Understanding and handling aggression

sykes_understanding_handlingPUBLISHING YEAR: 2001

SUMMARY: Loose coverage of one dog’s progress from severe aggression, suffused with author’s opinion on training methods.

AUDIENCE: Dangerously open to literal application by beginning trainers dealing with dog aggression, I would recommend interpreting it with great caution. Experienced trainers will probably not benefit from this book given its shaky factual grounds and haphazard practical coverage.

REVIEW: I hesitated to write a review on this book, as I did not enjoy it much, and I’d like to re-read it and give it a chance (perhaps I misinterpreted some of it?).

It certainly did not give me what I was looking for: a comprehensive and detailed protocol to deal with dog aggression.

Rather, it contained ad-hoc, at times shallow, anecdotes, about the author’s management of one particular case: a Border Collie rescue dog reactive to humans.

I also was not entirely sure who the intended audience was: professionals or dog owners?

The author’s stance on disputed subjects (yep, dominance) had an outdated flavour to it, and was on the dogmatic side, in my view. The author did not attempt to support her very arrested opinions with reference to research.

After reading some chapters, I was left with the same feeling of frustration I have after speaking with more old-school dog trainers who view dog being a dog with suspicion (e.g. chewing toys, tug-of-war games, rough-housing, etc.). This conflicts diametrically with my own views, which is to ‘let a dog live its dogness’ as much as is practical, to avoid the frustration of these drives.

I also found that it offered little in the way of a clear description of the protocol she followed to cure the problematic Border Collie.

So perhaps I’ve missed the point entirely, but I would not recommend this book if you’re after some academic support for your dog aggression protocols.

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Author: Sykes Barbara
Genre: professional manual
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