Understanding dogs and training – recommended books

Play to train! is a great slogan for applying dog training, however reading and re-generating enthusiasms and being amazed by what others have accomplished is also a way to get yourself to do it.

Recently I’ve read several excellent books which could definitely regenerate enthusiasm for dog training.

Chaser – Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows Over a Thousand Words by John Pilley and  Hinzmann. Charmingly walks through the experience leading up to, getting and training and then publicizing the study/results of this dog training experiment. It’s amazing what was taught and how focused John Pilley was in his experimental model (I am awed at the persistence). I do like elders (Pilley the trainer is in his early 80’s) accomplishing great things and who knew Chaser could remember so many names, and words for categories – more than any other animal taught language up to this point by more than double.

Navy Seals Dogs – My Tale of Training Dogs for Combat by Mike Ritland. A great combination of intense anecdotes about the trained combat dogs and training techniques, special emphasis on scent discrimination and non-lethal force attack training. Brief, but good history of military dog use.

Decoding your Dog from American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. This book is backed by the weight of research into animal behavior and focuses on explaining common behaviors and most difficult problems. I liked it most for its discussion of anxiety. I liked it least for its constant repeat of need to find a veterinary behaviorist to work with you/your dog and some of the ‘lightness’ that seemed out of place.

Why these three books? They’re recent publications and I had fun and learned stuff by reading them. They all have strong basis in research and/or actual field testing success. They all use reward based techniques because those work the most effectively and get the highest levels of performance. And they were available at my library … thank you Medford Memorial library.

Any recent dog training publications I should read? I appreciate recommendations.






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