Dog Training books

150 Activities for Bored Dogs
    by Sue Owens Wright
    The writing is hilarious and there's so much information that helps.  This is a winner all around. 
    When you leave your dog home to go to work, sometimes he or she can do a lot of damage.  This gives you games/activities your dog can do by himself to keep him occupied with something other than your sofa or shoes. 
    It goes further and gives you games you can play with your dog as well.  Something besides the old fetch or walk.  It's such a fun read, whether you have a dog or not.  I advise you to at least read it.  You can't help but laugh at how she phrases things.  I'm so glad I bought it.  I not only have new games for my dogs, I almost laughed myself sick reading it.  It's a double hit! 

Bad Dog to Good Dog
    by Dr. Quixi Sonntag
    This is dog training and about fixing problem behavior by changing it to more acceptable behavior.  It explains how when you do one thing to change a behavior, you might be subtly reinforcing it.  Making them  do it more since they're getting attention by it. 
    Like when a dog jumps up on you.  I push mine away when they do it.  It never made him stop, he just did it more.  I  learnt why.  When I pushed him, he saw it as me playing with him.  So, of course, he did it more.  He got attention!  When I did what the book said, turning away from him as he does it and ignoring him, he stopped doing it.  That only took two days.  I'd been causing the behavior to keep going by not looking at it like he did.
    This is a good book.  I like Dog Body Language Phrasebook better, it helped with a major problem we had, but this also helped with more minor problems.  I'm glad I bought this one.  It's done some good and may help more in the future. 

Dog Body Language Phrasebook
   by Trevor Warner
    This book was my best buy, so far.  I bought a bunch of dog books, because my dog was really causing family problems.  I love the little bugger, so I needed to fix his issues or I would have had to get rid of him.  He was getting that bad.
    I found out I was the problem.  Everything I'd been doing with him had been the wrong thing.  He was growling at anyone coming in the bedroom, or even if I moved around at night.  I didn't know what to do, so I'd just put him outside at every incident.  Now I realize I had started the problem.
    I wanted my dog near me.  So he always slept in the bedroom and on our bed.  I loved him, so I let him do what he wanted.  Basically, I taught him he was top dog and I'd obey him.  So he bossed me around.  I didn't recognize some of the warning signals, that he thought he was pack leader.  I thought it was cute that he stood on his hind legs, putting his paws on my shoulders as I was sitting down.  Now I know he was showing dominance over me.
    Now the bedroom is off limits, day or night.  He can come up on the bed to say good night, but then he has to get down.  I don't know if he's getting it or not, but nobody's getting growled at anymore.  He's also stopped starting fights with his brother.  I knocked him off the throne, now he's not sure enough to keep trying to teach his bro who's boss.  I'm queen and they have to obey me.
    The book is deceptively simple.  It seems like it's just a child's book, because it's not full sized.  It keeps the language simple.  I read some very complicated fiction books and I do fine.  But when it comes to instructions, I can't quite grasp them if they're too complicated.  This kept it simple enough I could get it. He didn't harp on things we do wrong.  He'd just point out an action, then tell you how the dog sees it.  Which can be vastly different than we see it!!  That's how I learnt to adjust what I was doing.
    Each page has two parts.  One is a behavior trait, the other is a short fact.  The behavior trait is looked at through the dog's eyes, and how it affects you as well.  This book is a keeper for my reference library!  This was well worth what I paid.

    Editors of Pets
    This book has a section on how dogs communicate.  Page 9 is a body language primer.  It's very short and concise as to what body movements mean what.  It shows the different positions for the body parts and what they mean.
    This was the most useful to me of all the books.  It used pictures of dogs as well as words.  It's a lot easier for me to see what a dog's posture is than having it described and trying to recognize it.  Now I'm getting much faster at catching my dogs before the fight is on instead of after the biting and clawing have started.  It's very hard to separate fighting dogs. 
    The part explaining how dogs perceive our movements was extremely valuable.  Your dog puts up with you petting his head because he loves you.  If you try putting your hand on a strange dog's head, you probably won't get much back!   A dog doesn't really like hands on his head.  A smile is also something a strange dog doesn't like.  When a dog "smiles", it's a snarl meaning aggression.  So they see our smiles as the same thing. 
    This book helped me the most in recognizing what my dog was doing.  All the cute tricks he was pulling was his way of showing me he was top dog.  Since I allowed it, he started growling at me and others, asserting more control.  Since reading this one, I recognized when he was putting himself above me.  I just thought they were tricks, not his way of taking over.  Now that I can recognize these things, and don't allow it, my dog is finally behaving like he should.  Growling at me has stopped, he obeys me almost immediately (we have a ways to go there...), and the dominance fights between the two dogs have stopped.
    The bond between us is stronger than ever.  My dog finally respects me and he's more affectionate than he's ever been.  If I could only have one book out of all these, this is the one I'd choose.  It doesn't teach tricks or anything else, but those are only icing.  This one and What Color is Your Dog? are the two best books.  They were the most useful to me and the easiest to understand for what I needed.
    I love my dog very much, but it really was getting to the point where I thought I'd have to put him down.  I cried a lot wondering what I was going to do, how I could handle losing him.  These books saved my dog.

Dog Training Handbook
   by Stella Smyth and Sally Bergh-Roose
This is a 10 week training course for your dog.  It tells you when to start and various training methods.  Come is the one I really needed.  My dogs prefer coming when they feel like it.  This one helped me get it through their heads that come means NOW.  There's a lot of dangerous situations out here or anywhere that obedience can save your dog's life.
    This wasn't as helpful to me as Bad Dog to Good Dog or Dog Body Language Phrasebook.  But then again, I'm not very good with formal training.  I'm too lazy, I like quick fixes too much.

Dog Tricks
   by Captain Arthur J. Haggerty and Carol Lea Benjamin
   Haggerty was in the Army and has taught some of the most prominent dog trainers.  Benjamin is a professional dog trainer and has written a lot of dog books.
    These start out with quick and easy tricks to teach.  I do mean easy too.  It tells it in simple language and how to get the dog to do it.  Like triggering the action/trick.  Say you want him to learn to kiss you, but he isn't  big on that.  Put a dab of butter where you want him to kiss.  Praise every time he touches it.  Simple, easy.  Just like I like it. 
    It does get progressively harder, just like the tricks listed.  Later in the book, the tricks are very complicated.  So are the explanations.  I had a hard time with the tricks after chapter 12.  To be honest, I stopped reading after that.  I didn't care to teach those, so why bother reading it.  It's a good book, for what I did read.  It helped me teach some tricks I wasn't getting them to do.  Dog Tricks - Eighty-eight Challenging Activities For Your Dog From World-class Trainers

Dog Tricks
   by Selina Gibsone and Jenny Palser
    This is a short, sweet, effective way of training dogs to do tricks.  Almost every trick is taught in one page, except for the really difficult ones which take two.
    A short paragraph describes the trick and it's value to you and your dog.  Like stay can save his life.  Say he jumps out of your car and traffic is near.  Stay can make the difference between live dog or road kill.  I can't bear to lose my dog, so we're working on this one.
    Then the page is broken into steps to teach this.  It also shows the hand signals used for each trick, if you'd prefer that. 
    Each trick builds on an earlier trick, like down is a continuance of sit.  At the end of the page, it lists the trick and page number this trick is built on.  Then it lists future tricks that build on this particular page.
    I like the simplicity of this book.  It's not at all complicated, even though some of the later tricks are.  I like how things are broken down.  The past and future tricks make it easier to skip and build on what I want my dog to learn.  This way I didn't have to search for similar tricks to keep my dog on track.  I could just keep building on what he'd already learnt.
Dog Tricks: Step by Step
     by Mary Ann Rombold Zeigenfuse and Jan Walker
This is sort of a combination What Color is Your Dog?  and Dog Tricks.  It says much the same things and how to accomplish them, but not nearly as concisely or as in depth.  It saves you from buying both of the other books, but I don't think it explains things nearly as well. 
      There's a canine personality test on pages 10-13.  This is so you can find out what Drives affect your dog.  Things like Prey, Pack, Defense/Fight, or Defense/Flight Drive.  Prey Drive makes it easier for them to learn retrieving.  Pack means they want to please us so they try harder.  Defense/Fight helps them cope with pressure from hard work.  Defense/Flight is necessary for the trainer to know.  They are easily terrified and one must adjust the training so as not to make them more afraid.
    Page 16 tells you the body language needed to switch your dog from one Drive to another, depending on what's needed for which trick.  Every trick is broken down into sequences to make it easier.
   It's a good book.  If I hadn't read the other two books first it would have been fine. 
This one probably would have saved me the cost of buying the other two.  But since I'd already read the other ones, I knew how much was left out.  I guess it wasn't as necessary, I just liked knowing the extras.

What Color is Your Dog?
   by Joel Silverman
   This is dog training using your dog's personality to adjust the training for maximum effect.  This one helped me the most. 
    It uses colors to describe your dog's personality type.  Red is an off-the-wall energetic type, Orange is high-strung, Yellow is mellow and easiest to work with, Green is timid and Blue is overly fearful. 
    We have two dogs.  One is an Orange, almost Red dog.  His brother, my pet, was an extreme Blue.  Using this book, I was able to help my dog gain confidence and move to Green, then Yellow. 
    This book helped me understand some basic mistakes I was making with the boys.  Food treats work great with Blue or Green dogs, sometimes Yellow.  But they're counter productive with Orange and Red. Using food treats, I was able to teach my dog a lot of tricks.  But using treats with the Orange dog, he lost all ability to learn.  He was so caught up in FOOD, he couldn't concentrate on anything else.  I didn't believe what the book said, now I know better!
   There's a wonderful section on training yourself how to train.  A lot of the mistakes he lists are what I was doing.  I didn't understand when to treat or praise, so I was confusing the poor mutts.  I was waiting too long to give them something, or to tell them they were good boys.  So what they learned was hit and miss.  Mostly miss!  Now I know better!  This was an invaluable book.  Not just on training your dog right, but fixing what is wrong too.
   Check out the charts on pages 130-133 and 140-143.  These are immensely helpful if you don't want to have to read the entire book before starting to train.  It's still a good idea to read the whole thing, but it's nice not having to look everything up when you need it.

Of all these books, my two favorites were What Color is Your Dog?  and Dogspeak

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