Love reading. Always like to have a few books in the rotation. In addition to a fun fictional read (right now ripping through CJ Box Joe Pickett series...), I try to always be actively consuming dog books. Training, philosophy, non fiction I love it all. Here is a list of some of my recent reads as well as some oldies but goodies. Some I loved...some I read because I wanted to understand that trainer's perspective even if I knew I would disagree with them...Please leave comments with any additional reads you found informative, inspiring, thought provoking or all of the above:
Both 'My Years With a Dog Man' and 'Advice From a Dog Man' were awesome reads. If you love the German Shepherd's Dog you really need to snag these. Mike McConnery speaks with a true reverence for 'the work' of good dog training. He talks about the true primal nature of the relationship between man and dog and how far the dog industry has fallen (agreed). Overall, would love to crack a beer and talk dog with Mike McConnery. I respect the hell out of his philosophy and think that, although some may see his methods or thoughts on breeding extreme, he truly believes in betterment and progression of a breed that deserves the respect and training of the handler.
ANNNND on the other end of the spectrum I read this little number. Now, I personally do not believe in the 'purely positive' movement in dog training. I think it is a scam that rips off a lot of people really looking to better connect and train their canine companions. Of course training SHOULD be positive and fun and the clicker can be a useful tool, but that does not mean that balanced and healthy corrections should not be apart of a dogs learning.
At the head of this purely positive training charge is Karen Pryor. Now, I don't deny she is a talented animal trainer. The book lays out her background and development in the world of dolphins. She can do amazing things when working with properly food motivated animals (ie wild marine mammals accustomed to wild stimulation while swimming and feeding freely...now stuck in a small tank) but she fails to really go into detail about DOGS and how she uses her clicker skills to rehabilitate and help dogs in need of true balanced training. Again, talented trick trainer that can teach a dolphin to do anything but should not taut herself as the end all be all of dog trainers. Final thought: she pretty much single handedly created the market and training methodology for dolphin's in captivity...ever seen 'The Cove!!!???'
After being frustrated by Karen Pryor's close minded perspective on training dogs...I cleansed my palette with Mike Ritland's Trident K9 Warriors. These dogs represent the apex of working dog. LOVED reading about how sharp these dogs are trained and just how vital the working k9s are becoming to keeping soldiers safe on the front. Good read. And no, these dogs were not raised under the misguided anthropomorphic 'purely positive' movement...
Although I don't believe EVERYTHING the Monks preach...whenever I have friends that are looking for a good 'instruction manual' on raising pups I point them to this book. I like the way they breakdown weeks and phases. It is easy to read and easy to follow.
Spent years working with and running sled dogs. I love the lifestyle and miss the team. The Iditarod is one of the best challenges a musher can aim for. Gary Paulsen tells a fantastic story about what it was like for him to stumble through his first Iditarod. You will fly through this read and get a new appreciation for both the 4 and 2 legged athletes.
Hands down one of my favorite books of all time. Probably my favorite author of all time too. I grew up reading Call of the Wild and White Fang (perhaps deep rooted cause for me to flock to mountains and live with my big wolf dogs?). Excellent stories of man and beast in the wild.
There was a time that German Shepherds were a hated breed by those that saw what they did at the hands of the Germans during war. As we all know this has nothing to do with the dog themselves but that didn't keep folks from destroying dogs once the war was over. Saving Zasha is a fun read about kids trying to keep their new found friend from being discovered and killed by those that sought revenge on a misunderstood breed.
Why I love Merle's Door...Ted is a genuine person that does not make any moves to insinuate he is a breathtaking dog trainer. He is just a guy living in Wyoming that decided to take a chance with a lost dog, let that dog live a fantastic life and he did what so many dog owners fail to do. Listen. He listened to his dog and reacted appropriately. He did not coddle Merle or jam an agenda on him...he let him live, explore and learn all while being a capable pack leader that gave Merle the confidence to explore that world and grow with it.
Another good read that revolves around listening to dogs. Too often we try to jam an expectation into our dogs. Suzanne does a good job laying out how to listen and respond accordingly to what that particular dog is in search of.
Reading this one now...will keep you posted...