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ShaChris23's avatar

Best or most reliable resources for understanding and training dogs?

Asked by ShaChris23 (304 points ) September 4th, 2012

What are some of the most insightful, reliable resources (books, DVD, famous dog trainers) for understanding and training dogs?

I have heard of celebrity trainers such as Cesar Millan, Kevin Behan, Ken Ramirez, or techniques such as positive reinforcement, the alpha theory, etc. Clearly not all dog trainers agree with one another, with makes it more confusing; I’d be watching the Dog Whisperer for a time then someone would tell me that Cesar’s method is outdated.

I’m lucky that my only dog, a Lab, is very intelligent and thriving even without formal dog schooling, but I would really benefit from extra reading on dog training/psychology. Thank you in advance for any help!

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8 Answers

blueknight73's avatar

I watched video’s on youtube and then practiced what I watched. It worked very well for my German sheperd dog.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You can’t really learn it from a book or video. Find someone that’s been around animals a long time would be my best idea. I grew up on a farm, with animals around always. Never take anything for granted with animals. I thought I knew dogs. And guess what, I almost got my ass kicked by a Golden Retriever this past Spring. Yes, a Golden.:) He has a case of territorial aggression. I came out with my arms chewed on and black and blue the next day. I won that one but it was close.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It depends on the temperment of both the dog and the trainer as to which method works best. Find whichever method works for you and run with it.

Consistency and repetition seem to be the two constants that flow throughout most methods.

Leanne1986's avatar

There are plenty of methods out there and a lot of outdated theories. If you are looking to train a pet dog then I would recommend any one that works with positive reinforcement rather than pack theory type methods (ie: alpha rolls etc). Cesar Milan’s theories are mostly based on pack theory which is why many trainers believe him to be outdated.

I would recommend the book In Defence of Dogs by John Bradshaw.

rooeytoo's avatar

There is no one size fits all method of dog training. Different dogs require different training techniques. It also depends on how long you want to work on the training. If the training is to be an ongoing hobby then that demands one type of training. If you just want the dog to be an acceptable member of your family and society, and you want it to happen quickly, then that would be a different matter.

I think Cesar has an excellent approach given the type of dog he is usually dealing with. Positive reinforcement is not a new idea it has been around since the beginning of time and he uses that method along with others. Dealing with a dog who is trying to kill you is a completely different situation than dealing with one who steals food off the kitchen counter.

The most reliable training is that used by police departments, military trainers and shutzhund trainers. Often a life may depend on the immediate response of the dog so there is no time to grab a piece of liver or a toy to play with, the dog is required to respond immediately.

Soft dogs respond to one kind of training, hard dogs to another. The best bet is to find a real trainer in your area. The one who tells you on the phone what sort of training technique they use without ever even seeing or evaluating your dog, is not the trainer I would choose. They don’t have a clue. Find a trainer who will evaluate first and then decide on a training regime.

tranquilsea's avatar

Great advice in this book, ”Don’t Shoot the Dog”. Good for training people too lol.

ShaChris23's avatar

@all Thank you!

@rooeytoo Ahh, I see. Soft dog VS Hard dog, and Cesar’s method is only good for the latter case.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ShaChris23 – not necessarily, you really cannot determine without meeting the individual dog. A lot of people have used methods similar to Cesar’s methods or similar methods for a lot of years to train pet dogs, police dogs, etc. of all temperaments, a smart trainer evaulates and then decides what course of action is best for the dog and the human. You can learn a lot from Cesar’s so called outdated methods by watching his podcasts. If more dogs were trained by his methods, I would wager there would be less surrendered to the pounds because they were never able to be assimilated into the family. If you want to train a dog quickly and safely research the Koehler method. I have trained hundreds of dogs and humans using modified Koehler.

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