My Smart Puppy
by BrianKilcommons and Sarah Wilson
reviewed by Pam Green
"My Smart Puppy" is by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson. This is an utterly great training book, not just for puppies, but applicable to all ages of dogs and very much applicable to rescued dogs with behavioral "baggage". It's geared to people who are beginners in training, thus should be even better for those with experience.
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My Smart Puppy is by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson. Just giving the authors' names might be enough to convince you it's worth reading because really anything by either of them is well worth reading (in my opinion, of course).
For years I've been saying that the single best book on puppy rearing that I know is Ian Dunbar's How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks. Well that's still a great book and one that everyone should read before getting their first dog and re-read before each puppy. But My Smart Puppy covers some ground that Dunbar's book does not. You really need to read both books.
This is an utterly great training book. Despite the title, it's not just for puppies, but applicable to all ages of dogs and very much applicable to rescued dogs with behavioral "baggage". While the book is geared to people who are beginners in training, it is even better for those with experience.
My Smart Puppy has a series of exercises that are excellent and very well explained and illustrated. All their philosophy of training, discussion of communicating with dogs, discussion of dog nature, etc etc is great. There's so much in here that most people would need years in dogs to figure out for themselves , and too many might never figure out .
I absolutely adore the excellent emphasis on use of body language and body space to teach dogs various highly necessary responses and which very benignly also puts the person into a leadership role. There's also an emphasis on getting dogs to respond to situations with good habits, ie without direction from person.
Brian and Sarah are very experienced trainers, very experienced with dogs who have behavior issues including aggression/biting. they are very eclectic , ie have a large "toolbox" of techniques. This book emphasizes the techniques most helpful to most people with most dogs. but "if what you are doing is not working (makes things worse or doesn't make things better) then stop doing that and instead do something else". "Be willing to get help" is a message repeated throughout.
The book comes with a DVD showing some of the most basic exercises.
Dogology , which Sarah Wilson wrote with Vicki Croke, is screamingly funny and all too true. It's about personality/philosophy types of owners and how their outlooks affect their dogs. Really about how to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses , or maybe you aren't willing to do that and will just enjoy applying the book to everyone else you know. The real truth is that going to extremes on any of these types has problems. Most of us are a combination of types, and the mix can change as we change in our goals in life. (my own goals and approaches today are not the same as when I was in serious working trial competition , but it's a shift of emphasis, not a change to something the earlier person couldn't recognize or vice versa).
|site author Pam Green||copyright 2003|
|created 10/10/2011||revised 12/02/2014|
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