Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book 1: Dancing with Dogs

I have numerous notebooks and computer files with this sort of thing. Sharing these notes might motivate me to do more reading, keep better notes, and provide some sort of resource on what may be useful for others.

Dancing with Dogs by Mary Ray I bought this book a few days ago.

I've known of Mary Ray for many years. It seems like she's been doing freestyle forever, especially year performances at Crufts.

Some of the information presented seems like poor use of space, such as the table on page 14 that lists "just some of the breeds that have competed successfully in HTM classes." With stock photos of those breeds.

The training section is one of the largest parts of the book. It goes through basic training and then a lot on the trick type behaviors that are often utilized, jumping, leg weaving, crawling. I'm not sure if the training instructions are so simple that a novice would be overwhelmed, or if the simplicity is perfect. I would love to have more detailed information on the training process than the 3-5 steps listed. There weren't any big surprises in the training section. Or even little surprises. A lot of luring is used, I don't know if that's for the audience of the book or if that's actually what Mary Ray uses. I'd love to know!

My favorite section was the end, where routines are put into print. I didn't think freestyle routines could be described on paper, but she did a fabulous job! Music and trick notes are listed, as well as a few photos on every page along with a description of what is happening and how the handler transitions to the next move/s. And about 10 of these routines are listed!

Is this one of my very favorites? No, not really.
I would pass this on to what types of people...? 4-H'ers. I want to go get another copy or two or three to use as fun show prizes next year or raffle prizes. It was a great purchase! I would also recommend this to a dog owner interested in freestyle but new to training. Or kids casually interested in dog training. It's definitely a book I feel comfortable sharing with others!
Will I re-read this? Probably not anytime soon. It will probably be one I pull out before teaching a tricks or freestyle workshop.

Tomorrow is another Ken McCort seminar, this time on aggression. We have 60 people attending, some from very, very far away. I'm sure I'll have lots of great notes! this is especially relevant as I've just started leading the leash reactivity class and we have another starting soon.

Photo by Terri Tepper

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