Bachman Art Studio

The Classroom

Book Reviews: Dog Obedience

All dogs need basic obedience training. It's not okay for them to eat off the table, or relieve themselves on the floor. They love us unconditionally, but need to know what's expected of them.

In many states, if your dog hurts someone they take it away from you and kill it. Then they put You in jail. You won't be given a choice and your dog won't get a second chance. Protect both your dog and yourself with basic obedience training.

Recently, I decided a refresher course on dog triaining was a good idea. The books I chose are reviewed below. Good Owners, Great Dogs covers basic obedience training and is a good all around guide for the typical dog owner. Beyond Basic Dog Training, 3rd Ed. goes well beyond basic doggie manners, but contains valuable information about dog psychology and behavior.

As far as the differences in training methods discussed in these books, I preferred the methods found in Good Owners, Great Dogs. I preferred the prong collar discussed in Beyond Basic Dog Training to Woodhouse collar discussed in Good Owners, Great Dogs. Training collars of this type may not even be necessary for your dog. Always begin using the gentlest method available that the dog is capable of understanding. It may take a little more time and effort on your part, but I find the trust and loyalty returned is well worth the little extra bit of effort.

Both of these books are available in a hardcover edition. A big thank you to Wiley Publishing and the Time Warner Book Group for making the hardcover editions available.

Title: Good Owners, Great Dogs
Authors: Brian Kilcommons, Sarah Wilson
ISBN: 0-446-67538-5 (paperback)
ISBN: 0-446-51675-9 (hardback)

This is a great guide to dog ownership and basic obedience training. From puppy training to the benefits of adopting an older dog, this book covers most issues the typical dog owner may be forced to contend with. Some of the best advice I got with my first dog was "if you want to train the dog, you have to be smarter than the dog." This book will help you understand your dog's behavior, and how to be smarter than your dog.

Part 1

Discusses how to choose a dog or puppy, and some of the various training tools available. Discussion of the choke collar is included, and is a "must read" for anyone planning to use this method of correction.

Part 2

Reveals the first year of puppyhood, what owners should expect, and how to puppy-proof your home (think toddler).

Part 3

Contains information pertaining to the adult dog, and continuing your puppy's education into adulthood.

Part 4

This is a laundry list of some of the most common offending behaviors: why they happen, and how to correct them.

Although I'm not new to dog ownership, it's been a very long time between puppies. Insights to problematic dog behavior and the reasons behind it are discussed in laymans terms, and it's usually not the dog, folks.

Title: Beyond Basic Dog Training, 3rd Ed.
Author: Diane L. Bauman
ISBN: 0-7645-4164-1 (hardback)

This book expands on basic obedience training to complicated challenges for the dog. Learn how to teach your dog to think about the obstacles he faces and how to manuver through them successfully. Repetition is fine for basic obedience training, but if you have a smart dog, you know that it's the smart ones that are always getting into something. This book will help the owner of both the over-active, or very intelligent dog stay out of trouble. Many behavoir problems will almost correct themselves if the dog isn't bored. The exercises in this book will keep both dog and owner physically and mentally fit.

I especially liked the author's opinion about right vs. wrong results, and proofing the exercise. I learned more about why dogs respond the way they do, and how to correct my methods and not induce a problem into training.

Training exercises increase in difficulty for the dog, and build on the tasks successfully completed. There is a lengthy discussion on training aids, and includes a comparison of the prong collar vs. the choke collar. Trianing goals are clearly explained followed by the author's preferred teaching method. Distractions are introduced, and problem behavior is addressed.

If this sounds like more training than the average dog owner needs- it is. The book was written for competition dog obedience training, but much of the information is applicable to basic obedience training as well. This is excellent supplemental reading, but is well beyond basic obedience training needed for most house pets. For owner's of the over-active, super-smart, or otherwise extraordinary dog, get this book. Busy dogs are happy dogs. Keep them busy with something fun for both of you!

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