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


DC/Dark Horse super hero movies
      The movie Batman Begins.  This showcases his beginnings.  From the death of his parents, to his search to understand the criminal mind.  During his search, he is approached by an emissary of the League of Shadows.  Once he proves himself, they take him in and teach him how to fight.  He has to face his fears, and control his anger.  But they part ways when they expect him to kill and help destroy Gotham. 
       He returns to Gotham, 'borrows' technology from his father's Applied Science area, and recreates himself as the superhero known as Batman.
        This is very gritty and real.  Batman may be a comic book character, but this movie was made as realistic to a crime drama as it could get.  His gadgets are based on real-life military technology, making it even more realistic. 
         I can't say as this is one of my favorite movies.  I don't like that much realism!  But it was exciting and caught your attention.  It paid attention to detail and kept you interested all the way through.  I can't fault it as a movie.  It's just too gritty for me.  I own it because it really is a very, very good movie.  I just like my comic book heroes to have a little more humor.  This Batman comes the closest to being true to the spirit of the comic.  The movie was as well written as anything out there.  I even have to admit, as far as plot and how it was done, it's better than my beloved Blade 2.  (Do you have any idea how much that hurts to admit??!!!)  I still prefer my Blade 2, because it has at least a tiny leavening of humor.  (A very tiny bit)

The Dark Knight
    The Batman versus the Joker.  This is not your usual Joker.  This one is very scary.  Heath Ledger did a fantastic job.  This Joker isn't the slightest bit funny.  He's brilliant, terrifying, ruthless.  I was shocked at how ruthless.  The character was so diabolical, plans within plans, always a Plan B or C, always a back-up, I was truthfully surprised to see Batman catch him.  Batman always seems to be playing catch up here.  He's always two steps behind the Joker's plans.  Even when he catches him, the Joker actually wins.  It's very much a cat and mouse game, with deadly stakes.  The Bat is all noble and incorruptible, but he really does lose where it counts here.  AKA Harvey Dent and Rachel. 
     This is the best superhero movie I've seen.  For sheer realism, no holds barred believability, it's awesome.  I really don't see how they can make a third movie that can even come close here.  There are no fantastic powers.  All the Bat's gadgets are based in reality, of what's used in warfare today.  His legendary status is a carefully built psychological trick.  (see Batman Begins for that explanation)  He himself is fallible, torn, and deeply wounded inside his heart by the end of this.  A definite must-see.

    He's big, he's red, he's going to bring about the end of the world.  Or so they say.  He doesn't much care.  He just likes to fight and the bad guys better watch out.  He has horns and is in love with Liz, a lady who has a temper and can control fire (move over Torchie!). 
     Rasputin is the one who brought Hellboy over from another dimension and he wants Red to bring about the apocalype.  Rasputin causes a lot of trouble, kills Red's father, and kidnaps Liz to try to force Hellboy to lose control and fulfill his destiny.
    I enjoyed this.  Ron Perlman is in his element here.  He's always been a favorite of mine, and Hellboy was perfect for him.  Red, or Hellboy, is irreverent, bad tempered (hey, aren't we all?), gruff, and a show-off.  The show might be grim, but Red just plows on through and his smart mouth comments really lighten the mood.  Even my husband likes this show.  If my daughter ever moves out, it will probably be a battle royal over who gets this one.  (I plan on winning.  She can get her own)

Hellboy II:The Golden Army
    The Prince of Elfland wants to rid the world of humans.  Can't really blame him.  They've taken over pretty much the whole planet and pushed the non-humans into hiding.  He plans of finding the crown that controls the Golden Army, an unstoppable mechanical army that will destroy the humans.  Prince Nuada kills his father and takes his piece of the crown, attacks an auction house and steals the second piece.  His sister Nuala has the third and she's not going to give it to him.
    Hellboy and the team find what's left of the auction house, and the people.  Abe Sapien figures out what happened to them, and who might be behind it.  When the team and their new leader go to the Troll Market to get answers, Abe meets Nuala.  They have similar powers and  learn a great deal about each other just by touching.  The team take her back to base.
    It's put together better than the first one, but Hellboy is more obnoxious in this one.  He's kind of annoying here.  Liz and Abe get more screen time, and that's a good thing.  Prince Nuada is none other than Luke Goss.  It's a similar role as in Blade 2.  He's a tormented son who's doing what he thinks is right.  But this role shows more of his acting talents.  I was very sympathetic to the Prince's torment.  He wasn't exactly in the wrong.  He did a lot of bad things, but you could understand why.  At least I could.  I liked the first movie better, but this one is much more haunting.  I wouldn't like it nearly as much without Prince Nuada.

The Spirit
Denny Colt is the Spirit.  The Octopus is his nemesis.  Denny was shot and killed.  His coroner was Octopus himself.  Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson) had been experimenting with creating an immortality drug.  Denny was his first success.  Once Denny came back to life, Octopus used it on himself.
    Now Octopus is trying to get the blood of Herakles, to turn himself into a God.  But Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) was after something else that was with it.  She loves bling, and the Golden Fleece is the ultimate bling.  She gets the wrong crate, with the Herakles' blood.  Now she and Octopus are quarrelling.
    The Spirit (Gabriel Macht) spends a LOT of time talking, to himself, to the camera, and to his city.  He also spends a lot of time chasing skirts.  Macht has a gorgeous body and a sexy spekaing voice, but I got real tired of it after awhile.  It's dreadfully campy, which isn't a bad thing by itself.  I love campy.  It just falls flat all around.  The humor is cute.  I loved Octopus' little creation: a tiny head on a foot.  But there were only glimpses of interesting things.  It was an ordeal getting through this.  Fast Forward was never so welcome!

Superman:The Movie
The planet Krypton explodes.  Jor-El sends his son to Earth, to save him.  On Earth, the boy is taken in by Jonathan and Martha Kent and named Clark Kent.
    As an adult, he dons a cape and calls himself Superman.  His secret identity is a reporter.  That follows the comic pretty closely.
    I'm not a Superman fan, so I'm already prejudiced, but in the comic Lois Lane at least had a brain.  She was obnoxious, prone to trouble, and always had to be saved.   But she did have a brain. 
    When she's walking around with Clark Kent, supposedly training him, he gives away his super powers over and over.  She can't see it.  She's too busy being superior to the farm boy to accept he might be able to do something she can't.  It's annoying.
    When she does the interview with Superman, she lists everything he tells her.  Thereby making him vulnerable to Lex Luthor.  She didn't hold anything back, even though she's completely gone on him. 
    If you like Superman, you'll like this.  If you don't, it's a waste of time. 
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder

Superman II
Three criminals from Krypton are freed from the Phantom Zone when Superman throws a hydrogen bomb into space.  They like the idea of taking over Earth, so they show up.  General Zod wants revenge on Jor-El for putting him in the Zone.
    Lex Luthor escapes from prison and searches for Supes Fortress.  He finds it and listens to the memory crystal.  Now he knows all about what Supes can and can't do.
    Meanwhile, Lois and Clark are doing a piece on Niagara Falls.  Lois finally figures out Clark disappears when Supes shows up.  So she sets out to prove her theory.  The results are disastrous, but funny.  She gives up on the idea, then by accident he shows his true self.  He takes Lois to his Fortress to tell her all about himself.
    He's in love wtih Lois, so he makes the decision to give up his powers.  The memory crystal from his father tells him how.  But when they return to civilization, they find the Krypton criminals have taken over the White House.
    Lex shows up and offers to help Zod find Jor-El's son.  They kidnap Lois, to draw Superman out.  Supes goes back to his Fortress and regains his powers. 
    There's the usual battle.  Whenever Zod gets what he wants, he orders Lex's death.  Then Lex comes up with something else Zod wants.  This scenario replays over and over.  Lex is supposed to be a genius, but he keeps helping Zod even though right after Zod orders him killed.  How many times does he have to get backstabbed before he stops trusting Zod? 
   The only good thing about this movie, to me, is Terence Stamp is in it.  Oh, Supes takes away Lois' memory so she doesn't know his secret identity anymore.
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp

Superman III
Gus learns how to be a computer programmer.  He's able to make the computer do things his teacher says can't be done.  Then he realizes how much hidden money can be found in that computer.  He writes a program skimming pennies off every account.  He's still shocked when he gets an $85,000 check.  He was expecting $50. 
    He gets the attention of Ross Webster.  Webster has uses for his skills.  He wants Gus to hack into Vulcan, a weather controlling satellite.  Then to use it to destroy Columbia.  It works, until Superman steps in and saves Columbia.  Webster is angry. 
     His next plan is to get some kryptonite and kill Supes.  Gus uses Vulcan to find some.  It scans it and they make synthetic kryptonite.  Pretending to be a General, Gus gives Supes the fake kryptonite.  It doesn't affect him, at first.  Then he turns into Dark Superman.  He becomes like a normal person, being selfish.
     He gets worse and worse, until he finally splits into nasty Superman and goody Clark.  They fight and finally Clark wins and Supes is normal again.  Whoopee.
     There's a super computer that learns from experience, the Bad Superman, Clark's old flame Lana Lang, and fake kryptonite.  Nothing really special, unless you count Richard Pryor.  I wouldn't want to own this!
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Annette O'Toole, Robert Vaughn, Richard Pryor

Superman IV: Quest for Peace
The Daily Planet is now owned by Mr. Warfield.  His daughter, Lacy, has the hots for Clark.  The world is in an arms race.  Lex escapes from prison and creates a Nuclear Man. 
    Mr. Warfield is a firm believer in sales.  Truth has no meaning, only sensationalism.  A boy writes Superman, through the Daily Planet, asking him to destroy all nuclear weapons to make the world safe.  Warfield sets up a press conference with the boy.  Supes shows up.  Boy says he wished Supes had said yes to destroying the weapons.  Warfield prints it as "Superman tells kid to drop dead!" 
    Lacy and Lois want to have a double date.  Lacy wants Clark, Lois wants Supes.  Only an idiot would agree to this, but Supes does.  So the entire date has Supes disappearing and reappearing as Clark.  Funny for about 3 seconds, then it's one long yawn.
    Superman is very depressed over not being able to stop the arms race (not supposed to interfere with history), Warfield's lying headlines, and life.  He needs someone to talk to.  So he tells Lois who he is.  Again.  They have a heartfelt talk, and then he makes her forget his secret identity.  Again.  Now that just struck me as supremely tacky.  Cause he needed  a shoulder to cry on. 
    Afterwards, he takes all the nuclear weapons and destroys them.  Luthor gets together with arms dealers and offers to dispose of Supes.  For a price.  Then he creates Nuclear Man by using Supes DNA as a base and the sun as the creation point.   Nuclear Man is born in the sun, comes back to Earth and orders Lex around.  Then he walks into shadow and shuts off like a light switch.
     There's the obligatory fight between the two super beings, and the damsel in distress that needs rescued.
    Lois is supposed to be such an intrepid reporter, but she's so helpless!  She's on a runaway train. Instead of trying to get to the conductor when she realizes it's out of control, she just stands there screaming "Help!"
    Nuclear Man really stretches the bounds of credibility.  I don't mind the sci-fi part.  But he comes out of the sun fully clothed?  What, he had clothing DNA too?  He'd never met a human, but he can speak English to Lex as soon as he lands?  The double date?  No man in his right mind would agree to that.  But he did.  I wouldn't waste my money on this.  I wish I hadn't rented it.
Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Mariel Hemingway

Comedy movie summaries
          The movie Hudson Hawk.  I've heard it listed as one of the worst 100.  Funny, but it's in my family's top 10.  It's a spoof of burglars, action, conspiracies and quite a bit more.  The Hawk is a burglar being blackmailed by pretty much everybody into stealing Da Vinci art.  The characters are fun, quirky, outrageous, and goofy.  I never fail to laugh at this one.  People want to look at this as a straight action movie.  If you look at it that way, it's pathetic to watch.  But it's not straight action.  It's tongue in cheek spoofing.  James Coburn and Bruce Willis are so straight faced while they do the most outrageous things.  I do love this movie.   If you like laughing, this is way better than Airplane!

     What took man millions of years to get to, these aliens do in a week.  Evolve, that is.  They started out as amoeba, and moved up to "no nose chimps" quite fast.  What's standing between our planet and them as the top of the food chain? 
     A biology teacher who used to work for the government (shades of the X-Files!) but was kicked out for experimenting with an anthrax vaccine.  The side effects tended to be drastic.  A girl's volleyball coach with an internet certificate in geology.  And a fledgling firefighter (Seann William Scott).
     You know it's going to be tongue-in-cheek throughout.  It's funny, sort of.  I wouldn't have bought it, but my 21 year old thought it was great.  It's in her favorite list.