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Teaching the Dog to Think: My Year of Dog Agility Training with My Collie, Willow Paperback – Dec 20 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Climbing Ivy Press (Dec 20 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983449201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983449201
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.3 x 1.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,630,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By C. K. on June 25 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed the beginning of the book and it had a lot of potential in the beginning. It featured a breed that not many associate with agility for one reason or another (usually it's border collies, but this book features a rough collie) and the writing style was easy to follow. The author had a somewhat brisk tone but it was peppered with jokes here and there that lightened the somewhat negative perspective on the events that unfolded. When I hit the middle though, it went downhill from there.

Politics aside, if you're a fan of purebred dogs - or for that matter, responsible pet ownership and responsible breeders - the middle and end of this book will enrage you. It's one-sided, unfounded rubbish that anti-breeding groups tend to spew, and while you can try to be sympathetic to the author given the events of the book, it's hard to read around the blatantly incorrect information that's passed off as fact. Honestly, from the middle to the end it's more like reading PETA propaganda than a book about lighthearted agility fun.

Rated two stars for the potential, but the rubbish ending ruined it for me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 39 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful book about dogs, dog training, personal growth and love Feb. 20 2012
By ursula wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written story about a collie named Willow and his handler, author and teacher Kim Davis, during a year of change. The story begins with Willow attending an agility training class, where he learns to navigate obstacles such as walking on an elevated plank. This type of obedience training rewards desired behavior as opposed to older methods that advocate controlling the dog with for example, a pull to the choke collar.
Kim discusses the reward method in detail as Willow becomes a more responsive and obedient dog. She comes to understand how and why the technique works and she applies its principles to her own life. She gives her son time for a favorite hobby when he finishes homework as opposed to demanding it be done now, as many of us parents do. She applies the technique to her creative writing students by singling out good writing and having them "do more of this", in order to coax new levels of accomplishment.
The story is funny, heartwarming, and thought provoking. It winds along many surprising and pleasurable paths. It offers information we can use in our own lives to become more thoughtful people. Read the book and take a walk with Kim along the road of self-discovery, through the woods of south coastal Massachusetts, the scent of the sea in the air, with Willow running ahead but looking back for guidance on which way to turn.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Really liked this book June 17 2012
By Cat Lady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book and I don't even have a dog. I started reading it because the subject was intriguing. I do believe that animals have their own intelligence and that we can communicate with them. I loved the emphasis on reward/positive reinforcement and it confirmed my teacher husband's talk about this. Unlike a few readers, I found the author's admissions of problems dealing with control issues and the need to excel rather informative, and I think her brave to admit them. And I particularly enjoyed how she used rewards with her son. All in all Definitely worth a read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Insightful about dogs and people! Jan. 21 2012
By Daniel M. Jaffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is certainly an enjoyable and well-written read about the relationship between human and canine. But it's more than that, too--it's also a thought-provoking examination of relationships in general, how to coax the best from others while being true to self.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable book March 21 2013
By LyricInTime2803 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book- there's so few agility themed books that aren't just training books. This is NOT a training book, which apparently confused some previous reviewers. Nowhere is that indicated in the subtitle or summary. It's meant to be a memoir. It is frustrating at first- I wanted to scream at the author as she talks about how she used to think of/train dogs. But I knew she was telling us so that we could see the change her viewpoint went through as a result of agility and positive training techniques, so I made myself stick with it and it was worth it. It's an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to agility enthusiasts and dog lovers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Descriptions of Dog Training Techniques Aug. 1 2012
By Linda F. Kurtz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book so much. I have been through the process of training a dog for a sport and I could identify with all of the writer's experiences in her agility classes. Her information on historic dog training covered ground I had read before, but she left little out and I learned more than I thought. The description of clicker training almost made me want to go back and try again. I had never learned the proper way to do it. The struggle with Willow's health problems was suspenseful and interesting. This book is beautifully written and I highly recommend it.

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