Train Your Dog the Lazy Way

(book review)

This is a book about good dog care and training for those who are "lazy" meaning "busy" ie short on time and energy and therefore wanting to do things the easy effective way

Train Your Dog the Lazy Way

by Andrea Arden

published by Alpha Books (Macmillan), ISBN 0-87605-180-8

reviewed by Pam Green

I almost did not pick up this book at the store as the title "LAZY way" seems to me to be contrary to what good dog care is all about. However by "lazy" the author means "busy" ie short on time and energy and therefore wanting to do things the easy effective way.

To my delight , this book is actually an excellent advisory on how to housebreak and teach in-house calmness and good manners and basic obedience to either a puppy or an adult dog. Constant emphasis on use of crates as short term confinement, stretch gate or ex-pen as long term confinement and umbilical leash to teach house cleanliness and calmness. Relies on use of positive reinforcement with food, letting the dog earn 1/3 or more of its daily food ration by obeying. Emphasizes teaching in very short sessions, one or two minute lessons, that are very numerous ie 50 to 100 of these one-or-two command lessons per day, interspersed throughout the day . This mode of interspersed training prepares the dog well for real life, when responsiveness must be on tap throughout the day and night.

There is nothing in this book that should get anyone into trouble and there is an enormous amount that should be of great positive value and should prevent trouble. Especially for those who are NOT very dog knowledgeable and who would otherwise NOT be very energetic about acquiring knowledge or training the dog.

I think this book will prevent a lot of dogs from being relegated first to the exile of the backyard and later to the pound. It will save a lot of lives and make those lives more worth living.

That being said, there are a few omissions.

Significant omission : the Promise halter , currently known as "Gentle Leader", is mentioned briefly. In a book for novice owners, I would like to see a substantial section on this wonderful tool, its principals and use, and on its cousins the "Halti" (which I have also used) and the "Snoot Loop" (which I have seen demonstrated and which offers the widest range of adjustability to fit odd sized heads) which work very similarly. I think any of these halters would be a great help to all the many people who don't know how to give a loose-jerk-loose correction and many of whom would have difficulty learning to do so. Halters are as near as one can get to "magic" in dog training.

MAJOR omission : the words "SPAY" and "NEUTER" are totally absent. Now when it comes to the EASY way to prevent a lot of trouble, both behavioral trouble and health trouble, the advice to SPAY / NEUTER BEFORE AGE OF 6 MONTHS is one of the very greatest pieces of advice any pet dog owner could possibly hear and obey. I just cannot understand the omission of this crucial advice, especially since the author does emphasize the importance of CHOOSING the RIGHT dog (pup or adult) in the first place, ie choosing a dog whose temperament and behavior qualities match your own personality and lifestyle. SPAY / NEUTER has a major beneficial impact on dog behavior qualities and also on dog health --- one would suppose a "lazy" = "busy" person is not eager to spend extra time at the vet's treating health problems that could have been prevented in the first place.

I would recommend this book for those busy , often not at home, people who are relatively inexperienced with dogs but thinking of adopting one --- and for all of us who deal with and counsel such folk. (This was the book I loaned to my neigbor, a busy and somewhat impatient farmer, when he got 2 Akita puppies, as I knew it would be the one he would see as fitting his needs and lifestyle.)

The author has a web site .


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 6/5/03 revised 6/5/03
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