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The Power of Positive Dog Training

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,431 ratings  ·  72 reviews
A renowned dog trainer gives you the positive training tools you need to share a lifetime of fun, companionship, and respect with your dog. Plus, you'll get: information on the importance of observing, understanding, and reacting appropriately to your dog's body language; instructions on how to phase out the use of a clicker and treats to introduce more advanced training c ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Howell Book House (first published January 1st 2001)
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Average rating 4.29  · 
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Tim The Enchanter
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 m
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 tell
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Justin Podur
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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

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 of positive dog training. She’s also . . . kind of . . . well, boring. Definitely the least interesting of the five, and somewhat wordy.

However, I did appreciate her walk-throughs for all the basic tricks. Those were helpful, and the other books didn’t focus on those as much.

She also breaks it down into time (i.e. “week one of your puppy, focus on these things) which was a helpful organization pattern for me.
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 aggres
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 f
Lori Kobayashi
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and really helped me with my dog. There is a new edition published 2008
Chris C
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 exac
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 t
Paisley Green
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Jen Medos
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Will G
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lays out the theory of clicker training.
Sumi Singh
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Pretty clear and easy to follow.
Aug 16, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog owners
It's a great book for people who own dogs. It helps you learn what they are trying to tell you.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent resource. Not certain one is ever really "finished" with it.
Kit A
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful practical advice and sanity-saving encouragement--I would recommend this book to anyone with a dog in their life.
Cyndie Courtney
As a veterinarian, it continues to alarm me how many trainers feel qualified in their books to give nutrition advice as if they were veterinarians or had advanced degrees in animal nutrition. In this case it was recommending raw bones and meat without any allusion to the possible significant health risks to people in the house from secondary exposure which is echoed by the CDC. This kind of advice is probably the #1 that disqualifies me from being about to recommend good training books without r ...more
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dog owners
This was a really great book on dog training using behavioral conditioning (I think that's what it's called. I read this a while ago.)

Don't Shoot the Dog is a better book (if we're going to compare the two) but this one is specifically geared towards dog training, and is quite valuable. You should read (and own) both.

The first third (if I recall correctly) describes the concepts involved. It was usefu
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog owners
Shelves: dog-behavior
If I could only recommend one dog training book, this would be it. The first part of the book is organized into a 6-week training program (appropriate for any age dog), with each chapter representing one week of training. Pat Miller suggests "Core Exercises" and "Bonus Games" for each week, and she explains how to avoid or deal with common problems. The rest of the book is divided into common "problem" scenarios, such as Housebreaking, Aggression, Socialization, etc. If you want a fuller explana ...more
Michelle Greene
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book if you want to get results and get them quickly. I use all of the methods in this book and I have 4 great dogs. There is some negative reviews on Amazon regarding giving treats and not giving negative reprimands. I feel like these are from people that are still using the old ways of training they grew up on that only result in fear.
This book not only talks about positive methods but explains why negative methods don't work or work poorly. She also demonstrates all
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn about positive reinforcement training.
Shelves: ebooks
Excellent book explaining the concept behind positive reinforcement based training. It is written clearly and simply without any unnecessary information that makes you want to nod off. The author also explains a bit about other training styles and how they differ, and includes a 6 week program that just about anyone can follow to teach their dogs several useful things via positive reinforcement. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn this method of training, and it's even good ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. Prior to it I did use traditional training methods; I hit my dog when she would go on the floor. I really hated doing it but everyone said it was the only way. It didn't really work, she went on the floor when I wasn't around her and she was afraid to go on walks or if I was in the yard. I started positive dog training and she no longer goes on the floor, she will go on walks, and she doesn't eat my books anymore so I don't have to hide them!!
Jan 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This book had a lot of good information about training with rewards and treats. It also gave some good psychological profiling of what dogs think/want. It was a little heavy handed at times(about every 3rd page the author noted, "After all, humans are suppose to be more intelligent then dogs.") Overall I liked it, agenda-setting put aside.
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“I would rather have cookies in my jacket pockets than a chain around my dog's neck.” 7 likes
“Even the submissive grin is misunderstood. Sadly, it can be mistaken for a snarl, and a dog may be labeled as aggressive who is actually anything but. It’s also often perceived as a doggy version of a happy smile—a less damaging interpretation, but still a misperception of a clearly subordinate display. Interestingly, the submissive grin is believed to be an imitation of the human smile, since dogs don’t normally display this behavior to each other, only to humans. While some behaviorists consider the grin to be an attention-seeking appeasement gesture, others consider it more of a threat-averting deference signal. In any case, it’s important to understand that the dog who grins is making a status statement—your rank is higher than hers—exhibiting neither an aggressive threat nor a relaxed, contented smile.” 0 likes
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