Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book 10: Retriever Trouble-shooting

My adorable retriever! Notice the loose leash

This is another of the too-many books I picked up at the used book store. I do want to say that the last three times I've gone, I walked out without purchasing anything!

Retriever Trouble-shooting by John and Amy Dahl is meant to be a guide, as the title suggests, for all sorts of problems that field dogs may have.

Almost all of the suggestions were to go back to foundation training and use the appropriate punishment required through the foundation training. I completely agree that almost all competition problem behaviors are fixed through repairing and instilling a good foundation. And so, reading the book, it almost seemed like it would be more helpful to just add a bit more to their foundation book (10 Minute Retriever) and a page at the end that lists potential problems and the appropriate chapters. Or just a forward page, saying that a good foundation will solve most of your problems.

The part of the book that I appreciated was the chapter on aggression. The authors did give some punishment recommendations, but also commented that it is very worthwhile to contact a positive reinforcement behavior specialist and that many of these aggressive dogs could do well in other settings and with R+ training. HORRAY for referring readers to appropriate resources.

Would I recommend this book? Not really, a good foundation training book would be more useful for anyone.
Who would find this useful? Someone who uses P+ in training and doesn't believe me (and others!) to just read a good beginning/foundation book.
My favorite part? Besides the nice comments they made about R+ training, I liked the 'real world' examples at the end of each chapter. I wish it was more detailed, but, it did provide a way to see the training in action.
Least favorite part? Besides all the P+ applications, I didn't like how over-simplified parts were. Maybe the audience should have read lots and lots of foundation/beginner resources first... but it also seems like parts could be applied incorrectly if someone doesn't understand what it means to gradually add distance or exactly what behaviors to be looking for. This HAS made me more careful when I'm teaching classes. Some instructors tend to talk too much, I probably say too little. I'm adding in a bit more explanation, reasoning, and examples now.
What did I learn? Don't underestimate the importance of a good foundation, no matter what you are training!
Will I read this book again? Probably not. Which means I should probably find a new home for it.

No comments: