Dog Training 101, by Kyra Sundance (2017)

Nonfiction
13-Adult
Dog Training 101, by Kyra SundanceAt not quite a year and a half, my dog is still a puppy, so life with her is all about training, ideally having fun while doing it. Positive training is about finding ways to reinforce the behaviour you want, so when I spotted this book on the new titles shelf at our library, I snapped it up. I’m not familiar with author Sundance, though she has a good backlist. This is one of the best positive training books I’ve found, as the instructions for each element are clear, simple, and short. I’ve already used a few of the instructions and found success. The book is ideal for someone like me, still going through the basic training stage, as opposed to more advanced tricks like getting the dog to push a snowblower (I’m not kidding – see our British Columbian sensation Morgan!). Anyway, this book is aimed at trainers with puppies, as it devotes half the book to basic puppy training from potty training and car rides to leash walking and the important “leave it” command (Rigby is still working on that one). Sundance has focused the training for each element into a simple two-page spread, which includes a brief set of instructions, typically from three to five steps, several photos illustrating each step, tips on what to watch for and dealing with common stumbling blocks. She makes note of any prior learning requirements (e.g., teach sit before down), and suggests methods to help a dog more easily learn a command, such as using a pedestal for stay. She covers household training, socializing and basic commands for indoor and out. There is a good “troubleshooting” section, where readers can find suggestions on managing typical problem behaviour such as excessive barking or jumping on guests, and a section to help fearful dogs learn to be brave. Sundance offers six appropriate games including tips on playing tug, fetch, and learning the names of family members. Finally, the book concludes with a short section on stuff you might not know, such as weird but okay behaviours, common poisons, and how to save your choking pup with a doggy heimlich manoeuvre. Highly recommended once you have decided to welcome a pup into your life, and useful even for those with older dogs.

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