Readings

The books and other readings listed here are my acknowledgments. I owe these writers. I either learned from or was challenged in my thinking by them, or just loved them. You’ll find echoes of the ideas and information in them throughout my posts.

I was going to group them (‘dog training’, ‘dog behaviour’, ‘dog nutrition’, &c.), but then I got stuck with the pesky old question of how to categorise things. Things are always connected and can fit into many categories, and I always struggle with where to stick things in. So I decided to just list them alphabetically and write a short annotation, so that you can pick and choose when browsing.

Happy reading and browsing, and it would be great to hear your thoughts on these and other readings.

Bertilsson, Eva and Emelie Johnson Vegh. Agility Right From the Start: The Ultimate Training Guide to America’s Fastest Growing Dog Sport. 2010.
Leslie McDewitt, author of Control Unleashed, calls this a training bible for agility. It absolutely deserves this tag. It certainly is my current training bible. Fun, useful, instructive. Exactly the kind of book I wish I had when I first started agility.

Bradshaw, John. Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behaviour Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Dog. 2010. 
Bradshaw is an animal scientist who with this book wants to reintroduce us to what domestic dogs are by explaining their origin and biology and trying to do away with some outmoded theories about dogs and dog training. This book hit the book shelves and review sections big time. I think it has a lot of really important information in it, but I don’t find it all that revolutionary. The point that dogs, though related to wolves, are not wolves and hence our relationship does not have to be a desperate struggle for alpha maleship has been made many times, not least by Raymond and Lorna Coppinger in their still valuable book Dogs.

Handelman, Barbara. Canine Behaviour: A Photo Illustrated Handbook. 2008.
As the title says, a pictorial guide to canine behaviour, with 1000 often stunning photographs (including of wolves, coyotes and foxes) and explanations from behavioural science and personal experience. A good reference source about canine body language for anyone working with dogs.
For a longer review, click here.

Clothier, Suzanne. Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationship With Dogs. 2002.
Wonderful and informative. Not a training manual as such, but you’ll probably learn more about dog training than by doing a formal class.

McConnell, Patricia. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs. 2002. 
Training manual, introduction to dog evolution, genetics, behaviour and much more all in one. And, most importantly, a guide to human behaviour and how we can communicate better with our four-legged friends. Informative, funny, insightful, original, well-written … this is definitely a must-read-again book. Out of all the books on dogs and training I’ve read, this is still the one I would like to give to every dog owner.

Pryor, Karen. Don’t Shoot the Dog: the New Art of Teaching and Training. 2002 (rev.ed.).
An oldie, but worth reading or even rereading. Pryor explains the principles of positive reinforcement and clicker training. Clear and entertaining–the animal in training in her ‘case studies’ often is us with our bad habits. For anyone who wants to understand animal behaviour. If nothing else, read the “10 Laws of Shaping” and the “8 Methods to Get Rid of Behaviour You Don’t Want”. These two sections are a good primer on real positive reinforcement training, showing the fallout of the use of punishment, corrections or any other aversives, for that matter.
Want to read more? Click here.

—. Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and what It Teaches Us about All Animals. 2009.
An inspiring book by the behavioral biologist who is the leading proponent of clicker training.

 

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