Kirsten's Reviews > Dog Whisperer

Dog Whisperer by Paul Owens
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's review
Jan 21, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, from-library
Read from January 11 to February 01, 2011

I really wanted to like this more than I did, because it came to me highly recommended, but I found myself wanting to shake Owens rather a lot.
The good: the training methods described herein, when Owens finally gets around to describing them in detail about 150 pages in, would probably work pretty well with just about any dog, and seem like they would be particularly good for dogs who are sensitive and food-motivated. I think you could probably eventually obtain relatively consistent behavior from even the most dumb dog on the planet, if you worked long enough using these methods. They also have the benefit of being pretty difficult to screw up: sure, you might end up with a dog who's poorly trained or who's been inadvertently trained into bad behaviors, but there is pretty much zero danger of actually hurting the dog (except possibly by making it obese through over-use of food rewards), and eventually you will probably see results. This also had one of the better explanations of the clicker method that I've come across, which is helpful.

The not-so-good, and also annoying: A lot of dogs are going to get really bored if the individual doing the training doesn't realize that the dog's capable of making cognitive leaps and might not need all the steps detailed. I personally felt that Owens acts as though both the dogs and the humans involved in the training are incredibly dumb. This might not be such a bad assumption to make, as a baseline when one is explaining things, but from someone who is supposedly writing about a more respectful method of training, I felt like there wasn't a whole lot of respect involved when it comes to trusting the intelligence of the dog and its person.

And speaking of intelligence... Ok, can someone recommend a book on positive training methods that doesn't, for example, have a whole chapter on how I need to do yoga breathing exercises before I work with my dog so that I'm in the right mindset? Or one that doesn't go off at length about psychic animals, acupuncture for dogs, and/or holistic everything-under-the-sun? I don't mean to be a jerk, but the woo-woo factor in this book annoyed the ever-loving p*ss out of me. I accept a certain woo-woo factor in pretty much every dog book, and even think that a certain amount of discussion of seeing things from the dog's POV is necessary, but still...

In all, I'm glad I read this, since I think it's good to get a lot of perspectives on dog training, and I would be very open to other suggestions.
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05/09 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Purlewe (new)

Purlewe I have never read any of Katz's training books, only his nonfiction about dogs. But I know he does do some training. I'll see if I can hunt one down for you.

Kirsten Thanks!

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