* Dog Trainer’s Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet (the)

Benal - Dog traers complete guidePUBLISHING YEAR: 2011

SUMMARY: Based on a podcast series, the book gives science-based, powerful, and force-free tips on how to raise a polite and well-adjusted dog.

AUDIENCE: Although pet owners are the target audience, professionals will find themselves recycling her analogies and explanations when talking to clients.

01 Owner

REVIEW: One thing kept going through my mind as I was reading the book: “How does she get it so right?” The Dog Trainer’s Guide . . . mixes together just the right quantity of just the right ingredients:

  • Scope: She tackles a huge set of issues. Whatever dog behaviour problem you can think of, she covers it.
  • Depth: She analyzes each topic without oversimplification or oversight.
  • Style: She keeps the reader interested, nay, addicted, with her chatty tone. She formulates technical concept in a compelling, visual, lively way.
  • Humour: She is slap-your-thigh/laugh-out-loud/spit-out-your-coffee funny.
  • Research:She backs up her stuff with sound logic and full references.
  • Honesty: She covers controversial topics like dog parks, behaviour expertise, and punishment with fairness and transparency.

What makes this book the most special, to me, is the author’s gift as a science communicator. Somehow, she makes epigenetics and psychopharmacology look like child’s play. She also grand-slams it on tough concepts like dominance through transparent references and sound argumentation, all wrapped up in striking analogies. Her grasp of the underlying literature is awe-inspiring, leaving you with more references than you can possibly handle in one life-time.

Suggestions for improvement: If I had a magic wand and could make the book even more perfect, this is what I would change:

  1. The title doesn’t do it justice. The easy tone, solid research and practical reach should scream from the front page. Instead, the book sounds like another ill-researched training manual.
  2. Some topics were covered in excessive details (e.g. the recall). As a result, the book winds up a considerably longer reading project than similar books in the genre, like Jean Donaldson’s Culture Clash.

Conclusion: If you are involved with dogs professionally, this book is a must-read. It will patch up your theoretical knowledge, beef up your protocol collection, and power up your client communications. If you are a pet owner, the book will help you help your dog using kind and science-based tips and techniques.

As for me? It has become my all-time favorite dog book. I won’t say this lightly, so here it comes: Jean Donaldson’s Culture Clash has finally met its worthy match.

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Author: Benal Jolanta
Genre: owner manual, pop science
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