I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in training dogs to herd livestock, especially to those with loose-eyed upright breeds (ie all the AKC breeds) and to handlers who lack prior herding experience. It is clearly written and well diagrammed and illustrated, and it covers the topic in a thorough and logical manner, and includes extensive material on differences in individual dogs' working temperament and on problem solving.
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I highly recommend this book to all who are interested in training dogs to herd livestock. It is one of the most useful books currently available on the topic. It is clearly written and well diagrammed and illustrated, and it covers the topic in a thorough and logical manner, and includes extensive material on differences in individual dogs' working temperament and on problem solving. The book is especially valuable to those with loose-eyed upright breeds (ie all the AKC breeds) and to handlers who lack prior herding experience --- or to teachers looking for a syllabus.
The first two chapters present introductory material which is essential for the trainer/handler to understand, but which is scantily covered in many books. These chapters clearly discuss concepts and principles which I wish I'd understood when I first started out !!! The concepts of the dog's "comfort" (mental) in dog & stock and of "quiet power" in dog & handler are especially important. Minor defect : some of the thumbnail breed descriptions are debatable insofar as those breeds described as "preferring to drive" usually have a large minority or even majority which are definitely gathering dogs (eg the vast majority of Bouvier are natural gathering dogs), but for most breeds pretty accurate as to usual level of aggression, usual level of intensity, etc.
The training program itself is covered in 4 chapters: initial introduction to stock, then beginning stage, intermediate stage, and advanced stage. Training is methodical & progressive, with specific exercises to teach essential skills and commands, and with more advanced stages building on earlier ones.
The chapter on "working personality types" is unique and highly valuable, possibly the most valuable part of the book. Dogs vary greatly in regards to several dimensions of temperament and personality, thus training methods must vary accordingly. Holland describes the appropriate training modifications, and recommends special exercises where needed.
The chapter on "special problems" is extensive and excellent, for each problem indicating which breeds or personality types are most predisposed to it and discussing other reasons for the problem to occur, then recommending remedial exercise or modifications of training approach. In some cases, notably gripping, there may be several totally different causes, with correspondingly different remedial measures.
The short chapter on trialing quite properly puts it into perspective in regards to one's overall training and use of the dog. The author issues a needed warning of gearing one's training to the very narrow requirements of a particular type of trial or course. He also properly sets forth the value of fun trials or training matches for making the dog reliable under pressure and teaching the handler to think and to maintain self-control under pressure.
The final chapter on finding and recognizing a good instructor is brief , but can afford to be so because the preceding chapters have already done 99% of the job.
In conclusion, I heartily encourage you to buy this book and to re-read it annually or oftener --- and if you ever have the opportunity to attend a clinic taught by Mr Holland, you should do so.
|site author Pam Green||copyright 2003|
|created 1994||revised 6/1/03|
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