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Discussion Starter #1
We are adopting a 1.5 year old dog from a local rescue. We have had a dog before but she was raised from a puppy by my wife.

This dog is quite smart and seems trainable and we would like to refine her just a bit.

Someone suggested something by the Dog Whisperer. A local bookstore has "A Member of the Family" in stock.

Does anyone recommend this or any other book?

TIA

Mike
 

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The dog whisperer book is frankly, crap.

I would recommend the following books (in order of preference):
For basic obedience:
The Power Of Positive Dog Training - Pat Miller
Pigs Fly - Obedience Training For Impossible Dogs - Jane Killion
Family Friendly Dog Training - Patricia McConnell

For learning HOW to train and communicate with your dog
Don't Shoot The Dog - Karen Pryor
The Other End Of The Leash - Patricia McConnell
For The Love Of A Dog - Patricia McConnell

Tricks & fun stuff
Clicker Training With Your Dog - Peggy Tillman
101 Dog Tricks - Kyra Sundance (buy it used, it's not WONDERFUL, but it's a good format and decent little reference)
 

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Agree! The only book I'd add to the list is one on body language....either Brenda Aloff or Roger Abrantes....both have Dog Language in the title.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The dog whisperer book is frankly, crap.

I would recommend the following books (in order of preference):
For basic obedience:
The Power Of Positive Dog Training - Pat Miller
Pigs Fly - Obedience Training For Impossible Dogs - Jane Killion
Family Friendly Dog Training - Patricia McConnell

For learning HOW to train and communicate with your dog
Don't Shoot The Dog - Karen Pryor
The Other End Of The Leash - Patricia McConnell
For The Love Of A Dog - Patricia McConnell

Tricks & fun stuff
Clicker Training With Your Dog - Peggy Tillman
101 Dog Tricks - Kyra Sundance (buy it used, it's not WONDERFUL, but it's a good format and decent little reference)
Okay, so you feel the Dog Whisperer is crap?

Why?

Data to back that up please?

Thanks.

I am not saying you don't have a valid viewpoint, just saying something is crap is really not informative at all.

Mike
 

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All the Cesar Milan books are excellent, but somewhat repetitive. Get the first one. Its NOT a dog training book. Its more important. Its about your relationship with the dog and what you need to do to have a well balanced, well behaved pet. I think it gives terrific much needed advice - from someone who understands that dogs are animals and not 4 legged humans. Many people on this Board hate Cesar Millan; and many others think he is great. Read his stuff and decide for yourself.

Otherwise there are a million "training" books out there and a million sources on the internet. Try different stuff and see what feels best for you and your dog. No best method or best book.
 

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Do a quick search on the Dogforums and you'll see, Mike.

I agree with the book suggestions you've been given here by Tooneydogs and Dogstar.
 

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Okay, so you feel the Dog Whisperer is crap?

Why?

Data to back that up please?

Thanks.

I am not saying you don't have a valid viewpoint, just saying something is crap is really not informative at all.

Mike
DW pros:
He's got phenomenal timing and a LOT of (probably unconcious) physical presence that he uses to control (or dominate, depending on how you feel about this method of control) dogs. He's also a marketing GENIUS, and has phenomenal timing for applying corrections (or praise/treats, for that matter.)

Cons: 99.999% of dog owners (and trainers) cannot replicate these traits.

Timing is essential in ANY training method- if your dog doesn't get the feedback ("what you just did was good/bad") with appropriate timing, you'll have a VERY hard time training him/her. Period. So there's going to be a learning curve with ANY training method while you get the mechanical skills down to reward (or punish) with appropriate timing. HOWEVER - if you're using positive methods, you're a lot less likely to damage your relationship with the dog (or the dog himself!) with poorly timed rewards.

His books are very poorly written, IMO (to be fair, I suspect they're ghost written) and really shouldn't be marketed as training books so much as 'how to think about your dog' books. (For example, "The Other End Of The Leash", which I recommended above, recommends only a very few specific exercises to work on with your dog, which is why I haven't listed it as a training book. The DW books are in this same catagory, but with less science and more marketing.)

A couple of quick links: http://4pawsu.com/dogpsychology.htm
http://4pawsu.com/cesarfans.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #8
DW pros:
He's got phenomenal timing and a LOT of (probably unconcious) physical presence that he uses to control (or dominate, depending on how you feel about this method of control) dogs. He's also a marketing GENIUS, and has phenomenal timing for applying corrections (or praise/treats, for that matter.)

Cons: 99.999% of dog owners (and trainers) cannot replicate these traits.

Timing is essential in ANY training method- if your dog doesn't get the feedback ("what you just did was good/bad") with appropriate timing, you'll have a VERY hard time training him/her. Period. So there's going to be a learning curve with ANY training method while you get the mechanical skills down to reward (or punish) with appropriate timing. HOWEVER - if you're using positive methods, you're a lot less likely to damage your relationship with the dog (or the dog himself!) with poorly timed rewards.

His books are very poorly written, IMO (to be fair, I suspect they're ghost written) and really shouldn't be marketed as training books so much as 'how to think about your dog' books. (For example, "The Other End Of The Leash", which I recommended above, recommends only a very few specific exercises to work on with your dog, which is why I haven't listed it as a training book. The DW books are in this same catagory, but with less science and more marketing.)

A couple of quick links: http://4pawsu.com/dogpsychology.htm
http://4pawsu.com/cesarfans.htm
Thanks for the analysis, that was helpful.

Just saying something is crap really does not give me any useful information for making a decision.

Mike
 

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I agree with all the above. I think you will have far more success if you keep the DW as entertainment and instead use the books as listed.

Another book I would add to the list (has a DVD with it) is by Brenda Aloff "Get Connected With Your Dog."

A step by step "how to" book by Pamela Dennison is "The Complete Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training." Excellant book.
 

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I can't really say I recommend Millan's books for training a dog, but "Be the Pack Leader" is very good for understanding the importance of the dynamics in the family. Watching his program was much more valuable to me than his books have been.

I agree with the book recommendations that have been given, having read most of them after my dogs were adults. But I recommend balancing them with the ideas and philosophy practiced by Cesar Millan. I'm of the opinion that if you get input from various types of sources and then pick and choose what's right for you and your dogs, you'll do great. Carry a large toolbox, then you'll always have the right tool for the job.

I love this little article I saw recently: Training Philosophy It's agility-related, but applies for all dogs.
 

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My wife and I are adopting our first dog Saturday, in preparation we picked up the Dog Whisperer book (don't remember which one) and quite honestly it seems like it geared itself towards dogs that were already complete wrecks. I also found the book to be very repetitive, the last two chapters could have substituted for the entire book, it was quite a waste in my opinion. The only thing I learned from it was calm - assertive and "energy" (which really sounds like a bunch of crap until you see other dogs and their owners).

I'll have to take a look at the list above, I'm sure we'll definately be needing some more material on training.
 

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Read any of these books and you'll quickly realize why CM's books are better served as fire place kindling material.

http://www.sfspca.org/resources/library/for-academy-students/recommended-reading-list.pdf

BTW, I've read CM's first book, and many on the list above. The difference is simple; CM is a dominance theorist, and dominance theory is really a hypothesis, one that's never been proven with any living creature on the planet. Where as the books above are well established in science (the facts as we know them, not some construct like dominance theory).
 

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Read any of these books and you'll quickly realize why CM's books are better served as fire place kindling material.

http://www.sfspca.org/resources/library/for-academy-students/recommended-reading-list.pdf

BTW, I've read CM's first book, and many on the list above. The difference is simple; CM is a dominance theorist, and dominance theory is really a hypothesis, one that's never been proven with any living creature on the planet. Where as the books above are well established in science (the facts as we know them, not some construct like dominance theory).
For all the criticism of Cesar, he does get results with his methods. The thing that has to be understood though is that these methods are not the best methods to use to instill a behavior in a dog. They're probably not the best methods to use on most dogs. That being said, they do have a basis in the dog training world IMO. The one thing that any two dog trainers will agree on is that a third dog trainer is dead wrong.
 

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For all the criticism of Cesar, he does get results with his methods. The thing that has to be understood though is that these methods are not the best methods to use to instill a behavior in a dog. They're probably not the best methods to use on most dogs. That being said, they do have a basis in the dog training world IMO. The one thing that any two dog trainers will agree on is that a third dog trainer is dead wrong.
Broken clocks are right twice a day...doesn't give anyone reason to use a broken clock to tell time.

His results are MADE FOR TV...doesn't give anyone reason to believe results are "gotten" by his broken clock.
 

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Broken clocks are right twice a day...doesn't give anyone reason to use a broken clock to tell time.

His results are MADE FOR TV...doesn't give anyone reason to believe results are "gotten" by his broken clock.
You are agreeing he does get results, you are just saying none of it has to do with his methods?

Mike
 

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You are agreeing he does get results, you are just saying none of it has to do with his methods?

Mike
I would agree CM can get results with his methods - though I'm not sure if we would agree that those results are adequate or preferred by handlers/trainers or by the dog. Despite this, the results of his methods can easily be explained with learning theory or simple logic. What I would not agree with is that CM's logic (dominance theory) is the reason for his results, nor would I agree dominance theory justifies the methods he chooses.
 

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I would agree CM can get results with his methods - though I'm not sure if we would agree that those results are adequate or preferred by handlers/trainers or by the dog. Despite this, the results of his methods can easily be explained with learning theory or simple logic. What I would not agree with is that CM's logic (dominance theory) is the reason for his results, nor would I agree dominance theory justifies the methods he chooses.
I am not saying he is right or wrong: I just want to find out what is right for our dog.

A rational discourse on this issue could be productive.

I will say this, I did borrow a couple of books from the library by other authors: The Dummies (or Idiots one) and "For the love of the dog"

Mike
 

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I will say this, I did borrow a couple of books from the library by other authors: The Dummies (or Idiots one) and "For the love of the dog"
There are likely a thousand books for Dummies on dog training...Pam Dennison's book would be my recommendation.

And Patricia McConnell's book, For the Love of A Dog, I wouldn't classify as a "training" book. Great book, nevertheless, but more about the relationship with dogs than training dogs.
 

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At the risk of this becoming a a discussion about Cesar, dealing with troubled dogs is what he does best, but he has an underlying philosophy that is applicable to all dogs. There's a lot more to Cesar than dominance theory and harsh rehabilitation techniques. That's just the TV show - problem dogs.

The philosophy of being (to use jargon) a calm, assertive leader, and using exercise, discipline and affection, is a great philosophy to follow. Yes, it's been done before, lots of times, but no one has gotten the information to the wider public more effectively than Cesar Millan.

Whether a person advocates pack theory or not is a personal choice. I actually have a pack of large dogs and I am thrilled with their behavior and our relationships, much of which is based on what I've learned from watching The Dog Whisperer for years. I also clicker train my dogs and use lots and lots of positive reinforcement. I dabble in Natural Dog Training and Tsuro Dog Training. Besides Operant Conditioning as a Learning Theory, there's also Social Learning and Insight Learning. There's really no need to burn anything. :) There's so much wonderful information out there.

My point is that being as widely-educated as possible on various techniques and philosophies will allow you to pick the one (or more) that works best for you. If you burn all the Cesar Millan books (or the Ian Dunbar books) without considering them, you may be missing the method that is best for you, your dog and your particular situation.
 

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I would agree CM can get results with his methods - though I'm not sure if we would agree that those results are adequate or preferred by handlers/trainers or by the dog. Despite this, the results of his methods can easily be explained with learning theory or simple logic. What I would not agree with is that CM's logic (dominance theory) is the reason for his results, nor would I agree dominance theory justifies the methods he chooses.
I would argue that the average dog owner isn't so concerned with theory and more concerned with results. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that dogs should be handled 100% by Cesar's theories at all. All I'm saying is that his methods (regardless of the theory behind them) have some validity in some situations. They're certainly not appropriate in every single situation.

When people look at Cesar I think they miss the fact that he works pretty exclusively with problem dogs. He's not trying to teach a dog to sit or stay or fetch or whatever. There are much, much better techniques out there to teach those things. I do agree with Cesar that you're probably not going to fix an aggressive dog with a clicker. There's a time and a place for everything. Cesar's techniques are just another tool in the tool box.
 
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