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Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog [Paperback]

Emma Parsons
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 15 2004 1890948209 978-1890948207
Positive Answers for the Aggressive Dog. The dog that bites. The dog that attacks other dogs. The dog who may not survive his own aggressive behavior. What can be done to help these dogs? When Emma Parsons, canine behavior consultant, discovered that her own dog was aggressive, she developed innovative and effective strategies to calm, alter, and re-shape his reactive displays, and those of her clients' dogs.

* desensitize your dog to approaching strange dogs
* grab your dog's collar without getting bitten
* teach dogs to perform canine calming signals on cue
* use your own body language when under stress as a cue for your dog to remain calm

Frequently Bought Together

Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog + Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs + Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-Dog Aggression
Price For All Three: CDN$ 48.93

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Nov. 14 2009
A great manual on how clicker training could help to save the average aggressive dog. There are some dogs that clicker training will help, while others will need a more balanced and holistic rehabilitative approach. Dog aggression only occurs when there is a perceived threat, and nearly always, multiple factors contribute to the aggressive reaction. There are things we can do to to reduce or eliminate the perception of threat right at the beginning of the behaviour, and I wish these topics had been covered. An ounce of prevention.... Certainly provides a much safer and more sensible approach to helping dogs and their guardians to develop better habits than many other books that are available. Aversive approaches to aggression can only make a dog feel insecure and this will lead to greater difficulties down the road.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book March 3 2012
I got this Book about a week ago. It works really well. my dog is very fearful and clicker training is working very well with him. I Hope to be able to go around other dogs in the future. So far the my dogs' barking and growling has started to lessen around other dogs and people, and I can also distract him easier. The excerises help a lot with a hipper dog which my dog is. The book is very easy to read and is not boring and does not sound preachy which some other books do.I would recommend this book to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great dog training aid Nov. 8 2010
This is a wonderful book for anyone dealing with dog aggression. The author gives simple, yet effective instructions for training.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book June 10 2011
By stash
This is a good book which covers a variety of cicumstances where positive (clicker) training may and should be used.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  65 reviews
125 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works! Oct. 9 2005
By John Buginas - Published on
This book contains excellent descriptions of techniques that helped me make noticeable progress with my own difficult dog.

If you carefully apply techniques from this book, and have access to 'bomb proof' dogs you could have similar success. You must have patience and access to appropriate dogs for the techniques to work. The book is clear that things take time and must be taken in tiny increments. Don't rush things!

Some of the techniques are covered in other books, but the way this book is organized in 'Recipes', makes this book one of the more valuable in my collection. Also, Parsons really gets into the way things need to change on both ends of the leash.

Two years ago a difficult dog landed in my life. I have been working with her for two years and made noticeable progress using the techniques in this book; I wish I had found it earlier.

Very recently we graduated to using Parson's drills where you have your dog approach and touch a bomb-proof dog. We practiced this many, many times ... progress has been amazing. She now can approach many other dogs, touch, and returns to me.

She still has a long way to go and I doubt she'll be a dog-park diva, but I've started taking her to fun matches in rally and agility and both she (and I) can now cope with the crowds and make it through the events.
123 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book! Feb. 4 2005
By Mary K. Woodward - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a student at my obedience school and I believe that anyone who is knowledgeable with clicker training (and who has taken the time to read the entire book) will find it to be extremely valuable. The author first shares her own experiences, which are humbling yet very interesting, then proceeds to give incredibly valuable advice. Her "recipes" are clear and concise - refreshing for us experienced trainers and lifesavers for inexperienced dog owners. She covers so many topics relating to inappropriate aggression in dogs, including general dog-dog and dog-people (including children) aggression, resource guarding, and multiple dog households. She gives solid advice for managing the household and for training new behaviors. One of the best chapters is near the end, where she describes what some people in the dog world refer to as NILIF (or, Nothing In Life Is Free). This program, in which a dog learns that humans really do control everything important to him, and therefore he had better start complying, is proven and very, very effective. Yet the dog is never hurt... instead the dog-human bond is strengthened (or created!). Although most of what she wrote was familiar to me, I found myself really appreciating some of her insights.

My only criticism is that I didn't see mention of the importance of having a dog thoroughly checked by a vet for possible medical reasons for aggression, nor was there information on proper nutrition which can play a part in a dog's behavior.

Thanks, Emma Parsons, for adding to the growing list of books designed for people dedicated to working with our beloved canines in only positive ways. Since punishment only ever suppresses behavior, never actually extinguishing the desire for it, positive reinforcement is the only way to go if you are committed to working with your aggressive dog.

Mary Woodward, APDT

Greenwood Dog Training School


212 of 232 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Valuable for owners of FEAR aggressive dogs July 1 2005
By A reader - Published on
"Click to Calm" begins by describing the history of Emma Parson's own dog Ben. The author describes a typical puppy who started to display aggressive and pushy behaviour as he entered adolescence. Ms Parson booked a lesson with a "traditional" trainer who punished Ben severely with a prong collar, which only escalated his problem. In "Click to Calm" Ms Parsons describes the purely positive methods she used to cure Ben of this learned fear.

The author describes how to use a clicker to teach several basic "groundwork" behaviours, such as focus and recall. She suggests way that readers can use classical conditioning to improve a dogs' emotional reaction to the presence of other dogs, and describes ways to reduce aggression by clicking appropriate behaviour. There is a section on managing a multi-dog house hold, and a chapter on aggression towards humans.

My main disapointment with this book was the fact that it focuses almost entirely on fear aggressive dogs. The author does not address health issues that can lead to aggression, and spends little time discussing dogs who are rank aggressive with other dogs, or who attack small dogs out of misplaced prey drive.

I realise this focus does make sense for a "purely positive" book, since purely positive training probably does work better for dogs who would rather not be fighting as opposed to dogs who have learned to find fighting rewarding. However I do wish the promotional material had admitted that the book was mainly about fearful dogs, instead of somewhat dishonestly promising "answers for anyone facing this most challenging behaviour problem".

I would recommend this book to anyone with a FEAR aggressive dog. The theory is sensible, and the exercises are laid out in logical and easy to understand format. The author's knowledge of learning theory and experience with fear aggressive dogs would make this a valuable reference book for owners of many dogs.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily Book of the Year Feb. 14 2005
By Rob B - Published on
I've been training dogs for several years now and work with many clients that have aggressive dogs. Unfortunately the number of aggression cases seems to be on the increase amongst the dog public. Fortunately Emma Parsons has come along and written a book that is easy to follow and extremely informative, regardless of the reader's training experience or knowledge.

People and trainers that are still mired in the techniques and beliefs of 20 years ago may scoff at the ideas presented, but there is a difference between a trainer with 20 years experience and a trainer with 1 year of experience repeated for 20 years. Being a professional dog trainer means keeping up on current research, technique, and theory and not holding on to the same old out-dated theories and techniques such as dominance and leash corrections because they worked "back in the day". Scientific studies have shown that dogs trained with a mechanical event marker (what we call a clicker) learn up to 4 times faster than dogs who are told "Yes" or "Good Dog!" when they do something right. As an owner and a trainer I would want to give my dog every advantage possible, especially when dealing with aggression. For some trainers to discount clicker training as a fad or only good for "some dogs" shows just how uninformed and out-of-date those people are.

Emma presents a compelling narrative history with her dog Ben and shows the mistakes that novice dog owners make. She shares in an honest manner the trainers she came across and the advice she was given, both good and bad. Working with Ben was a journey. "Click to Calm" takes the reader on that journey and shows that even a new dog owner can work through these issues with the right guidance and supervision. Emma presents simple cookie-cutter recipes to deal with aggression, written in a fashion that gets rid of the jargon that you might hear from the professional trainer, yet she still conveys the important information to get the job done.

I used to tell my clients that if there was one dog book they must own, it was Jean Donaldson's "Culture Clash". Now I tell them there are two books that they must have in their library as a dog owner and "Click to Calm" is one of those books. This isn't just a book for people with aggressive dogs. It's also a book to help everyone work with their dog to keep the dog from developing aggressive tendencies. It should be required reading for every dog owner BEFORE they get their dog so they can start their new journey out on the right paw and not go through the heartache and anguish that Emma had to go through with Ben at the beginning of their relationship.

Emma Parson's "Click to Calm" is easily this year's Book of the Year within the industry and is a must read for any and all dog owners and trainers.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch!!! Feb. 5 2005
By Caryl-Rose Pofcher - Published on
"Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog" more than lives up to it's title! It leads the reader, step by step, to help HEAL the aggressive dog, not just control or even just manage the dog.

The book starts with the story of Emma's own dog, Ben, and the journey the two of them took to heal his aggressive responses. But it isn't the story of one dog and one woman's journey. It is a guide to all of us who have dogs or who work with dogs. The "training recipes" are clear and the reasons for them are explicit.

This book is a blending of a deep understanding of learning & behavior theory with many years of insightful hands-on dog training experience. The writing is clear, the concepts and "recipes" well communicated. This book stays strong to the very end. Each and every page has critical information, imparted in a clear, readable, enjoyable manner.

I particularly loved the informaton about using your own body language to cue the dog to remain calm and was intregued by teaching dogs calming signals on cue. The section on changing the dog's response to a tight leash was fascinating!

This book is a boon to dog trainers/behaviorists AND pet owners. Thank you for writing it. I truly believe it will change the course of the lives of many people and dogs! Dog aggression is a problem that isn't going to go away on its own. Books like this are a key to positive, effective intervention.

I bought extra copies to share with others because I'm not going to lend out my own copy <g>!

Caryl-Rose Pofcher

Amherst, Massachusetts

APDT Professional Member

My Dog, LLC (owner)

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