Thursday, July 10, 2008

A trainers Thursday 13

I don't normally do a Thursday 13 but after reading a truely disturbing blog by another "dog trainer" I need to share some good training information. I think this is a way to do just that. Here are my 13 tops picks for must read books to help you become a better trainer of dogs. (in no specific order)
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1) Kicked, Bitten and Scratched. Life and Lessons at the Worlds Premiere Exotic Animal Training School by Amy Sutherland. A great example of why you need to know basic behavior of the animal you are training to be effective and humane.
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2) The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell PhD. An ethologist who explains why human behavior and canine behavior sometimes just doesn't mesh well and how we can work to change that for the better.
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3) How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks by Ian Dunbar. Lure reward training and the theories behind it. A great dog's point of view look at training. For all age dogs. (with great photos) A must have for anyone working with deaf dogs.
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4) The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. Positive training and canine behavior explained in great step by step detail with examples on how to train your own dog. Written specificly for clicker use but can be adapted. One of the best explainations of classical and operant conditioning I have found.
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5) Excel-erated Learning~ Explaining How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach Them by Pamela Reid PhD. I found this a tough read (and needed notes) but worth it for the information. Great examples on canine behavior with studies referenced.
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6) Dog Friendly Dog Training by Andrea Arden. Includes one of the best examples (in chart form) of how and why positive training stacks up in favor for the dog over force methods. Great artwork.
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7) Teaching Dog Obedience Classes by Jocham Volhard and Gail Fisher. A must have for anyone teaching in groups. It also has fabulous info on canine behavior relating to fear periods in puppies. Originally written for force trainers, I include it in my list because the info on setting up classes and behavior info is so excellent. (I am also not against force training persay, IF used correctly is has it's place and can be effective. Unfortunatly many trainers have no idea how to use it fairly for the dog. Thank you Mr. Millan. Another great reason to find out about and CHECK your trainers references. There is also a big difference between a training issue and a behavior issue. Not all trainers have the behavior knowledge to solve behavior problems so keep that in mind when you are asking questions of your potential trainer. Suppression of behavior isn't the same as changing the behavior or emotion of the event causing the behavior in the first place. Long term suppression can have some serious fallout including catastrophic failure.)
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8) The Dog Who Loved to Much by Dr. Nicholas Dodman. Great examples of behavior problems and solutions. Some of the pharmacology may have changed since the first release. (*Note: Medication should only be used in conjunction with a behavior modification program in place to be properly effective. It is not a quick fix.) He has a new book out that probably replaces this one but admit I haven't read it yet.
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9) Canine Body Language ~ A Photographic Guide by Brenda Aloff. A fabulous book of body postures and facial expressions used by dogs. It even includes a test you can take on the info presented.
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10) Aggression in Dogs~Practical management, Prevention and Behavior Modification by Brenda Aloff. A must for anyone working with, or living with, aggressive dogs of any kind. Very in depth.
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11) Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. I only read this recently and admit I was blown away by the information included. Even if you aren't a trainer this book has some fantastic tips on changing the environment around you though your relationships. Very interesting read and timeless.
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12) For the Love of a Dog by Patricia McConnell PhD. It sounds like it is all about emotions in dogs but it has great info on behavior included as well.
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13) The Idiots Guide to Dog Tricks by Liz Palika. I hate the title but it has great info presented in a simple style that is easy to follow. Breaks down the tricks in a step by step manner. Also includes basic obedience info. (you can't teach roll over until the dog knows down after all)
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There are many more great training books out there. It was hard to pick just 13 from the many I have read. This is just a good jumping off point for those looking for some good info for their continuing education or curiosity. I hope it helps.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Great list. I'd add Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt. That book has helped me SO MUCH.