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Best dog training books
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Post edited by curlytails at 2012-05-28 13:43:46
  • ljowen123ljowen123
    Posts: 3105
    Post edited by ljowen123 at 2010-06-19 10:31:02
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Ok here are two more to add to the repertoire.....the thread is closed on the link above so I am posting it here.

    These two newer resources are more on the theory behind the training etc etc but has some important concepts and terms that one hears batted about in clicker and traditional training circles. Also discussed are misinterpretations and crossing over in training methods.

    "Reaching the Animal Mind" by Karen Pryor
    "Learning Theory 101" by Kathy Sdao ( comes in DVD)

    Happy reading...It always helps to know how theory and action come together when you actually work through training hands on.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-06-24 14:30:58
  • I'm a new puppy owner and I picked out this great book from the library called Dog Obedience by Ross Alan. It's a big book with big letters and pictures. I'm enjoying this book because the training suggests good and special bonding with the dog.. Training without treats not to make them glutons. This book gave me a good vibe and will finish it for sure. Thanks for staring this threat. I am also a big fan of the dog whisperer.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    It is good to start off with one mind set and then move off to take a greater view in training through some other sources outside of the two individuals that are your favorites.

    As far as Ross Allan.....he is from an old school epistemology of training that is pretty dated. There have been so many developments since his 1960's and 70s genre. I would look at the other links for updated information. Some things Allan writes may apply in general terms but choke chain and leash snaps are often counter productive with Shibas and the sptizies. He also seems to be very much into police work which most often has an old school approach as well. At least in his book it does.

    Expand your horizons for some more recent developments, you probably will get further faster where you want to be with your dog in terms of relationship building.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-08-19 13:50:16
  • Hi StaticNfuzz, i'm going to a puppy class right now and the trainer discourages treats so I would like to continue w/ this.
    Do you know any great books to read?
  • What is your trainers reasoning against treats?
  • Hello there Jessica. He said that the dog will only be obeying because of the treat. It is ok to give a treat, but not every single time he obeys. We have been petting the chest more to show some praise.. I personally praise and say "good girl" and chest petting. The dog should obey us because they want to please us, not just because we have a treat. I am personally very happy with this school although it takes longer. On our 1st reunion they showed us 10 dogs from previous classes following commands without treats so I keep that in mind and that inspires me a lot.

    I'm a first time dog owner and I know that my 15 week old shiba was stubborn when I asked her to sit when on leash, so I used little blocks of cheese and now she looks at my hand. But that's the only way I got her to sit w/ leash on. I know there is a lot of controversy out there about treats.

    Hopefully I will find the right balance. Now i'm looking for an awesome book!
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-15 07:06:10
  • The flaw I see in that logic is a misunderstanding in the purpose of the treat. The treat isn't there forever. It is there in the early stages of teaching the dog what you want. My hesitation is most trainers opposed to treats train use corrections and punishments. It is very old fashioned and inefficient to only show dogs what they are doing wrong. If you train a dog properly treats only speed up the learning process and teach the dog a reason to want to listen to you. Praise is great. Once the dog is bonded to you. However when establishing a bond (especially with a puppy) treat make the process a lot easier. The dog sees you as the source of all things good.
    I love when people say "my dog should want to work for me". It's absurd. We work at our jobs for rewards like money, praise doesn't cut it. All relationships are conditional. And frankly there is a certain level of arrogance on the humans part to think that we are so special that our approval is reason enough for a dog to obey our every whim.
    Praise also works better with less independent breeds like labs and shepherds. You shiba may love you but likely could care less about pleasing you. It is why must of us who have worked with shibas stick pretty close if not exclusively to positive reinforcement based philosophies.

    Now I am not saying your trainer is bad (at all) you have made no mention of corrections, punishments, or other aversive methods (leash snaps, alpha rolling, pron or choke collars etc,). So hopefully that means he isn't teaching that (if he is, RUN.) But consider looking at some of the books I or shibamistress or staticnfuzz have mentioned . Books by people like Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Patricia McConnell, Karen Pryor, Temple Grandin. They the people who really are at the forefront of animal behavior and training. And are really the authors by which the standard is set.
    My life is dogs. My family raised police dogs. I have worked with dogs in some capacity all of my life and used non-treat methods originally. Then science and my dogs proved there were better easier ways. Honestly it was my shiba who was so traumatized by punishment based methods like yelling and leash corrections that led me to positive methods. I had to learn the wrong way to understand why the right way is in fact right.

    Best of luck. You are very brave to chose a shiba as your first dog. I had one (and only one). And while I loved him very much. He was BY FAR the most difficult dog I have ever know. My pit bulls, shepherds, rotties and akitas have all been thousands of times easier than my singe 25lb shiba ever was.
    Post edited by JessicaRabbit at 2010-09-15 11:52:47
  • The flaw I see in that logic is a misunderstanding in the purpose of the treat. The treat isn't there forever. It is there in the early stages of teaching the dog what you want. My hesitation is most trainers opposed to treats train using corrections. It is very old fashioned and inefficient to only show dogs what they are doing wrong. If you train a dog properly treats only speed up the learning process and teach the dog a reason to want to listen to you. Praise is great. However it works better with less independent breeds like labs and shepherds. You shiba may love you but likely could give a rats ass about pleasing you. It is why must of us who have worked with shibas stick pretty close to positive reinforcement based philosophies.
    Now I am not saying your trainer is bad (at all) you have made no mention of corrections, punishments, or other averssive methods. But consider looking at some of the books I or shibamistress or staticnfuzz have mentioned. My life is dogs. My family raised police dogs. I have worked in shelters for 20+ years and used non-treat methods originally. Then science proved there were better easier ways. Best of luck. You are very brave to chose a shiba as your first dog. I had one. And while I loved him very much. He was BY FAR the most difficult dog I have ever know.
  • kwyldkwyld
    Posts: 506
    Hey Hachi, I found a great article explaining why rewarding with food is so important for dogs. Check it out and let me know what you think :)
  • Great article Kelly!
  • Post edited by JessicaRabbit at 2010-09-15 19:26:36
  • Oooo a treat debate. Based on experience with Kai I will say that I think someone should teach the proper use of treats before you start attempting to train with treats.

    Kai has gotten very treat dependent I think. And his taste in treats has gotten progressively worse. At first we tried kibble. But that was only good for 1-4 rewards before he started turning his nose up at them. Next was cheese stuffed hotdogs. And he loves those so much that even after training for a half hour or more, he want to keep earning more hotdog bits. Even trying everything he can to coerce use into giving more treats (needle teeth on clothes / legs, Shiba 500 till collaspe). Now he's getting Stella & Chewies on special occasions (strangers, going to bed, attention working while walking). But the Stella & Chewies are so distracting it takes almost a nuclear weapon to release him from sitting, waiting for another treat.

    In our ignorance, we've pretty pooched his treat / reward system. And both of us are too inconsistent for clicker training outside intended training sessions (I've missed a billion shaping opportunities with him easily). There's a finer art to using treats than shoving meat down his throat, as some people seem to insist.

    So anyone know the exact technique for using the Jedi Mind Trick on puppies? Trying to figure out how to reset Kai back to default :-p
  • The article Kelly posted is a perfect example of proper usage of treats. The main thing is correction based training can ruin a dog. Positive training will at it's worst spoil a dog and that is easily remedied by training the owner...

    It is one of the reasons I shudder whenever a first time dog owner tells me they don't intend to bring their dog to classes. So many very well intentioned people make some epic mistakes. Taking way to seriously trivial things such as who is walking in front, and not paying enough attention to important things like fear responses.

    I have mentioned this book multiple times (probably multiple times in this thread) but the Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson tends to be an eye opening read for many owners.

    A girlfriend of mine actually just emailed me yesterday. When we first met she was bringing her rescued schipperke to a trainer who opposed the use of treats. Her dog was becoming increasingly more anxious and she didn't know what to do. I loaned her that book and suggest she contact a training program that I love. She emailed me yesterday to tell me that her dog is so much happier and for the first time ever walking on a loose leash! We think she was pulling so much because she was trying to get AWAY from her owner. :( Positive methods work.
  • emmyemmy
    Posts: 553
    When I first got my rescue I gave him so many treats he didn't want to eat much food. And the vet said that was completely okay and even expected when you first bring a dog into the house and start training. I will say my dog would not do treats for kibble unless he was STARVING.

    Now that we have spent just a few months bonding, he will do tricks for praise only. Of course I still use treats, but he eats way fewer treats than he did when I first got him.

    One treating recommendation I have is not to use treats that are the sizes they sell at the store---buy them and cut them up. I treat my shiba with slivers of treats and he behaves just as well as he does when I give him the whole thing. Buying tiny training treats is pricey, so cutting up the big ones into lots of tiny tiny pieces has been a lot cheaper and also means I'm not filling him up with less nutritious treats in place of more nutritious meals. Just an idea to address the concern about gluttonous pups.
  • JessicaRabbit. Yes that's what he meant. As long as we use the treat the right way. We are not using the treats in the class though.. You know what though? It's 2nd class day now and all the puppies are sitting, staying & following.. This week is stay. It's not all roses, but it's going good. My puppy was sitting, but not when she was wearing the leash lol so the small blocks of cheese did help.. Yesterday a nice lady was saying how smart the shibas are and I replied " smart, but stubborn.. Let me show you" so I asked Hachi to sit next to me when on leash and the girly sits like a lightbulb:) I was even amazed lol. We have not learned punishment at all, and don't need to use it.. However before I started puppy class my puppy was starting to bark at other dogs... I watch Cesar and If it works why not use it. I'm aware that his practices need to be used when a professional trainer is around. Well she was getting dominant with other dogs and I really didn't want her to continue or establish this behavior so I started pulling the leash slightly upwards and then let the leash lose and saying no chhhh and lo and behold my dog does not bark at other dogs anymore.. Her puppy dominant barks were very cute, but they wont be cute when she gets bigger. She's now more friendly and playful on the 1st meet so I no longer need to pull the leash upward. Now the nibbling is going slow, but we are getting there. And when she's being naughty I used the "no" word... I really don't want to punish my dog, and be afraid of me.. At the moment she has a very good trusting relationship with my husband and I.. We even let her walk with no leash in dog parks as she just follows us and wont even go far.. I see her constantly looking for us:).. Yesterday she got distracted when a man and his dog were passing and she ran after them lol.. But as soon as we called her she came right back. I will continue to use treats and praise, for the right reasons to let her know that she's doing the behavior that I want. I know that we can even correct behavior with treats... Have seen some awesome vids on youtube.
    Will definitely read some of your recommendations..

    Brada: As for the puppy class I don't go specifically for socialization reasons as we only have one hour and we get right to work learning and practicing the commands. If I want her to socialize then I would need to bring her half an hr early lol. But for that I go to doggy parks twice a day rain or sunshine. :) The last couple of Sundays we have been going to another park where many real dog lovers go. Sometimes at the dogpark close to me I see grumpy peeps walking in the morning lol. I just let my Hachi go play and she's doing awesome.. Have met some awesome people who give me tips. Last time there was a lady with 5 dogs walking loose.. She adopts the unwanted dogs! And here I was with my dog on leash.. She just told me to take off the leash and let her play so I did!! At first I was thinking You have nooooo idea about Shibas lady..That was after I had read on the internet w/ big red letters to never let a shiba loose.. I even have a map now from the internet where it shows all the green areas where you can get your dog off leash.

    Kwyld thanks for your article! Great!! :)

    Emmy love your tips about cutting them in half.. Will do that. At the moment Hachi wont eat those treats. For now I give her tiny cheese blocks and ham blocks.. I live in Holland so people are crazy about cheese here lol.

    I did have some epiphanies concerning the treats. :) Thanks guys!!!
    For now I will continue with this puppy class as this trainer man has a lot of experience.. Have learned so much from him already and when he corrects me. The dogs are fine.. It's just that WE humans need the training hehehe. He does it with a lot of shiba knowledge and experience. :) Plus I admire his trained doggies:)
    I picked this class based on the good reviews so when I learned about the no treats during class a bit too late.. I am paying 50 euros for the 12 lessons so I can easily stop and look for another school. It feels right at the mo.. We will see later.
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-16 09:32:29
  • Here is the latest pic of my now 15 weeks old Hachi girly.. And sorry I interrupted this topic.. It was originally about books and now it's about treats:)

    And a pic of us together.. It's kinda cool to see who is behind the comment/computer lol.
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-16 09:29:36
  • Ha, I've seen that look on Kai: "As soon as my paws touch ground and she lets go, that leaf is DEAD!"
  • Kai you are right! She was watching a dog pass my LMAO and was veeeeeeeery curious
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-16 09:17:14
    A compilation of some of the most respected trainers, behaviorists, and veterinarians take on his methods.
    Post edited by JessicaRabbit at 2010-09-16 12:16:55
  • Hachi if you can fit in puppy socialization before and after it really is important for pups to interact with dogs the same age as yours (i.e. peer to peer play) . I would not rely fully on a dog park since that can be iffy at best with other dogs that are adult while yours is a pup.

    As far as books on traditional methods, I crossed over a long time ago to clicker work. (see Brads video on the Nihon Ken side). You can do this too, even after your training class is over. Too bad you could not find a clicker class to start.

    Ok, The closest thing I would consider in the traditional realm is the newer Monks of New Skete book "art of raising puppy", 1991 or after. It gives some decent info on the developmental stages. However, I know there is a list here on the forum that is just as useful. I do not use choke or leash corrections so I do not ascribe to their plan for the most part. In my opinion it seems counter productive to begin to attempt full obedience training for young pups. Relationship building, tricks and focus work (yes by using treats, heaven forbid) is way more important for a long long time and builds for success when the dog is mentally ready for higher level work. Until mentally ready a dog will take much longer to connect the dots in cognitive thinking. Early on with traditional training may appear successful and a dog may comply. However, later they may change their tune in maturity without addition of positive motivational methods. Over time I have come to find that relationship building seems to be of greater value down the road. Trainers know what the know and develop their methods that they are most comfortable with. Unfortunately sometimes this may not be in the best interest of your own dog's needs or character.

    See the info Jessica posted.

    Good luck with your work....try to be gentle as possible given your instructor is a traditional trainer.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-09-17 01:01:46
  • Last time Hachi was hanging out with a puppy exactly her own age.. Well this male puppy was trying to hump her all day and play aggressive like bitting her tail. It's not always roses. I think I will come a bit earlier to the class. While we wait she can play w/ the other pups.

    That was actually my question that I could not find.. When do we start the obedience? All I read was the sooner the better. But in the class they are being gentle and it's not reallyyyy full obedience. It's not like we are whipping the dogs lol. Just teaching the basics. I am putting "relationship building" on top of my list. Thanks SnF. I really appreciate your advice. It's good to know that they might change their tune down the road.

    Now about the Cesar Millan link... I had been watching that show for a year even though I didn't have a dog. My husband did not want a dog, because it was too much responsibility. Well one day after watching his show I heard my hubby say that he wanted a dog.. So it's really thanks to Mr. Cesar Millan we are giving our 100% to Hachi. I have owned a shiba inu puppy back in 2001 so she stole my heart. I had to give her up at about 7 months do to personal circumstances so that's why I call myself first time owner. I feel I have the right mindset that this dog is here to stay for the better or for worse. I still miss her and think of her. I now live in Holland and don't have contact with the new owners. If I look back there is a huge huge difference in how I disciplined my pup then and now. I would let her do whatever she pleased and my carpet reeked. I also took the time to read two of his books and those corrections need to be done with the right mind and energy. I'm really open minded more than you think so I'm also ready to read other things and try different methods. Nothing really change my mind at the moment concerning Mr Millan, because he has already gained my respect. It's silly that they are saying he's abusing the animals as I have seen him do wonders. He works with redzone dogs so people should not be really trying these things at home. What I have implemented is the importance of exercise, when entering we ignore the pup so she wont get all excited. When she has calmed down that's when she gets our love and full attention not when she's hyper. When she is getting her meals she is sitting patiently. I'm sure many others do this, but I first learned it from him.. Or when she does unwanted behavior like playing rough w/ the cat, barking and being dominant towards other dogs we use calm assertive energy.. Or when on leash she's not walking me, but she's walking next to me most of the time.. Things like that.. What's wrong with that? Anyway It's always double on the net. I know I should not believe eeeeeeverything he says. I will try what works for me and my dog otherwise I will go nuts with everybody's different opinions lol. I really appreciate your help and that you let me see the other side of things.
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-17 07:41:57
  • P.S I'm seriously thinking about going to two different puppy classes just like what Sercle did (Stella's dad), but my hubby is not tooooo busy like me reading around. So he doesn't like the idea that much.. He grew up with the dog where the dog NEVER had a leash in his life. That was very common in his neighborhood and everything was alright. The dog never went to a dog school and he behaved pretty well lol.. Hmmm! Anyway going to the library today and will pick up a good book. Maybe starting off with Victoria Stillwell and some books you recommended.
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-17 09:22:27
  • Been reading and watching videos on training from several different sources. I've watched Victoria Stillwell and Shorty. Tab289 and kikopup on Youtube. I've got Puppies for Dummies, The Art of Raising a Puppy, The Puppy Whisperer, Before / After You Get Your Puppy and others. I think everyone has a bit to offer, including Milan.

    To me, It's my job to research the material and choose the techniques I feel will work within my and Kai's comfort zone. Kai doesn't need a prong or choke collar for walks without pulling / distraction. Just more work on my part to find the way to reinforce the behaviors I want to the front and let the ones I don't fall to the wayside. If the technique the person offers is something I'm not comfortable with, then I simply ignore it. Taking the Monks of New Skete, for example. They had incredible information on the birthing and development of puppies. But some of the actual training techniques made me stop reading shortly after reaching those parts. That's part of being an intelligent and responsible adult human being.

    Let me ask y'all a tough question (I do this a lot): If the situation came down to euthanasia or letting Milan work with the dog, which would you choose? I'm not advocating Cesar Milan in any way with this, by the way. But down to death or Milan...

    Which would you choose?
  • Fortunately it wouldn't come down to that. Cesar Millans resume consists of "former dog groomer with natural rapport with dogs." That's it. I have a dear friend who is one of the head behaviorists for the American Humane Association and sadly people call behaviorists when the dog is too far gone. If it came down to Cesar or death, truthfully that would mean the dog is already dangerous, he would only make it more so. So why further torture a disturbed animal?

    Some people are slow to accept that his methods are wrong. I have read his books and his show is indeed convincing. But once you do the research. Once you read any of the books by actual behaviorists, who have dedicated their entire lives to "the health and well being of an animal" as opposed to controlling an manipulating an animal. There is no way you can condone what he does.

    There is a brilliant thread on the NK side that addresses this. I would strongly encourage anyone who thinks he is alright to read the website I posted, particularly the essays by Jean Donaldson and Lee Charles Kelly. And take a look at the thread.

    There is a reason he has a number of law suits against him, the entire behavioral community wants him shut down, and National Geographic has finally agreed to not renew him. His methods are irresponsible. He is very charismatic. But no dog has ever been made MORE dangerous with positive methods. The same cannot be said for him.
  • kwyldkwyld
    Posts: 506
    @Hachi and anyone else on this forum that use Cesar Milan methods, I used to watch Cesar Milan and used the methods he recommended on my Kai Kohji when he was a young dog. When I first started posting on this forum in 2007 I would use labels to describe Kohji to the other members such as dominant, aggressive and generally hard to handle. He was 3 years old at that time. Kohji was aggressive to unfamiliar people, unfamiliar animals, my other dog Taj, and me. He growled, snapped at and bit me and attacked my other dog all the time and I couldn't figure out why he was acting this way when I was showing him that I was the leader. I alpha rolled him, I used prong collars on him, I yelled at him when he would growl at my other dog, I made him wait to eat before me, all the crap that Cesar recommends when your dog is "acting dominant" and trying to run the house. I even work with people at a vet's office who use Cesar methods on their dogs and they said "well you just have a really bad dog, he's just one of those truly alpha males that you'll never be able to control".

    So, finally seeing that nothing I was doing was working with Kohji and getting to the point where I wanted to euthanize him, I started reading books like Don't Shoot the Dog and The Other End of the Leash, consulting with a vet who specialized in animal behavior (NOT A TRAINER), and really truly listening to the people on this forum that were talking about positive reinforcement training methods and I realized what horrible mistakes I had made. Since I stopped "trying to be the leader" I don't have a bad dog anymore and haven't for years. He doesn't fight with Taj, he likes meeting new people, he excels in sports like agility and obedience, and trusts me now. That's the number one problem with Cesar Milan is that he teaches you to train your dog not to trust you anymore. There are so many better paths to choose when training and raising a dog and won't make him afraid of everything.

    Another thing that really annoys me about Cesar is that he refuses to learn anything new when it comes to dog training, he holds onto his beliefs and continues to teach them despite the fact that the whole rest of the animal behavior community has denounced his methods and shown that it does more harm than good. I think he knows what he teaches is BS, but he's more concerned with his image and his pride than doing the right thing and admitting what he's doing is wrong.

    The books listed at the top of this thread are great, and I strongly recommend anyone who wants a solid bond with their dog to read them. I learned the hard way.
  • --Hachi it is good to go to different classes but I would not go to classes in the same session that use two different methodologies. It is difficult enough on the human side to get it all in gear and you don't want to set yourself up for some unconscious bad habits and possibly confuse things. Yes been there done that.

    See if you can find a clicker class. There is one individual that trains horses and other animals via clicker and has some workshops in NL. This individual might be able to recommend someone that can help with dogs too if he does not do that also. I don't know him, but here is a link. I expect he probably understands English so if you are not a native speaker most likely it won't be an issue. Web site:

    Good luck, with some prospecting I be you can find someone to help out.

    --Kelly: Thank you for you input. I think think we all have been there at one time or another and only later seen the light so speak. The dogs unfortunately have had to endure so many human mistakes because of it before there is harmony.
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-09-17 17:02:52
  • Post edited by BradA1878 at 2010-09-17 14:41:38
  • THANK YOU Brad!!
  • Ok i'm seriously reconsidering a lot of things:) It did leave me confused and back to square one since Cesar was my first resource lol.
    Mr Millan posted Ian Dunbar's review about his new book and it led me to Dog Star Daily on Youtube and I see that you all put it up as well:) That's some quality advice.

    Oh and I've been uploading pics from Hachi on Tumblr. Check it out! Love it!
    Post edited by Hachi0406 at 2010-09-19 07:56:07
  • It is really kind of Cesar getting a dose of reality. An insider friend of mine has been telling me that there have been behavior conferences more or less dedicated solely to repairing the damage that his programs and books have done. The rumor on the wind is that his empire is crumbling and he is attempting some damage control (for instance having Ian Dunbar writing an introduction).

    I am delighted to hear that you are open to learning about other methods. The best dog owners are the ones are keep their minds open.
  • Thanks Jessica, you really do care about animals and their future well-being. I have a lot of respect for you and the others who posted. Will be careful with what I choose and question it.

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