Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A Book Review, "Train your dog like a Pro" Jean Donaldson
In keeping with my news year’s resolution; wait was reviewing books part of that? I can’t remember. The truth is I’ve been swamped at work. We’ve had to stop fostering, my husband was taking up all the dog slack and though he was a good sport about it, with no end in sight he started getting understandably cranky. Still, enough about my personal life and more about the subject at hand, Ms. Donaldson’s book, “Train your dog like a Pro.”
Donaldson is (as one might have easily gathered from the title) not writing for the professional dog trainer, but for the rest of us, even the most work laden-time crunched-not excited about dog training among us.
If you’ve read canine texts, you might be familiar with the image of the rural farm house, the grass laden fields, the lovingly described pack of dogs, the lesson-teaching-well-meaning-personal-tales, all the things that bring to mind a natural connection between the writer and the canine psyche. Well, you won’t find those here. Donaldson isn’t verbose on her own relationship with the canine species instead leaving those cozy hearth scenes on the editing room floor in order to get straight to the point, training your dog.
To be blunt, I’m not sure if Donaldson is a natural savant of the dog world, but I can tell you she seems like natural at teaching people how to train their dogs. The training instructions are clear, well-described, and already broken down into small easy to digest and accomplish bites. Instead of a book, it is more like a work-book; and as such it is your own actions - your own success that keeps you coming back.
Donaldson starts off with simple instructions and goes above and beyond to give you several different explanations in case the first one doesn’t fit with your learning style. Yes, she actually discusses different learning styles. Furthermore, Donaldson approaches several aspects of dog training that are commonly overlooked by similarly presented books, time management, self- encouragement, motivation, involving family members, and if your still not able - with no condensation or judgment exploring other options such as having a professional do the training for you.
The chapters themselves are well organized, moving and building from the simple to the more advanced behaviors. However, even the most complicated sections cannot shake off the ubiquitous aura of simplicity. Which as you might imagine has the potential to be a complete bore, but almost surprisingly, it isn’t. I personally found the book pretty compelling. I loved reading the multiple explanations of the same concept unfold and found that the simplicity that flowed throughout actually tied the book together and kept the reader from ever feeling overwhelmed.
The only part I wasn’t a huge fan of was how late in the book the clicker was introduced. I understand, not everyone wants or is on board with a training aid. After all it is one more thing to buy and carry around, but aside from that little tiny afterthought I was really impressed. Now the best part. It comes with a DVD, A DVD which… I haven’t had to time to watch… yet.
I originally borrowed this book, but three fourths the way through added it to my must purchase list and now that I’ve finished reading it there is no doubt it is worth the money. It’s a perfect addition for anyone looking for a simple well thought out guide in order to start training their dog ... like a pro.