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my personal DogWise bookshelf

June 14, 2017 | 6 Minute Read

Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs introduces the - usually inexperienced - reader to the definition of clicker training, positive reinforcement (via rewards) and finally into the world of ‘clicking’ in practice. The guidebook includes the most important information about shaping of behavior such as loose leash walking, targeting, entering/leaving through a door, as well as teaching the basic commands like sit, lay down, recall. Summing up the above - it helps getting accustomed to the material required for puppy training. 101 ideas for playing with the carton box is ‘obligatory’ to start the adventure with dog tricks and practice the dog’s creative thinking.
Karen Pryor is the pioneer when it comes to reward based behavior modification and the clicker as a training tool. Thanks to her experience with dolphin training (where the whistle was used instead of the clicker) and methods radically opposed to ‘standard’ ones, Karen was able to create the term clicker training and settle it for good in the trainer society, additionally making it popular especially among dog trainers together with the clicker itself.
That guide accompanied me during the education of the first puppy in my life and motivated to ‘click’ first dog behaviors.
Karen Pryor wrote one more - Don’t Shoot the Dog. The New Art of Teaching and Training is directed to advanced in that kind of training and/or actively using a clicker readers. That book is aimed to lead the reader into the nuances of behavior methods and behavior modifications with rewards (in place of typical punishment). It teaches how such methods work not only in animal-human relation but also in case of people in their daily life - parents and children, employees and employers, students and teachers, athletes and their trainers etc. Publication worth reading, I recommend to try it.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training is a worthwhile book about training, conditioning, reinforcement and the clicker. Besides standard information on mentioned topics the guidebook includes plenty others like differences between positive and ‘traditional’ training, puppy socialization rules based on positive reinforcement, communication basics and how dogs learn at all. Topics related to obedience or education are supported by hints and tips. The author didn’t forget about kennel cages and crate games, presence of another dog in the house (fights, resource guarding), dog-child communication, advice on various problematic behaviors - all of the problems were placed in that guide, additionally supplemented by forms of the Shamu method described in the part of the book that covered the Premack principle.
Pamela Dennison is another trainer rejecting the standard training methods in favor of training based on conditioning by rewards. She successfully employs both as in the case of aggressive dogs as with regular less problematic (or not problematic at all) cases.
Thanks to the birilliant Shamu method my young dog started it’s own journey with self-control some time ago.

Inki Sjosten comes from Scandinavia. She’s the world leader in obedience. In training she follows the rule It’s not the dog who’s wrong, the handler is at fault and the system of joggling prizes based on the 4 leaf clover where the petals are rewards - social contact, food, playing with the dog (i.e. with a tug toy) and playing with the ball (i.e. retriving).
General Obedience is the publication full of information regarding dog-leader relations, dog education, daily rules, communication, active walks, training plan and basic knowledge about the dog (in 2006). Important elements are touched upon during the learning process - the dog’s name, praise, verbal correction, recall (dog games propositions included). Besides the knowledge about the dog, it includes additional information on healthcare, propositions on brain training for the dog, tracking instructions, and finally an unique improvement program designed for the handler/leader as well as for the group of dog people (whole training course can be prepaired for the training group).
Another pocket sized book which helped me multiple times since the very beginning and even now I’m going back to it sometimes. Must-have for every active dog owner.

Positive Dog Training /Pozytywne szkolenie psów/ is written by Barbara Waldoch - longstanding professional Polish trainer with clicker experience. Despite its small size, it contains a plenty of details about the positive training methods - equipment (clicker, target), essentials (classical and operant conditioning conception), reinforcement/punishment description and practice (commands, schemes). That relatively small pocket book includes a full range of tasks from those common (e.g. focus on the handler) to the advanced obedience exercises (eye contact, heeling, stay, fetch). The author remembered about preparing the dog to the show like for example showing teeth or standing still at position. The bonus featured 101 ideas for playing with the carton box appears again for clicker shaping practice, very useful 100 dog tricks ideas for boring afternoons and Polish PT [Companion Dog] competition rules.
That guidebook was an unplanned purchase that really surprised me. The knowledge included there is more than enough. Moreover, its features can inspire and motivate. I practiced a lot of dog training components basing exactly on that book. Information in there expanded (and solidified) my knowledge about behavior based dog training.

Victoria Stilwell is one of the most recognizable mass-media dog trainers. She shows up on TV, writes books, has a blog and supports her own dog training academy. According to her declaration she avoids the use of intimidation, physical punishment or fear as in the front of the camera as privately in home.
Her book was the first professional dogwise publication in my life. As a future dog’s owner I bought it right after seeing a few episodes of her TV show and read it before our first awaited puppy was born. I liked Victoria for her skills in approaching to animals, positive methods and clicker usage in practice as well as her apparition at all.
It’s Me or the Dog is an answer to the beginner’s dog owner questions (how to understand the dog, how to communicate, what food to give, how many times to dog walk) and a standard problems (potty training, playing rules, basic obedience and education). Especially her 10 tips seems to be worth to remember and can be helpful for starting everything related to dog-human or human-dog relations.
Polish edition (the only edition I had to do with) is perfect option for a present for a new puppy owner. Colorful illustrations, rational amount of knowledge to learn and clear solutions to understand, should make any basic dog training easier even if the owner is very beginning person.