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Discussion Starter #1
I've been meaning to buy a book of dog tricks for Snowball, but I'm not sure which one to get (there's so many!). I dog sat for a friend a while ago and he had The Dog Tricks and Training Workbook by Kyra Sundance, but I've also seen 101 Dog Tricks and 10-minute Training Games by the same author. I really like the detailed illustrations of how to teach each trick that Kyra Sundance's books have, but if you have other suggestions they're more than welcome.
 

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From the "look inside" my initial impression is that I don't like those books. In the first book it shows her pulling the leash up (choking the dog) while pushing it's rear down in order to have it sit. With down, it shows her pushing him down. Not a good, positive training method. Those are traditional methods that are HIGHLY frowned upon now because there are better, faster, positive, non-damaging ways to train those behaviors (and all other behaviors). If you get those books, use positive methods only. No force, pushing, pulling, choking, etc. Use luring and shaping to encourage and teach the dog.
 

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Upwards pressure doesn't necessarily choke the dog, and is a perfectly good way to train a dog to sit. There is nothing in "positive training" that says you can't guide the dog into position, as long as you reward it the same way you would with luring and shaping.

Guiding the dog into position is just as effective as any other method, and once the dog knows a command, studies have shown that HOW the dog learnt the command makes no difference, it will know it just as well and for just as long as with any other method.

But as for trick training books, I wouldn't get one. They all contain pretty much the same tricks these days, and you can find them all for free on youtube. Youtube has the added advantage that you can decide how you want to train a trick, you just search for what you want - luring, shaping or guiding, and then you can find several videos for each method. If you get a book you're locked into whatever method the author likes, and you might not like the way they train, or you might want to use a different method.
 

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But why would you want to use pressure instead of luring? Why make the dog uncomfortable? I'd rather have a dog who wants to offer behaviors than one who does so to avoid aversives.
 

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And sit is so EASY to teach without touching a dog at all! I don't mind some gentle moving into position for more difficult tricks, but I'm not sure I'd want to go with a trick trainer who requires hands-on pressure for the simplest of behaviors, you know?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'd just like to point out that if you actually read the text the books DO use luring, and specify using the leash and the "push" method only if the dog won't respond to the lure. Same with the pushing for the "down" command. The book actually starts with the luring, and gives an alternative method in case the food lure doesn't work. I only bring this up because I'm kind of looking for recommendations from people with experience with these books, rather than based on the pictures on Amazon. And like I said before, any suggestions of other books would be appreciated - I just happen to have used books in this set (briefly) before and find the written instructions and illustrations informative. Mayve I should've specified that I'm more concerned with their content and whether the tricks in each are useful/entertaining.
 

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Well, if you do the "look inside this book" thing on Amazon, you can read quite a few pages, and in that first one at least, you can see the table of contents that lists every trick. It's really up to you to decide whether you find those tricks useful and entertaining.

Honestly, though, I second the YouTube idea. I find it's easier to teach tricks when you can see them being taught rather than just read about them... plus you're not stuck using any one person's methods; you can shop around for different versions of the same trick. This girl has a ton of useful videos and might be a good one to start with! And this one has a few tutorials, plus if you look on the right side of that page, there are links to a bunch more trainers.

(I actually do own 101 Dog Tricks, by the way -- my mom brought it home. I read through a bunch of it, but I didn't actually use it. It seemed all right, but I prefer YouTube.)
 

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But why would you want to use pressure instead of luring? Why make the dog uncomfortable? I'd rather have a dog who wants to offer behaviors than one who does so to avoid aversives.
Why not use pressure? It hardly makes the dog uncomfortable, like I said you're not choking it, it's just a bit of pressure. It's technically R-, but I'd hardly even call it aversive. No more aversive than withholding a treat during shaping. I'd guide the dog into position any day if the other option was luring (not a fan of luring). I've used the method, a normal happy well socialised dog will think nothing of it. A touch sensitive dog might, but then I'd use shaping instead.

I think for the average pet owner, guiding the dog into position is the easiest and quickest way to do it. Another advantage is that it teaches the dog relaxed compliance/being handled, which is an issue for many dogs being trained with hands off training methods. I don't use guiding a lot myself, but I have taught relaxed compliance for handling, and my vet is amazed at how relaxed and calm the dogs are when we're there. The vet has been able to do things to my dogs that he said he'd normally have to put a dog under for.

Plus, the sit is such a basic behaviour that it's a waste of training to lure it. I've mentioned this before in other threads too. Shaping a behaviour teaches the dog a behaviour + to think for itself. Guiding teaches the dog the behaviour + relaxed compliance. Luring teaches the dog only a behaviour. So why not teach the dog two things at once when you have the opportunity?
 
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