbees, tennis balls, and tug toys. In fact, when dogs are in a highly playful mood, they can learn some behaviors just once and the lesson never has to be repeated for the rest of the dog’s life. Is that information in THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE? Not exactly. Dennison DOES laud play as a “positive reinforcer” but has nothing to say about the fact that it can be used to teach a lesson just once, so that the dog never forgets it, because that goes against the “laws” of behavioral “science” (even though it’s how animals learn all the time). And I can guarantee you that it’s a far more natural and positive way for that funny, furry rascal of yours to learn ANYTHING than it is by turning your back on him and saying, “Too bad.”

    So why did I give this book any stars at all? Because there are a lot of people intent on learning “positive training” techniques, and of all the handbooks I’ve read on the subject this is the most detailed, the easiest to understand, and the most fun to read. There’s a lot of behavioral science hogwash, of course, with all the usual +R “talking points” (dogs are only in it for themselves, eg., which is true to some extent of ALL species, but is least true about the dog). But that sort of thing is to be expected. If you want to learn these techniques it would be hard to find a better book than this one, just don’t think that what you’ll be learning is going to turn out to be all that positive or all that effective.
    Rating: 3 / 5

    • kate
    • March 22, 2010

    In my entire life, this is the only book that I’ve ever returned for a refund.

    In fairness, it’s probably a good book if you’re into clicking and pretending that you’re a dog by mirroring its body langauge. Not me, thanks. I’ll stick to being “Leader of the Pack”.

    If you want something more sensible, but still kind and gentle, buy Barbara Woodhouse, the “Walkies” lady.

    Rating: 1 / 5

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