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on January 16, 2004
As far as I am concerned, there is no other way to raise and train a dog. Hopefully you don't own a shock, choke, pinch or prong collar, but if you do, throw it away and order this book! This gentle, effective training method concerns the whole dog, not just a behaviour issue! I've trained all my dogs this way and I own two obedience (yes obd trials without aversive training!)and agility champions!
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on January 21, 2003
"The Dog Whisperer" conveys with clarity and compassion how to train your dog using truly positive methods. Anyone who follows the step by step instructions should not only be able to get great training results, but will benefit from the holistic, relationship-improving aspect of the suggestions throughout. There will always be those who feel dogs must be punished in order to be well behaved. I disagree, and suggest you give the exercises described in this book a chance. They will definitely help to dispel those old myths. As a professional trainer, I am grateful to Paul Owens for this excellent resource. It is on the must-read list I hand out to my clients.
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on January 26, 2002
Wow. The sample pages didn't let me know what to expect. Less than 1/2 of this book is devoted to dog training. The rest is like this excerpt, which you won't see in the online sample pages:
(p. 22) "There is a perfect moment for carrots to be pulled from the ground and eaten -- the perfect moment of optimum health-giving properties. But what if you can't pick and eat a carrot at the perfect time? According to Eastern thought, humans are unique in that they can actually infuse this positive life energy into food. It's a matter of thinking good, healthy thoughts and willing those healthy thoughts into the food you are preparing.... Whenever you prepare food for yourself or your dog, imagine infusing the food with "life energy.""
Here's another sample:
(p. 58) "Twenty-five years ago I decided to explore alternative therapies to get a grip on my health problems. as a child I missed 25 percent of my grade school classes because of asthma. I had a severe allergy to nuts and thirty-seven other allergies ranging from grass to pollen to dust. I was a mess. The fact that I began smoking cigarettes as a teenager while using an inhaler for my asthma also, of course, spoke of a certain lack of common sense. It must have been the lack of oxygen."
Humane dog training is not a new concept, and there are many informative books on the subject. This book is not one of them. Eastern religions, alternative therapies and ESP aren't new concepts either, and there are many informative books on those subjects. This book is not one of them.
Dave, Jay -- call Paul Owens for a goofy and entertaining interview!
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on February 26, 2002
This book allows for absolutely NO kind of correction in dog training..It teaches that the slightest correction is abuse!! It is very extremist.(Not that that is bad. Its good in the fact that it makes you aware that HURTFUL violence should NOT be a part of any dogs life.)
The methods taught in here would most likely benefit either a dog who has been sorely abused (and therefore cant take any correction) or a person who is extremely sensitive and wants to try a radical new approach in dog training. (Techniques in here take way longer than the normal "leash correction" training.. Do not get this book if you are looking for a way to get your dog trained in a few months!!!)
This book did provide good reading, and it does make good points in the fact that you should spend wonderful, decent, quality, loving time with your dog and prove to him you're there to protect him--BUT it goes in the opposite direction of the basic dog instinct. Anyone who has studied dogs of the wild, has learned of the "Alpha" dog--the one in the pact who "is in charge," giving security to the others in knowing there is someone there to lead them. This book contradicts that and says its NOT true--going against everything people have learned about typical dog pact roles!!! It states that there is no such thing as a "dominant dog" (except in emergency situations) and that in the household, you and your dog are "existing together as family", and you should never try to show dominance over it--undermining any power you have to show your dog that you are a capable leader for him to follow..setting the stage for your dog to start thinking that HE runs the show (and we know how aweful that can be!)!! Now, anyone with a dog knows that dominance and submissiveness ARE a part of a dogs pact life..and the human family is looked upon by the dog as part of his pact--someone HAS to be the dominant one.. and you dont be it, your dog will!!
This book is on lines with giving your dog rewards, rewards, rewards.. and praising him for every little thing. WHICH IS GOOD.. however, if a dog needs correcting for something, the book goes against it! You are not allowed to correct your dog for anything-- not even a tiny leash tug when your dog wanders the other way!!!! I highly disagree with the fact that you can't correct your dog. Dogs can and should be corrected..not abused, mind you.. but corrected. GOOD Correction, when done the right way, and not abusively (such as the terrible teaching of rubbing your dog's nose in excrement) is very helpful. I firmly believe lots of love, praise, and affection should be giving to your dogs (I baby my 2 adorable collies!!) and have never hurt them or hit them or any other drastic thing--but I would have never gotten them trained if I would have followed the techniques in this book and never corrected them! (Have you ever seen a dog jump in a rose bush twice? NO ..immediate correction has its place in a dogs life!!)
The good things about this book is the wonderful blanket teaching of being kind to your animal and respecting it, the wonderful chapter on nutrition that it includes (even recipes!!!), and the deep breathing/get in tune with your dog exercises!! For that I gave it 3 stars.. otherwise I would have given it 2
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on May 7, 2001
If you would like to read about relaxation exercises, do breathing exercises, hear about holistic medicines, learn to make your own dog food, read of the authors childhood illnesses and how he beat his cigarette addiction, plus dealing with your dogs stress levels, this is the book for you. If you simply want to learn how to train your dog, skip this one. I read to page 139 before the lessons even began and then it really bogged down. It is a catchy title but a lame book. Save your money, I wish I had.
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on October 16, 2001
I am thrilled that someone wrote a book encouraging us to think of our dogs in terms of friend and companion rather than demanding absolute submission. Although my biggest issue was that I felt that too much emphasis was placed on deep breathing exercises (a whole chapter + on that!) .
While the author encourages responsibility in the methods of training, he seems to allow the dog owner to be less resposible than they should in terms of results. He recommends you ignore bad behavior when possible. We all know that doesn't really work. You can't have a bad dog in the average city-- they'll get put to sleep, they'll get hurt, you'll get in trouble with your neighbors, the dog just continues on happily in the behavior. I just felt that there wasn't much emphasis put on really being able to save your dog's life with a command and being ablet o make them welcomed members of society. I wouldn't be asking for good behaviors if the bad ones would be okay to ignore!
I believe there is something good to be said for many of his training philosophies, especially the concept of 10,000 rewards. That's a wonderfully useful tool. I upped my antie a bit and got a way better response from my dog.
I disagree with the use of gentle leaders most of the time. They can cause neck problems and some dogs hate them so much it's constant mental anguish for them and like being reprimanded the whole time. Please do some research on gentle leaders before buying one for your dog.
Overall, this a fine enough book if you don't use it as the only source of information and don't feel too guilty if you need to use another method for some things that your dog is having problems with. While the author is way off into the holistic approach for my tastes, I got several good tidbits from his ideas.
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on September 8, 2001
About a forth of the book explains proper nutrition for dogs. The author recommends cooking "human" foods for your dog. If I followed the diet recommended in the book, my dogs would be eating better than me!!
I found the rest of the book to be a repeat of information that was learned in obedience class. The classes my dogs took were reward based nonviolent training classes. Choke chains and pronged collars were not allowed. Gentle Leaders (Promise collars) were suggested but not mandatory.
This would be a good book for someone who is serious about using a nonviolent approach (the best approach) to train a dog and does not have access to a nonviolent, reward based obedience class. If you have access to a reward based obedience class, I would recommend taking the class as opposed to using this book. This is a good book, but should not replace taking a class (especially if you have never taken a dog to an obedience class).
"I'd be happy to have my biography be the stories of my dogs. To me, to live without dogs would mean accepting a form of blindness." - Thomas McGuane
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on February 17, 2000
Paul Owens Nonviolint approach allows your dog to keep its personality. Where as the other methods break the dogs spirit. the old methods of controlling through domination is just that OLD. This book taught me many things I paid hundreds of dollers to learn by having a in-home-trainer,However this book continued on where my trainer left off. This book also helps you see things from the dogs mind of reasoning and understanding. I was able you use the lessons and get results in as little as 5 min. and as long as I practice what Paul tells us in this book I am a happy dog owner with a dog that obays me very well. There truly is no need for the old way of training and the proof is in this outstanding book. I can not praise this book enough. please if you are going to get a dog or have one already do yourself a favor and get this book.And please do not let any one tell you that those cruel training methods are better until you try this first, you will be amazed.I love the hide and seek game and the "find it" with my dog.
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on May 4, 2001
If you want to train your dog (at whatever age) - read this book ... offers alternative training methods to overcome various common training issues and doggie problems ...
No leash tugging, no choke/slip chains ... no punishment ... just a sense of humour ... good breathing ... some treats (not bribes, but rewards) and a clicker will do ...
This is an awfully useful book to have around any house with pets (even works on cats) ...
While not strictly necessary ... will suggest that the reader also get Karen Pryor's 'Don't Shoot the Dog' ... these 2 books compliment each other well. Ms. Prypor's book will provide insight and better understanding of the theory behind positive reinforcement ...
These training methods work ... really!
When applied correctly, the methods not just work but work fast ... we trained our Labrador to give 'high fives' in less than 5 minutes ... the clicker is amazing ... now if I can only get it to work on humans!
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on July 22, 2000
I liked this book very much. Paul does a great job of conveying that the best results come from a basic understanding of how dogs view the world and how they learn. It is a huge stretch to getting the humans past thinking and acting as though the secret to training companion dogs is imposing your will on a dog and then correcting it for "disobeying". Without knowing any better, many, many people think that the ONLY way to train a dog is by teaching it to avoid corrections. I think that is killing an ant with an anvil and happily, many other dog owners do, too. The only criticism I have is that the book may have a narrow appeal. Some may be turned off by the spiritual overtones. I found that aspect refreshing myself. It's pretty hard to learn how to use a clicker well by reading a book, but I guess it won't hurt anyone if the human screws up, right? If I had a client who was "into" a holistic approach, this would be my first pick.
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