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Our Recommended Puppy Raising and Training Book List.

Before I give a recommended book list I just want to issue a cautionary note on the "Written Word" and "Training Methods".

-Books cannot not replace formal training classes as they cannot provide socialization, distraction, individual assessment or a hands on experience.

-There are no perfect books or trainers and some are better or worse then others.

-It is only the authors or trainers opinion on a method of training based in their own experiences and/or on research which they have a vested interest in promoting.

-Not everything they believe is going to be correct nor is any one type of training method going to be correct every time, for every dog, for every situation. Using a varied and balanced training philosophy will give you options in your dog training toolbox to work through difficult issues.

-Using "Positive Only" or "Correction Only" based methods may get you results but they may not always be the results that you want.

There is a vast difference of opinion in what some "Experts" consider a correction ranging from causing physical and mental harm to just giving a corrective verbal cue. Before joining any one side over the other make sure you have a clear understanding of the key concepts in operant conditioning and the difference between positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. They may not be what you think they are or even what the author/trainer thinks they are. One thing is certain though, proper dog training never involves inflicting emotional fear or physical abuse.

It would be beyond the scope of this posting for me to address this subject matter in detail and there are many people much more knowledgeable on the subject than I so the best advice that I could give you is to educate yourself as much as possible using an open mind; To understand what is conducive to learning and what is not, To use your own common sense, To learn how to correctly read your dogs signals, actions and body language.

To make it a priority to keep skills training fun for both you and the dog.

Always remember four principles 1) in life there are always rewards and natural consequences for our actions. 2) In nature everything runs perfectly when it is in complete balance. 3) This is your puppy who you are solely responsible for in regards to teaching and protecting. Do not do anything that makes you feel like it is dangerous or harmful to your puppy. 4) You have the right to question what you are being advised to do and have the final word no matter what the writers or trainers resume is.

I always highly recommend reading is Growing Up FDSA a free e-book that you can safely download and is chock-full of articles written by many different FDSA instructors. In it, you'll get tips and help learning to survive your puppy's first year.

Play Training Your Dog

by Patricia Gail Burnham In my opinion it is an essential addition to every dog-owner's library. Although an older book it was a revolutionary book in it's time and one of the books that helped me on my path to become a more balanced trainer when moving away from the traditional more correction based training to the more current and enjoyable training methods. While directed more towards competition obedience, instead of day-to-day manners and while there are now more modern methods to teach an exercise it is a good balance between Traditional Training and Positive Only training. It is also an excellent casual read if you enjoy reading training books.

My Smart Puppy: Fun, Effective, and Easy Puppy Training (Book includes a DVD) by Brian Kilcommons

A sound and practical step by step book that covers all the basics in good detail and when combined with clicker training methods will help you produce a well trained dog with appropriate manners. It is also an excellent casual read if you enjoy reading training books. If this book can't be located Good Owners, Great Dogs by the same author is comparable.

The Puppy Primer by Patricia B. McConnell Designed as guide for positive-based training classes or for new dog owners flying solo information about the benefits of positive reinforcement AND the importance of realistic expectations. Topics include -Socialization - Positive Reinforcement - House Training - Crate Training - Handling/Collar Touch - How to Stop Unwanted Behavior - Helping Puppies Conquer Their Fears - How Play Teaches Obedience and Emotional Control - How Not to Play! - Tricks and Games - Adolescence - Sit - Down - Stand - Come - No Jumping Up - Walking Side by Side - Games like Fetch, Find the Toy, etc. - Take It/Drop It - Puppy Pause Clicking with Your Dog: Step-By-Step in Pictures by Peggy Tillman A good illustrated Clicker book with step by step instructions. This book is a great start to teaching the foundations in more then just general manners training allowing you to use both the capture method and the shaping method.

The Focused Puppy by Deborah Jones & Judy Keller (Fun, Obedience, Consistency, Unbelievable Success) This book presents a variety of foundation exercises for your pup's first year using training system designed to address the developmental stages and specific needs of pups and young dogs.

When Pigs Fly!: Training Success with Impossible Dogs by Jane Killion Designed to train more difficult breeds that were developed to work independently but if it works for these types of dogs think what it can do for you with a dog who has been bred to work with and to please people! Total Recall by Pippa Mattinson Step by step instructions on creating a powerful and permanent response to the "come" and "here" command.


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