Monday, July 18, 2011

Book 16: K9 Behavior Basics by Resi Gerritson, Ruud Haak, Simon Prins

I first saw this book mentioned in early June.  I bookmarked the one seller page.  And then after hearing a few more mentions of it, Bob Bailey again saying it would be quite useful...I had to get it. He's someone you have to listen to.   (...while creating that link, I saw that there's a copy on the discount page... $5 off due to a scuff on the cover!)

At the end of July I finally ordered a copy...and then had to wait a few weeks to get it due to a backorder!   It arrived Friday and I've been enjoying over the weekend.

First off... I was a bit disapointed with the initial 150 pages. It's body language, behavior, ethology, dog history sort of information. It's not bad.  But I've read enough of that and didn't really want more of it.    The next 100 pages is the training information. It's really a pretty basic and straightforward training book.  Short subsections on various topics, lots of analogies, and explanations of the learning theory.

The authors specialize in various sorts of police/working dogs and apparently have been working closely with Bob Bailey on a few of the military projects.  More of the examples and analogies and even some terminiology is more oriented to those fields.  However, for someone with more than a causal interest, this could be a very good beginning training manual IF the person needed a theory book, NOT a how-to.
I had really been hoping for the how-to information given the success, R+ affiliations, and unique things that their programs do....   but this is apparently not the resource for that information.  

Am I glad I purchased it? YES.   But I don't know who I will be recommending this book to as it's not very specific and there are so many general theory resources readily available.  

The direct impact on my training is even more planning time for each session, better record keeping, and more  specific long-term plans.  Currently I have a specific goal for each session, have some vague long-term plans, I make a few written notes after a session, and video at least half of my training sessions.  But if I actually put in writing all the details of each session before hand, I'll be able to use my time even more efficiently. I'll be sure each piece fits into the big picture. I'll be able to look ahead and see if I'm likely missing any key components, and hopefully this will help us measure our progress.  

I don't have pictures of
my dogs doing anything half-working.
Pretend like this is such....
Another change is to go back to creating, using, and perfecting written training protocols for basic (and not so basic) behaviors.  The authors have a format that is very briefly mentioned , an outline of steps for each behavior, that allow the trainers to measure if the dog is meeting criteria or not and then progress, stay at the step, or go back if need be. I have many of these informally and unwritten, but I think I could be more efficient if it's in writing and continually updated.  I started using some of these at the shelter on Saturday night and I'm already making some modifications.

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