March Books in Review

March Books in Review
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Happy Easter, everyone! This month I read one new book and re-read five old books. Lots of people keep asking me for my top recommended books, so I’m re-reading old books to update my list of favorite books! I hope you enjoy these reviews and are able to add value to your dog training library based on my recommendations.

Book #11

“Franklin” by Matthew Duffy

This is hands-down the most inspirational working dog book I’ve ever read! “Franklin” is a fascinating account of Jeffrey Scott Franklin, the man behind the United States Commando Dogs. Author Matthew Duffy sent me this book free of charge in exchange for my review. If I didn’t like the book I’d say so, but this book is awesome. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down! Highly recommend for dog trainers and pet enthusiasts. (323 pages, 12 typos, 5 stars)

Book #12

“Cesar’s Way” by Cesar Millan

This was one of the very first dog training books I ever read, and I loved having this opportunity to re-read now as a professional dog trainer. Re-reading books brings a new perspective to the content. Although vilified by much of the dog training world, I have tremendous respect for Cesar Millan. I love this book because of its no-nonsense approach to training dogs with none of the tricks and gimmicks of today’s trainers. Cesar Millan knows dogs, he understands them, and he’s passionate about rehabilitation. This is one of my current Top 5 Favorite Books and will always be on my recommend reading list. (275 pages, 0 typos, 5 stars)

Book #13

“The Culture Clash” by Jean Donaldson

This book annoyed me so much. It’s written by a positive-only trainer who lives in la-la land when it comes to real life training. While some of the content is good, my highlighter got some “time off” as this book was dull, dry and very scattered in its layout. The author uses dramatic terms like “strangle collars” when it comes to explaining training collars and has quite the opinion in regards to balanced dog trainers. Some of her advice is just plain idiotic: “Smart puppy owners allow some puppy biting in order to give the puppy information on his own strength…Let the puppy chomp away on your hands and monitor the level of pressure.” It’s dumb advice like this that people have read who then come to me with hands that are completely mangled. I feel sorry for all the dog owners who only read one or two dog training books ever, and this is one of them. (239 pages, 1 typo, 2 stars)

Book #14

“The Other End of the Leash” by Patricia McConnell

I remember reading this book for the first time years ago and really liking it, but after growing as a dog trainer this book is now less-than-impressive. It’s written by a positive-only trainer, which is fine, but if you’re looking for a book on leadership Cesar Millan’s book beats this one by a long shot. This book talks a lot about body language, which in my opinion is a pivotal but highly under-studied topic in dog training, but I think the author’s way of explaining it is rather imprecise. Not a terrible book but not great either. (225 pages, 0 typos, 3 stars)

Book #15

“How Dogs Learn” by Mary R. Burch & Jon S. Bailey

If you’re looking for another Top 5 Favorite books, this is one of them. I read this book for the first time when I was in dog trainer school, and this is a book that to this day I read at least once a year. My interns read it. My clients read it. My trainers read and re-read it. It’s a heavily scientific book that discusses the science behind how dogs learn and, consequently, how to train dogs. It’s a must-read in my opinion for anyone who has a dog or is thinking about getting a dog. Be sure to have a highlighter handy, because you’ll be marking up lots in this book. (168 pages, 0 typos, 5 stars)

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