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Positive Dog Training

Helping Dogs And Families Live in Harmony

Behavioral Training

Behavior Modification: What It Is And How To Do It, 8th Edition

by Garry L. Martin, Joseph Pear
This is a college level text book. It is geared toward two audiences: 1) college and university students taking courses in behavior modification, applied behavior analysis, behavior therapy, the psychology of learning, and related areas; and 2) students and practitioners of various helping professions who are concerned directly with enhancing various forms of behavioral development. This is stated in the Preface of the text book.

Behavior Modification… is not written for animal behavioral training. However, the principles and theories do correspond to animal psychology. It covers the characteristics of behavior modification, the basic behavioral principles and procedures, and how to apply the methods discussed. If you are looking for a technical, college level text, this is an excellent book. However, I do not recommend this book if you are looking for material that is written specifically for pet owners.

Behavior Problems in Dogs

by William E. Campbell
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! William Campbell discusses the importance of understanding “problem” dogs, and how often times people and the environment can be creating, or contributing to the dog’s problems. He covers important topics such as physiology and behavior, nutrition, as well as the most common behavioral problems that dog owners experience. Campbell takes a holistic approach to pet dog behavior problems, and guides the reader through finding the root of the problem and then gives assistance with how to correct that malbehavior. I strongly recommend this book.

Beyond Obedience: Training with Awareness for You & Your Dog

by April Frost, Rondi Lightmark
Beyond Obedience is one of my favorite books on dog training. It is the first book I’ve read that incorporates animal communication, energy work, and spirituality into a dog training program. Frost teaches the reader about the importance of mutual respect, unconditional love, and expectations and priorities set by the dog owner. If you are interested in learning more about holistic approaches to dog training, or want to enhance the methods you are currently using, this is the book for you. I am highly impressed with Frost’s methods, and I incorporate many of her philosophies and teachings into my work. This book gets “two paws up”!

The Body Language of Horses

by Tom/ Ledbetter, Bonnie Ainslie
Experienced equestrians can read a horse like a book. For non experienced riders, that can be more of a challenge. If you are unaware of the body language of the horse you are working with, you could be putting yourself in danger.

This book is excellent for a first time horse owner/rider. It is imperative that whenever one is working with an animal, that body language be studied and understood.

Ainslie and Ledbetter take the guess work out and explain the nature of horses; their physical senses, needs and mental and social attibutes. Better yet, they describe all aspects of “horse language”. After reading this book, you will be able to detect a happy horse, healthy horse, frightened horse, angry horse, sick horse…the list goes on.

After describing the body language of the many different emotional states a horse may be in, the authors provide problem solving solutions, as well as helping your horse get beyond the issues that might be troubling him.

Whether you have a horse of your own, or are a leisurely rider, this book should be at the top of your list of books to read to better your horsemanship abilities. I give this book two paws up!

The Classical Seat, A Guide For The Everyday Rider (VHS)

Charles Hodge
The theory of classical riding is being “at one” and in harmony with the horse. In this first instructional video tape, Sylvia demonstrates the basic position for the rider and emphasises the idea of balance and the rider having responsibility for his/her own weight. She also discusses the importance of respecting the horse’s back and mouth.

Some of the techniques demonstrated are “working the horse deep”, and encouragaing lengthening through the neck. Loch also shows proper leg and seat aids for collection, extension and lateral work.

Whether you are training for competition, or for the pure joy of riding, The Classical Seat is a very informative and enjoyable video tape to study.

The Classical Seat I, II & III Series DVD by Sylvia Loch A Guide for the Everyday Rider; Advancing the Novice Horse & Rider and Advancing the Elementary Horse & Rider

The Classical Seat Video Company
In this second video in Loch’s series, Sylvia works with a variety of students on either their own horses or Loch’s Portuguese schoolmaster horses.

A lot of detail is demonstrated with the preparatory work necessary to rebalance the horse. Loch shows correct and incorrect riding of circles, looking for common mistakes involved in applying the aids and understanding how to rectify them. She introduces the quarter pirouette and how to prepare the horse for lateral work.

During this video, Sylvia rides with her students, of varying levels, showing how to strive for a quiet balanced and elegant seat throughout these exercises. She demonstrates how a lack of force and an understanding of the mechanics of the horse is so important for all combinations.

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Horseback Riding

by Jessica Jahiel
Don’t let the title of this book keep you away. It is an intelligent guide packed with essential information for novice and expert riders alike. Jahiel has detailed sections devoted to “Getting Started”, “Basic Riding” and “Types of Riding”. She also writes about the importance of physical and mental fitness for both horse and rider.

Perhaps you are schooled in Western and you’d like to learn English-style riding, or vice versa. Jahiel discusses the saddles used in the various types of riding and jumping styles, along with providing advice on exercises that can help you become better fit for riding. She also gives clear descriptions of what the horse does and what the rider will need to do at the walk, trot and canter.

If you are looking to lease, buy or upgrade your horse, Jahiel gives tips on how to do this. She also goes into great detail on how to find a good instructor to fit your needs. If you pass this book up because of its title, you’re missing out on some great material. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Horseback Riding is a keeper!

The Culture Clash

by Jean Donaldson
Donaldson writes about more technical aspects of dog training. However, the content is written in a user-friendly format, so the material is easy to read and understand. This book covers important topics such as dog intelligence, innate characteristics, importance of socializing your dog, behavior problems and solutions, and how dogs learn. This book is an interesting read.

Dog Language: An Encyclopedia of Canine Behavior

by Roger Abrantes
Abrantes discusses the importance of dog behavior, and lists these behaviors in alphabetical order for easy reference. This book teaches the reader how to better understand what dogs do, and how one can express herself more clearly so dogs can better understand what we are asking of them. The 150+ drawings of dog expressions are extremely helpful with studying canine body-language.

Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution

by Raymond Coppinger, Lorna Coppinger
I invite you to reconsider the “wolf model” you were taught to compare dogs to. Coppinger’s book explains from a scientific and biological view why dogs are different from wolves, how they evolved to the dogs we know today, and how the relationship between people and their dogs can be more meaningful so both can benefit.

I had the opportunity to attend a two-day seminar by Ray Coppinger in October of 2001. During those two days, I achieved a new understanding about canine psychology and the biological needs and unique dispositions each breed and individual dog has. If you have an interest in canine evolution, this book should be at the top of your list. The Coppingers’ present a new theory that will surely interest animal biologists, breeders, animal behaviorists, veterinarians and of course, dog owners. This book gets two paws up!

Dogs Home Alone

by Roger Abrantes
This is a very short book outlining suggestions for teaching a dog to be home alone. Abrantes offers some beneficial exercises to help prevent this problem from occurring. Working with an animal behaviorist or dog trainer will also be helpful with implementing Abrantes’ recommendations. Dogs Home Alone is a good starting point for working through this type of behavior problem.

The Dog’s Mind: Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior (Howell reference books)

by Bruce Fogle
This book was excellent. Dr. Fogle discusses criticial factors that contribute to dog behavior. In Part One, he covers Anatomy and Physiology of the Dog’s Mind. Part Two is devoted to the Psychology of the Dog’s Mind. I was very interested in the technical aspects of the book. The content was clearly written so no matter what your background, you will understand how the canine mind works. If you are interested in the psychology of dog behavior, you will definitely want to read this book.

Dogwise: The Natural Way to Train Your Dog

by John Fisher
Dogwise is a book about helping owners manage canine behavior problems. Fisher demonstrates his methods on a young German shepherd being trained for police work. The methods used are force-free. Fisher teaches the dog to learn and understand commands, to get him to think for himself and make the right choice, and Fisher discusses his methods with instructions and step-by-step photographs. Whether you subscribe to the “leader of the pack” theory or not, you will find this book beneficial for learning force-free training methods.

Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining in Plain English How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach Them

by Pamela J. Reid
Excel-Erated Learning was one of the first books I read when I began my studies in animal psychology. I found the content to be well written and very organized, so novices and experts could follow the theory behind the learning capabilities of canines.

Reid discusses in detail the difference between classical and operant conditioning. She also describes the many factors that affect learning, and how to apply learning principles to modifying behavior. If you want a consise book that uses academic terms, but is written in plain English, you will want to obtain a copy of this book. I highly recommend it.

Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog

by John Paul Scott, John L. Fuller
Canine behavior studies are not common in research laboratories. Scott and Fuller’s study of dog behavior was concluded over 30 years ago. They established critical socialization periods for puppies, and were able to document the critical role heredity plays in the development of behavior. They found that heredity affects almost every trait they tested in a controlled setting. This was a fascinating look at a comprehensive study of dog behavior. If you have been searching for a book with documented research, this is definitely a book you should check out.

Horses Don’t Lie: What Horses Teach Us About Our Natural Capacity for Awareness, Confidence, Courage, and Trust

by Chris Irwin
I thoroughly enjoyed Irwin’s book from start to finish. He shares his experience with the spiritual connection between people and horses. Irwin also discusses the importance of communicating with horses in an empathetic and patient manner. He details the meaning of equine body language and how horses cue off of their rider. Equine enthusiasts of all levels will appreciate and enjoy Chris Irwin’s approach to training horses. His book will take you on a spiritual journey that will make you a better horse trainer, and friend to your equine companion. Horses Don’t Lie is a quick read, with a lot of useful information.

Jumping from A to Z: Teach Your Dog to Soar

by M. Christine Zink
If you are a serious competitor in a canine sport, this book is indispensible! Dr. Zink discusses everything from evaluating canine structure, to how the structure of the dog affects his jumping style. She outlines a detailed three level Jump Training Program, as well as providing recommendations for proper conditioning of your canine athlete. Dr. Zink dedicates a chapter to the top three areas of competition jumping, Obedience, Agility and Flyball. The final chapter is devoted to “jumping problems”. Even if you are not competing with your canine friend, but you train in a sport for fun, I highly recommend obtaining a copy of this book. The variety of jump sequences Dr. Zink provides can add a fun approach to your training session.

I’ve used a few of the jump training techniques with my own dogs, and I found them to be not only beneficial, but it certainly added a new and enjoyable twist to our training session. This book gets “two paws up”!

Learning and Behavior Fifth Edition

by Paul Chance
This college text book is an excellent introduction to the psychology of learning and behavior, hence the title of the book. Even though this book is intended for “human” psychology, the information is quite applicable to animal psychology as well.

Chance’s book walks the reader through the “study of learning and behavior” and the theories behind Pavlovian and Operant procedures.Chance also discusses the psychology of “vicarious learning, generalization, discrimination and stimulus control”.

Animal trainers will find Chapter 10 very helpful, as Chance covers “schedules of reinforcement”, which are extremely important in the teaching process.

Whether you are an instructor or a student involved in dog or horse training, this book is a valuable resource. Learning and Behavior is packed with a lot of theory which will help you understand how animals learn, and perhaps help you become a better trainer.

On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals

by Turid Rugaas
Have you often wondered why dogs exhibit certain behaviors? Why does your dog turn his head when another dog is approaching him? Does your dog yawn when you hold her too tight or when you come up to hug her? These are samples of the kinds of questions Turid Rugaas answers in this comprehensive book. Rugaas teaches the reader how to use dogs’ own calming signals to help train and manage pet behaviors. After reading this book, you will look at your canine companion’s behavior and body posture in a whole different light. This is essential reading for anyone who works with dogs.

Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete

by Marcia R. Schlehr
Note: Schlehr is the illustrator and Zink is the author. Amazon has Schlehr listed as the author.

Zink’s book is the first book I’ve read that is written for people who are training their dogs for athletic events. However, it’s not intended for people who are solely competing. This book is extremely helpful for dog owners who want to learn more about having a healthy canine companion. There are wonderful illustrations throughout the book that you will find helpful, and the information provided is a valuable resource for pet owners, training enthusiasts, and professional dog trainers. This book is indispensable. Two paws up!

Pet Behavior Protocols: What to Say, What to Do, When to Refer

by Suzanne Hetts, Suzanne Hetts PhD
This book should be on the shelf of every animal behaviorist, veterinarian, breeder, and trainer. Hetts discusses the basic foundation of animal behavior theory, and provides step-by-step guidelines for implementing solutions to pet problems. A few of the more common issues Hetts addresses are destructive behavior problems, canine escape and barking problems, fears and phobias, feline scratching problems, and a very difficult topic to address, the dilemma of using euthanasia as a a method for dealing with severe behavior problems. This book will be most beneficial to those who work as an animal behavior consultant.

The Power of Positive Dog Training

by Pat Miller
Pat Miller is one of the few dog trainers that I can actually relate to her positive training style. Her positive training principles are very similar to my beliefs on how animals should be trained.

In Miller’s book, you will read about her principles, the importance of building a positive foundation with your dog and most importantly, she advocates NOT using force when training your dog.

You will learn the techniques necessary to help your dog become a well-behaved, well-socialized pooch: Everything from basic pet training, such as teaching a dog to “sit”, “down” and “wait”, to more advanced training that is used when teaching tricks and upper level obedience skills. In Part III, Miller addresses behavior challenges.

I wish this book was available when Igot my first German shepherd, Banjo in 1993. A lot has changed since then. I’m happy to say that training is changing for the better! This book gets two paws up!

Riding in Your Mind’s Eye: Getting Started

by Jane Savoie
Getting Started examines the rider’s position. It also covers the movements and exercises required of the Training Level horse including: alternating from rising to sitting trot, upward and downward transitions, 20-meter circles, shallow loops in the trot, changes of the direction, and transitions from medium walk to free walk and back again. Being a novice rider myself, I found Tape 1 to be extremely helpful, as proper balance is essential to being an effective rider. I’m giving this two paws up!

Riding in Your Mind’s Eye: First Level

by Jane Savoie
First Level of this series covers the movements and exercises required of the First Level horse including: 10-meter circles in the trot, 15-meter circles in the canter, trot serpentines, taking the reins out of the hands, lengthenings, leg yielding, changes of lead through the trot and counter canter.

Even if you are still mastering the exercises from the first tape, this tape is quite helpful, as it shows what your next step is as a balanced rider. Both tapes are excellent and I highly recommend both.

There Are No Problem Horses, Only Problem Riders

by Mary Twelveponies
As Mary Twelveponies writes in her introduction, “It is the hardest pill for all of us would-be horsemen to swallow, but it is absolutely true – if the horse is not responding properly, we are doing something wrong.”

I found this guide to horsemanship very helpful. As a novice rider, I am always seeking tips to help me understand the nature of horses and what I can do to prevent problems rather than having to solve problems later on.

Twelveponies covers everything from the basics of learning the horse’s language and basic training, to “problems under the saddle” such as the barnsour horse, horses that run away, rearing, biting, kicking and shying. The third part of the book is devoted to “problems on the ground” such as leading and tying, trailer loading and general problems in handling a horse.

If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned issues with your horse, you might consider picking up this book. I think even a professional horse trainer can pick up a tip or two from this guide to horsemanship.