3.15 out of 4 stars.
A good friend of mine recommended me this book when I mentioned I was having trouble training my puppy cockapoo. He knew this would be just the thing when I said that it seemed like Sadie and I were speaking two separate languages (I always assumed I was speaking in french and Sadie spanish but that is neither here nor there).
Arnold is the founder of an organization named Canine Assistants. She looks at herself more as a mentor rather than a trainer because she specifically seeks out pups that can become service dogs.
My dream has always been able to have a dog that I was secure and proud of enough to let a disabled child be able to kiss and hug without worry or be able to bring Sadie into a hospital and just have her bring joy. Wouldn’t that just be the cat’s meow? It is not an easy mission when you have a hyperactive cockapoo that loves to “play” a game called, scratch Esme’s face when excited. Sigh, my hopes may not be fulfilled in the NEAR future but hopefully one day.
Arnold’s emotion and passion for her job really come out in this book. Which makes this read tremendously nice to go through because no one likes to listen to an arrogant know-it-all tell you how you should be training your dog. Who hasn’t read one of those “training” guides which is more like a drill Sargent yelling at you through the pages?
Arnold helps you get to know the WHY instead of the HOW.
Sadie is on the skittish side. One of the takeaways I was looking for from this book is how to ease that when I take her around town. When she gets nervous Sadie is notorious for growling and stopping in her tracks when she sees other dogs. My immediate response is always to choke on the leash and say a firm, “no” and try to pull her along. Any of you do the same?
Arnold was quick to point out that she believes in positive reinforcement and instead of me initially taking an alpha male perspective I should instead think of WHY she is growling and stopping. I discovered the reason is because she is trying her best to protect me from unidentified strangers and she is trying to warn me.
–Stop here to laugh about a little apricot furball trying to sick off the armed robber. —
If someone is trying to protect you – does the best antidote seem to punish them? No! In this case, Arnold would recommend that once Sadie growls I should calmly repeat her name softly until she makes eye contact with me. Once I have her attention back I should say thank you for her watching over me (remember to use a pleasant voice because dogs some times can understand new words) and hand her a treat as a job well done.
Dogs are more likely to repeat good moments than bad so hopefully the angry Sadie will eventually forget that strangers are scary and instead think it is a moment to get a treat.
All in all, this book is chock full of lessons that are enjoyable to read and fascinating. My only wish is that I picked it up earlier in the puppy training process. Lucky enough for me, Arnold says it is never too late to start and I will most definitely be putting some of these teachings in place right away.
I know a lot of the readers are dog lovers or else they would not be on “dogeared tails” so I figured this was great book to callout to pick up. If you are not a reader and you would prefer to watch, you can catch the PBS special here.
Please let me know what you think and thank you Mark Dupee for the book recommendation!