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The Power of Positive Dog Training

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,592 ratings  ·  83 reviews
The Power of Positive Dog Training is the best book yet on explaining how and why purely positive training works. Inside, you'll find easy to read discussion of the philosophy of positive training followed by training tips and exercises. This book is geared toward the dog owner who wants to develop a relationship with their dog based on friendship and positive reinforcemen ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published August 29th 2001 by Howell Book House (first published January 1st 2001)
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 ·  1,592 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Tim The Enchanter
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 4-stars
If anything, this book has convinced me that Positive Dog Training is the method to employ. It provides a very detailed look at the reasoning and effectiveness of positive reinforcement training. This is helpful for someone who wants to know more than the method of training but wants to know why they are doing what they are doing. It also give some very detailed information on teaching specific commands and a suggested order.

In my case, I was reading this on my Kindle. While I love my ereader, I
I think this really is the go-to book for learning about positive training and how to implement it with your dog. I've never beat around the bush with indicating that I'm very pro-positive training and I think Pat Miller is one of the best.

The book begins with a little bit about Pat's history of training, namely that she was a "traditional" trainer at one point, which many were. Traditional trainers focus more on aversives and punishments: leash pops, choke chains, and the like. It tells briefly
Justin Podur
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
I thought this book was quite good. I have always been opposed to (and appalled by) the use of punishment in teaching and training; so, I am a natural sympathizer of the 'positive' school of thought. The training methods and ideas in this book are specific, and solid, and seem to be proven in the field too. My only question about the behaviourist framework, which I am going back and forth about, is, to what extent does behaviourist training, even the positive kind, waste the innate potentials of ...more
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me many years ago when I asked for advice on a dog forum for training my corgi mix myself (without a dog trainer). I was told that Pat Miller really is one of the best in the field, and when I purchased the book I was not disappointed. I found it at a used bookstore for a dollar or so, and was told I was really lucky to find it there and so cheaply, too. Upon reading it, I understood why. This book guided me through my early years with my corgi mix, and because of it ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible, audiobook
A lot of this was familiar to me because my dogs had the benefit of a “positive” trainer. This book not only told you how to train your dogs without punishment but why you should. It was a lot of “preaching to the choir” for me, but I did learn some new things and discovered some things I’m doing wrong. The narration was good but this is a book I wish I had a paper or kindle copy of so I could refer back to it more easily.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
My new baby, Harriet, will be coming home from the breeder in two weeks. As a result, I’m reading five books on positive reinforcement-based puppy training and comparing them for anyone trying to decide which of the most popular puppy books to read. Links are below.

The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete

Before and After Getting Your Pupppy by Ian Dunbar

How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days by Shirlee Kalstone

Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution by Zak George


Pat Miller is a classic
Jan 07, 2021 added it
Shelves: unfinished, audiobook
I listened to this as an audiobook on loan from my library. The first part of the book was great to listen to as it talked about the general ideas and theories behind positive dog training. The latter half of the book consisted of detailed instructions for training exercises and games. I can see how a physical copy of this book would be great to have on hand for reference as you are slowly training your dog but doesn't quite work as an audiobook, so I stopped listening about 3/4 of the way throu ...more
Sara Bakhshi
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This was suggested for trading dogs by some of my friends. It was good but I've read better ones. ...more
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference-often
This book has excellent insight into how dog brains work and how they process things, which I have found extremely useful in training my second dog, who was far more difficult than my first. It has a premise, that positive training is more effective than other methods, which exploit fear and pain avoidance behavior to achieve the same result. This premise makes sense to me, since pleasure seeking is complex and involves more of the brain than pain avoidance. But some of the suggested methods are ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every (potential or current) dog owner in the world
Shelves: ebook, dogs
I think every dog owner in the world needs to read this book.

My family has had dogs for pretty much all my life. None of the dogs have been well trained, and as a result, we've had many problematic behaviors in our dogs. We've had:

1) A big mutt who lived in the yard and never listened to anybody
2) A dachshund who would pee a little whenever he got attention and was afraid to go on walks
3) A medium sized mutt who would pull really hard on walks and occasionally get aggressive towards strangers
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book and am sure I will refer back to it many times. I think the way she discusses both shaping and luring with the clicker as a marker is very useful because it both gives the distinction between the two clearly and gives you options for which one you'd like to use.

I liked how the exercises were laid out and made into games, I think that would make things more accessible to people who may be less experienced with training. I will probably recommend it to people for that reas
Lori Kobayashi
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am 100% convinced that positive dog training is not only effective, but fun for you and your dog!
This is a great book for people who are not familiar with positive training, as well as for people who have some experience with it but need/want more guidance.
I can't wait for the second edition to come out!
Sean Howard
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
If I had to recommend a book to someone on how to better train their dog, and I could only recommend one, this is it. In fact, I give this book to my clients. Clear, concise, easy-to-follow and the most powerful methods for truly-dog-friend, positive reinforcement training.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very informative and really helped me with my dog. There is a new edition published 2008
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dog-training, dogs
First book I've read about dogs and training them and this book is very good. I'm far from being an expert, but I did do some research on what to read on this subject and Pat Miller came up a lot and with good reason. It is clearly written, very practical and always with explanations as to why (or why not) you should do things in a particular way.

As a future dog owner, I did find part 3 "Ain't Misbehavin': Addressing behavior Challenges" more useful now than part 2, which is all about the exerci
Fred Herlihy
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really solid intro to dog training book. A lot of focus on really easy tricks and behaviors though. Some good insight but not anything particularly groundbreaking. What this book does well is using concise plain language explanations. Also a good amount of focus on free shaping was nice to see.

Not to dig into this book in particular but it is part of a larger trend of training manuals. This and other books fail to emphasize how much repetition and patience dog training is. This needs to be ham
Chris Coccaro
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Excellent book on training you to be a good dog owner. Unfortunately buying a pet doesn't require a license (it should), but if it did this would be a requirement of that license. Some major takeaways:

1) Your dog lives in the moment and does not remember what it did before that you're screaming about.
2) Negative reinforcement - crying out in anger at your dog, yelling or kicking, a slap on the nose - does almost nothing to stop bad behavior as the dog is never certain what exactly it did wrong.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, pets, own
More like a 4.5.

This book is awesome, I just wish it went into a little more depth on certain things. For example, I would have liked to know more about the different titles your dogs can earn and the different types of competitions they can enter. I would have also been interested in learning how to teach more tricks than the few that she went over. Overall though, it did a really good job of covering a huge variety of things, everything from housebreaking to aggression to clicker training. I a
Paisley Green
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve never trained a puppy by myself, so I was looking for some good resources to help me with my new Bernese puppy. This book advocates for positive reinforcement training, which uses praise and treats to reward dogs for doing well, not punish them for doing unwanted behaviors. Positive training is crucial for training a companion, not a submissive, fearful dog—especially Bernese, who are very people-motivated. This book is an excellent resource for what I needed, and I’ll be using a lot of the ...more
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book - really good introduction to the principles of positive dog training, and super simple. What I particularly liked is that she has a 5 week breakdown of training recommendations, and has weekly planners included so you can put together your own schedule and comments! Additionally, Miller has an appendix that contains recommended cues for some key commands. Ultimately, it's just a great way of diving into dog training when you don't have the time (or knowledge!) to develop your own f ...more
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library, free
I thought this was a really nice overview of dog training and how it should be done. There's a section on specific commands to teach your dog, as well as a section on fixing common problem behaviors. There was the occasional thing that felt a little questionable to me, but overall I thought it was good and explained the reasoning behind the way we train dogs. ...more
Belle Beth Cooper
Solid, but not amazing

Lots of stuff I'd read or seen in videos elsewhere, but nice to have it all in one place, with a clear progression to follow. The specific training skills section will be a handy future resource.
Jen Medos
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good all round book for basic info and training... I just found a lot of the information was not new to be so kind of a slog to get through. Would be a great book for a new dog owner or prospective dog owner.
This book makes so much sense to me, and offers a more systematic framework for thinking about how we interact with our recently-adopted dog. The instructions are clear, give options, and always reflect compassion and respect for both dog & human partners in training.
Will G
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lays out the theory of clicker training.
Sumi Singh
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew and loved dogs pretty well. Turns out I had much to learn. This book gave me a wealth of information and I feel empowered to train my dog the positive way.
Tony Delgado
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty clear and easy to follow.
Monisa Nandi
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Must read for all serious professional dog trainers.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
It was informative, but I listened to it on an audiobook while I’ve been driving for work and the narrator was so dull!
Sep 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
One of the worst dog training books ever.
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