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Fired Up, Frantic and Freaked Out by Laura Vanarendonk Baugh
So I just finished reading this book and I wanted to know if others had and what their opinions were. This is a book that is designed to work with the reactive/fearful/shy/aggressive dog type. I read it because I was worried that my dog was heading down that path. After reading that book, I realized that he wasn't---which was very relieving.
I found this book to be of mixed use. I really dislike the idea of the mat as a crutch, and feel like the same thing could be accomplished by teaching an auto sit/down and presenting stimuli with the dog choosing similar behaviors. Mostly, it is a visual cue but it is a very cumbersome one. Going on walks and such, you already have so much to carry (treats, clicker, leash, sometimes an umbrella, and in our case a water bottle to clean up messes outside of peoples yards. Japan)
The general concepts were very interesting and right on with what I have learned about cognitive processes in teaching. Giving the dog something to think about is a good way to handle a situation, teaching them to assess on their own is also a good thing to do. I just feel like other ways are more viable. I may be too much a fan of kikopup who does a similar training process without the crutch of a mat.
But for some people, I think this works well. It gives the person something to hold on to, and becomes just as much a security blanket for the owner as the dog. This can be a good thing since dogs pick up our emotional state. the more stressed we are, the more stressed they become. So I can see how this technique would be useful for some people and dogs, and not others. I would still recommend this book because of that. The book isn't bad, nor is it badly written--very clear, straightforward and easy to follow. It just isn't in sink with my style. And as I have said in another thread, the method of training should mesh with the trainer. If it doesn't, there is a huge disconnect between the trainer and the learner.
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