Cover image for The dog whisperer : a compassionate, nonviolent approach to dog training
The dog whisperer : a compassionate, nonviolent approach to dog training
Owens, Paul, 1950-
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Publication Information:
Holbrook, Mass. : Adams Media, 1999.
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xvi, 240 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
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SF431 .O866 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
SF431 .O866 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Suggests a compassionate approach to dog training based on using affection, play, toys, and praise as a behaviorial reward, and includes advice on solving behavior problems.

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Library Journal Review

Owens, founder of Raise with Praise, Inc. and a certified evaluator for the Delta Society's Animal Assisted Therapy Program, has written a good, basic, reasonably priced introduction to dog training based upon rewarding "successive approximations" of correct behavior. Gone are the leash "pop" and harsher corrections of earlier obedience methods. Nonviolent dog training shapes appropriate behavior with rewards such as food and games. Incorrect behavior is punished by ignoring the dog and by verbal cues such as "oh-oh." There are chapters on clicker training, target stick training, and training gear such as collars and leashes; the nine ingredients of canine optimum health (high-quality diet, play, socialization, quiet time, exercise, employment, rest, training, and healthcare); and human-canine communication. How to teach "sit," "stay," "down," "stand," "come," "heel," "take it," and "drop it" are explained step-by-step and illustrated with photographs. For public libraries.√ĄFlorence Scarinci, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Excerpt from Chapter 1 Positive Training Works Within weeks after their birth, dogs know how to put their behinds on the floor (sit), lie down, stand, stay, bark and not bark, run and walk toward us (come), walk by our side (heel), and find things with their noses (track). We don't have to teach them any of this. All we have to do--mostly for safety purposes--is ask them to please inhibit their biting on certain objects, go to the bathroom outside, and do what they do naturally--run, dig, jump, bark-- when and where we request. Reward-Based Training Basically there are two ways to train an animal-- with physical force and coercion, which is often aversive, or with rewards, which is certainly easier on both dog and human and actually personifies kindness. It's the age-old idea of getting an animalto do something by beating her with a stick or rewarding her with a carrot. I tell people that the choice they have to make is to either jerk, hit, shock, and/or shake their dog to get desired behaviors -- or give rewards. Which is more humane? Which is easier, quicker, and, in the long run, more effective? Over the last few decades, thousands of dog trainers have discovered that the use of positive training answers these questions. In addition, there are many positive behavior modification programs now in use at the leading veterinary schools of behavior at the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, Cornell, University of California at Davis, and many others. They have found negative training to be unsafe, unnecessary, and ineffective in the long run. A study in England by the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science at the University of Bristol in 2004 strongly supports the value of positive training over aversive methods, which include physical punishment: "Because reward-based methods are associated with higher levels of obedience and fewer problematic behaviors, we suggest that their use is a more effective and welfare-compatible alternative to punishment for the average dog owner." This book is about using "carrots"--that is, praise, food treats, toys, massage, social interaction, play, affection. The process we use to teach our dogs to sit is as important as the result. The training methods we use are important not only because of what we are doing to our dogs, but also because of how they affect us as human beings. Aversive training says to the dog, "Do this or something bad will happen to you." Positive training suggests the opposite, "Do this and something good will happen." The difference between the two types of raining is the consequences that are involved. In reward-based dog training fear, pain, force, and submission do not exist. With aversive methods, you are taught to jerk, hit, pin, shock, or shake the dog to correct him when he does something you don't want him to do. You also jerk, hit, shock, or shake him every time you want him to do something. Eventually he does what you want him to do because he wants to avoid the pain and/or discomfort. Then you gradually reduce the number of times you jerk, shock, hit, pin or shake him because he starts "behaving." Aversive training fosters fear. Sometimes jerking on the leash is referred to by euphemisms such as leash correction or jerk correction. But a jerk on the leash is a jerk, no matter what you call it. If too much force is used, dogs can get injured. If the jerk is poorly timed or if the collar is placed incorrectly, once again the dog can get injured. Mistimed jerking often communicates messages that have nothing to do with the dog's pulling or other "misbehaviors" that the handler is trying to correct. Often it is used as a result of the human's frustration and hence becomes redirected human aggression. The result is confusion and frustration for both the dog and the handler. Sadly, the frustration often leads to anger and even more force is usually employed. It's a vicious cycle. Jerking can lead to injuries such as neck and spinal damage, which can sometimes take years to manifest. Jerking also creates the potential for emotional trauma, which, of course, translates into even more behavioral problems. According to behavioral expert William Campbell, a jerk on the leash doesn't have to be forceful to inflict an injury to your dog. He says that tests indicate that even a normal jerk can inflict 15 pounds of concentrated shock at 33 feet per second to a dog's spine and throat. Campbell also quotes a landmark survey by Anders Hallgren in 1992 which revealed that 252 out of 400 dogs examined by a chiropractor had misaligned spines. Among the 252 dogs with spinal problems, 65 percent also had behavior problems, while only 30 percent of the dogs without spinal injuries had behavior problems. Of the dogs in the survey that were labeled as aggressive or hyperactive, 78 percent had spinal problems. While some training methods limit the use of aversive force to a jerk on the leash, other methods include extreme abuse. They include hanging in the air by a choke collar until the dog actually passes out, holding the head under water to keep the dog from digging in a hole, rubbing the nose in excrement, kicking to hurry the dog along, hitting the dog's nose with a rubber hose, pinching the ear with a contraption that AE4places the ear between a wooden dowel and a bottle cap, zapping the dog with electricity, and much worse. Several years ago there was a court case against someone accused of animal cruelty because he corrected his dog by biting him. His defense was that it is natural for one dog to bite another dog as a form of correction and he was just doing what he felt Mother Nature intended. He lost his case. Although rare, this was not an isolated instance as I've heard of other cases in which people actually bit dogs as part of the so-called training process. Using physical punishment with fearful or aggressive dogs is dangerous and unnecessary. Behavioral science has shown that suppressing behavior, especially through physical force or the threat of force, does nothing to bring confidence to a fearful dog or calm an aggressive dog, it only suppresses that behavior (out of fear) in that particular situation. Physical punishment involves applying a physical aversive to reduce the probability of the behavior continuing. "Flooding" refers to physically forcing a dog into an overwhelming situation he is afraid of until the dog "shuts down" or the behavior is suppressed. I do not promote or advocate these methods. The alternative to this type of training--the choice that I advocate--is positive training. Positive training uses rewards and gentle persuasion to get your dog to do what you want. For example, if you reward a dog every time you want him to do something, he'll start responding more and more to get the reward. That's what dogs do. Gradually you stop rewarding him every single time and, eventually he'll continue doing what you want just on the chance that a reward is coming his way. Think of it this way: If I gave you $10,000 every time you sat on a particular chair whenever you came over to my house, where would you sit? And how often would you be visiting me? To keep you motivated, I might decide to offer other great stuff from time to time, such as an expensive watch, tickets to the Super Bowl, or a vacation in Bermuda. Eventually you might decide it's really worthwhile visiting me and sitting on that particular chair. Even if I don't give you stuff you might decide you actually like my company because, besides being generous, I'm a great guy! So let's say I then start giving you something really great every second or third time you come over. Just the anticipation of a possible reward would keep you coming. After all, did you ever see a person in Las Vegas being forced to play a slot machine? In the end, the possibility of a reward is all that's needed to keep people coming back. It is up to every individual to observe for themselves the methods a trainer uses and then decide whether they are comfortable using them with their dog. Excerpted from The Dog Whisperer: A Compassionate, Nonviolent Approach to Dog Training by Paul Owens, Norma Eckroate All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Michael W. Fox, D.V.M.
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Part I The Basics of Dog Training
Chapter 1 Nonviolence Works!p. 3
Chapter 2 The 9 Ingredients for Optimum Health and Growthp. 17
Chapter 3 Stress and Your Dog's Behaviorp. 51
Chapter 4 The Human Emotion and Dog Behavior Link: The Bridge of Breathp. 57
Chapter 5 How to Speak "Dog"--Opening Doors of Communicationp. 73
Chapter 6 How Dogs Learnp. 87
Chapter 7 The 8 Tools of Dog Trainingp. 111
Chapter 8 Training Gear: Collars, Leashes, Clickers, Target Sticks, and Kennelsp. 121
Chapter 9 Safety for Your Dog and Familyp. 129
Part II The Lessons
The Learning Baselinep. 139
How to Work with These Lessonsp. 140
Sitp. 153
Magnet Gamep. 159
Lie Downp. 161
Standp. 166
Stayp. 167
Hide-and-Seek Gamep. 168
Find itp. 168
Go to Your Spotp. 170
Get Off the Couchp. 175
Come When Calledp. 175
Quietp. 179
Heelingp. 183
Walking Without Pullingp. 186
Stopp. 188
Take It and Drop Itp. 193
Part III Dealing with Problem Behaviors
Causes of Problem Behaviorsp. 199
Unintentional Trainingp. 201
How to Handle Problem Behaviorsp. 203
Appendix A Nonviolence Works! In schoolsp. 219
Appendix B Associations and Organizationsp. 221
Appendix C Product Suppliersp. 225
Appendix D Suggested Books, Videos, and Seminarsp. 229
Indexp. 235