Books and videos for dog lovers

K9joy Education

How you can know that
the way you train your dog is right for the dog...

Being a good leader for your
dog does NOT mean 
letting the dog take charge.... Dogs are natural pack animals, and their ancestors depended heavily of pack co-operation for successful hunting. For this, the dog has some extremely highly developed social instincts that allow it to interact with other pack members in a very structured and very effective way. But a pack is not effective with too many chiefs....

For this, most dogs are born followers. They are not good leaders - and they generally don't want to lead, unless nobody else can do a decent job as pack leader. Even those who do have leadership potential are generally very appreciative of any genuine demonstration they can experience...

So, serious applications for the leadership position are always accepted!

Why you should train your dog?

There are lots of very good answers. Here are just a few of them:

  • Dogs can and will develop into very tyrannical and annoying (even dangerous) companions if they do not get at least some training.

  • You have far more enjoyment from a trained dog than from one that isn't trained...

  • An untrained dog is a serious legal liability for you as owner...

  • It gives you more self-esteem to have good control over your dog - and it earns you legitimate respect for you as a person...

  • It makes life much easier for you when your dog in controllable - and it costs you far less...

  • Dogs love those, who can teach them to use their brains, far more than they love those that feed them!

  • Dogs have a genetically programmed need for learning - and they get frustrated when this need isn't fulfilled, just as they get frustrated hen they get no food! A frustrated dog will develop all kinds of obnoxious "problem behavior".

  • Training is the most time-efficient and powerful way for you to bond the dog to you - and for you to have fun with the dog!

So, why isn't everybody out there, training their dogs?

Well, there are, unfortunately, some good reasons also:

  • Standard obedience training rarely give anybody any valuable results; neither the dog nor the owner has any benefits out of the time and money spent on this...

  • Most training that is available is not solving the real problems people have with their dogs...

  • Good trainers are few - and charge good money for good reasons...

  • People can acquire a dog with zero knowledge about how to take care of it... and many do!

  • There is no public support for learning how to deal with dogs in our society - only restrictions and bans.

The result is, unfortunately, a lot of cases of "problem behavior". However, 99.99% of all such behavior is man-made... In order to understand why this is so, please refer to this article. It explains how this is so. The short story is that you can dam a river - for some time. You cannot dam a river forever - it will eventually get out of its confinement. It is the same with dogs that have nothing meaningful to do.

We know from kids and young teenagers that "having nothing meaningful to do" is a sure recipe for trouble. Dogs are no different - and watching TV or playing video games does not provide any excitement for them. But people tend to forget that just incorporating them in a human family's routine is not necessarily very meaningful for the dog. Most dogs end up being incredibly bored! And, when that happens, "problem behaviors" are prone to appear, one way or the other... (More about this in this article.)

The biggest problem probably is that very few people understand how needs and behaviors are linked together. We all know the feeling of hunger. That feeling is expressing a need for food. This need will drive us to look for stimulation that will enable us to satisfy this need. That stimulation is food. And the way we satisfy the need is by eating the food. We know that the hunger will not go away if we don't eat.... if fact, it will only get worse!

But needs include more that hunger and thirst. For every single instinct and behavior, there is also a need. Just like there is a need for food and water. Humans are busy - but by being busy, we also satisfy a whole bunch of those fundamental needs we have. But what about the dog? (This article will give you some deeper insight in this.)

Now, when we consider the contents of standard obedience training, it is quite easy to see that most of it is a matter of restricting the dog's behavior. "Sit", Down", "Heel" are prime examples. They do not involve much action that fits with the dog's instincts... in contrast, they are most often used to deprive the dog from using its instincts! (This article will explain more about this.)

Think of it this way: as a 6-year old, you get adopted into a family that does not speak you language. You do not understand what they say. But they give you food and water, and a bed to sleep in. You do get some hugs and kisses, but you don't understand much of what is going on around you.

Your family tries to teach you "manners". Those manners basically include:

  • You have to sit completely still at the table and everywhere else when others are present too.

  • You cannot speak unless asked to - but you don't understand that, so you just get punished when you open your mouth...

  • Every time you try to do what you really would like to, you get punished...

  • Nobody does anything with you - you are forced to be alone most of the time.

  • You have some toys - but they are no fun anymore, and you are not allowed to play with them where you want to....

  • You are sometimes being taken along for a car ride and a walk, but every time you see something you really enjoy, you get punished and ordered to be still and follow the adults...

  • Every time you meet someone from your own country, you are not allowed to talk to them and play with them, other than what you can do as you pass by, because you are forced to follow your family...

Can you imagine what kind of kid you would develop into if this were to go on for just a year or two?

Nevertheless, it is quite representative of the conditions most people give their dogs to live under.... Most people simply do not know any better. All they know is what they got from the media, and that is certainly not very qualified information, in general!

Are you using treats as a bribe?

Most people, including most professional trainers, use treats for training in a way that effectively makes the treats a bribe, not a reward.

The result is that the dog will only perform when it knows you have a treat for it!

No wonder that some professional trainers highly recommend against that.

The problem is not the treat, though. It is the handler's incorrect use of it. By showing the treat to the dog before even giving a command to perform, the sight/smell of the treat becomes the command, not the spoken command word! When you train like that, it should not surprise anyone that you get no performance when there is no treat....

Some additional problems with traditional dog training...

The fastest way of facilitating learning, in any animal, is through fear reactions.... Fear reactions are learned faster than anything else. Many times, just a single episode will suffice for ingraining fear in certain situations so strongly that they will last a life time.

Aside from the ethical aspects of the terror regime that follows from using fear for training, the results are extremely mediocre, at best. On top of that, they are most often completely unreliable, as it is very difficult to predict what specific direction the dog's fear might take - so you run a serious risk of teaching the dog a lot of very unwanted behaviors that are very difficult to erase again!

Sure, there are people who are very skilled at using the fear stimuli with such delicate accuracy in the dosing that they can achieve some incredible results with a dog that has the nerve to tolerate the terror long enough to make some achievements. Electrical training collars provide some examples - but also a huge number of examples of miserable dogs and miserable owners... "Prong collars", the same thing - and often worse, as the dog here will know where the pain comes from, and one day just might attack the one that controls the pain...

Humans are, indeed, incredibly creative when it comes to exerting pain and suffering to others, including animals...

But couldn't you train without all this pain and tyranny? The answers is "yes", yet most people who do this quickly end up losing control over the dogs. How many people can call their dog back when it is rocketing after a Frisbee? How many agility trainers can get their dogs to stop on top on an obstacle and run the other way? How many hunters can stop their dogs in the middle of a chase if they get too close to a deer? Yes, there are certainly some - but they are very far from being as many as they could be - if more "ordinary" dog owners would just take the time and use the effort to understand what dog training is all about.

Is your dog happy to obey you?

When you give your dog a command, even a command to stop doing something it really likes to do, the reaction must be happy. If you do not see both an approach to you and a wagging tail, you have not trained this command very well...

Seriously: you do not achieve this by being strict. You achieve it by being consistent both in your demand and with your reward for performance well done. If you do not get the right balance with this, your training will not give the results it should.

Dog training is a 24/7 job for any serious pack leader. You can only have a break when the dog sleeps or is not physically able to interact with you.

What good dog training is about

The dog has two main sets of instincts and instinct behaviors that matter when we discuss training:

  1. The hunting instincts, including all the specific details that combined in a meaningful sequence makes an effective tracker, chaser, launcher, and killer of a dog

  2. The social instincts that regulate the pack behavior and ensures co-operation within the pack

For effective training results, you need to conduct your training in such a way that you tap into both groups of behaviors. If you provide good hunting, but no social leadership, you lose control. If you provide serious leadership, but no hunting pleasure, you bore the dog...

If you try to train without serious leadership and with no connection to hunting, then you will just waste your time - because you will not get any valuable results.

Finally, there is no way of accomplishing anything unless you can communicate with your dog... No matter what many people want to believe, dog do not have the capability of understanding spoken language where the meaning is composed by combining words. They can learn to take action (very specific action) on some recognizable words or simple expressions, provided they are significantly different from all the "noise" they dog is exposed to all the time from our conversations with other people and with ourselves, and maybe the dog.

So, there is no way around learning some Dog Language.

The good news is that Dog Language is not that difficult. Once you get the meaning of the fundamental basics, you can easily interpret most behaviors from the dog's side, and quite accurately!

The really good news is that you do not need any live prey animals in order to provide a good satisfaction of the dog's hunting instincts, and the dog has a genetic capability of seeing humans as pack members - which enables you to be a serious candidate for the pack leadership.

Another aspect of dog training that is often overlooked or ignored is this: dogs will naturally work for food. They might also work for other rewards, such as play, praise, cuddling etc. But the common denominator for all these rewards is this: they only work if the dog has a current need for the specific reward you offer... If the dog isn't hungry, food will have no value for it. If the dog is tired after running after balls all afternoon, play time will not have much value for it. And the worst: if the dog does not see you as its pack leader, you can praise it from now on and the next five years, and it will have no effect on its performance!!!

You might have heard of some training methods that are highly praised, like "clicker training". Well, the essense of this training is that you condition the dog to hear your clicker as a reward. That's a noble principle that can be very useful. But the bad news is that if you do nothing to maintain the value of that reward, the dog will soon find out that you are cheating - and the performance will stop... And maintaining the value means that you reinforce the clicker with a "real" reward. So the advantage you get from the clicker is of very temporary nature.

A similar thing holds true for using treats for reward. First of all, you should not feed you dog crappy cookies or highly preserved commercial treats. Anything baked is very unhealthy for the dog's teeth. And anything like "jerky" that does not perish in a few days is so filled with poisonous chemicals that you absolutely should not feed it. You should make your own, natural treats. They are also much more effective! (If you are looking for a good and easy recipe for making your own treats, this article is what you need...). However, no matter how good your treats are, if you use them wrong (as most people do), the training results you get will not work without your first showing the dog that there is indeed a treat available.... If this is the kind of result you get, you have used your treats wrong. Treats are very effective training tools when used as reward - but if you use them as a bribe also, you get an unreliable result that sure deserves being frowned upon by many professional trainers.

And, as already pointed out, praise alone is simply completely valueless for most novice trainers - and most definitely for anyone who has some serious behavior issues with their dog...

Some people, at this stage, feel the temptation to just work without rewards... Well, if you seriously believe that you will continue showing up for your work even when you find out that you no longer get paid for it, then you can be forgiven. But it will still not give any training results with your dog....

As you can understand, it takes some knowledge to tap into this and provide some effective and useful training for your dog... There are three main areas you need to know the basics of:

  1. Dog Language communication
  2. How the dog's social instincts work and allow you to be the packleader
  3. How you put a training method together that will stimulate the dog's instincts (particularly those related to hunting) instead of prohibiting them.

Although each of those areas are simple enough for any person to learn, they are also quite comprehensive. There is no way of learning it all by looking for information on-line, in newsgroups, on web pages, or bulletin boards. Sure, you can find a lot of good value and great tips in all those places - but you cannot find the frame for evaluating what is good and what is not - and you will be left with no clue of whether or not you "covered all important ground".

But here are some powerful resources that will cover what you need:

Get more info about Anders Hallgren's book
'The ABCs of Dog Language' 
by clicking on the picture!

Anders Hallgren:
"The ABC's of Dog Language"

(150 pages - 100 illustrations - softcover book)

This book is an easy read - and a great reference for later. It is like a "Dog Language to English" dictionary. All the characteristic dog behaviors are systematically covered and described by an interpreter that loves dogs - and has some contagious humor! In addition to describing what the possible interpretations are of the dog's behaviors, Anders Hallgren also includes many very valuable tips about how you can use your dog to respond in Dog Language. You will be amazed how much your dog will love it! It will make a lot of sense in its world, and you will get all the credit...

This book is a classic. In Germany and Scandinavia, it has been a bestseller for many years - and it deserves to be a standard for all students in all dog training classes in the world.
More information about the book here.

Get more info about Mogens Eliasen's video
'The Dog's Social Behavior'
by clicking on the picture!

Mogens Eliasen:
"The Dog's Social Behavior"

(3 hour video - on DVD, with all support materials on a CD-ROM)

This video is in four main sections. The first one explains in a down-to-earth way how the dog's instincts work, how they are connected to needs and behavior, and how you can influence the behavior through appropriate stimulation of the instincts. The last three sections each cover one of the extremely important groups of social instincts: the "Pack Instinct", the "Authority Instinct", and the "Leadership Instincts", as Mogens names them. As you will find out from watching this video, these three main instincts cover just about everything that is important to know and practice in regards to your daily interaction with the dog...

The knowledge in this video is not to be found anywhere else, but it makes a lot of sense! You will feel like getting a peek into a whole new world - and your dog's way of interacting with you will start to be comprehendible and useful to a degree you will enjoy.
More information about the video here.

Get more info about Mogens Eliasen's e-book
'BrainWork for Smart Dogs'
by clicking on the picture!

Mogens Eliasen:
"BrainWork for Smart Dogs"

(E-book - download, CD, or print):

This e-book teaches you how to train your dog in accordance with its instincts. Not only will you get a thorough explanation of how exactly you build your training methods (for any exercises!), it also gives you specific step-by-step instructions for how you can train more than 40 different exercises, covering Command Performance, Body Balance, Problem Solving, and Nosework. For each exercise, you will find an overview that quickly will tell you the most important features of the exercise, including the level of challenge for both you and the dog! It will also give you an overview of what equipment or facilities you need, if any, so it is easy to pick and choose the exercises that fit you and your dog best. (Mind you, there is no way you can train all 40+ exercises in less than 5 years, so you will have more than enough to work with for some time...)

This is a gold mine for serious packleaders that want to put their dogs to meaningful work.
More information about the e-book here..

Get more info about Mogens Eliasen's e-book
'Don't Pull on the Leash!'
by clicking on the picture!

Mogens Eliasen:
"Don't Pull on the Leash!"

(E-book - download, CD, or print):

This e-book teaches you and your dog some important manners. The training methodology is the same as for all the exercises in "BrainWork for Smart Dogs", thoroughly explained, one step at a time. Although the objective seems very simple, training this without resorting to use of pain or abuse is actually not simple, because there is no direct way of training a dog to "do nothing" instead of what it has been taught previously to do - without the owner being aware of it! The trick in this training is truly simple - but understanding it fully takes a little brainwork on your part....

This e-book is a great supplement for people who want to enjoy walking their dog - and use the opportunities the naturally get fro meaningful training.
More information about the e-book here..

These four publications (the book, the video and the two e-books) give you all the details you need to know to start some meaningful training with your dog - and develop an fantastic relationship with it!

  • The video gives you the overall frame for how you need to interact with your dog, so you can take advantage of its instincts, instead of being bothered by them....

  • The book makes your communication with your dog much easier - and much more meaningful, for both you and the dog

  • The e-books gives you everything you need to practice well as packleader: By following the detailed instructions in this e-book, you simply cannot screw up your training!

This is all you need to get the confidence to get started right! They supplement each other in many ways, and together, they give you a solid basis for becoming a great packleader. You will be amazed how much more fun you will have with your dog - and you will be even more amazed to realize how much your dog will appreciate you and pay attention to you! Talk about obedience! You will get that as a free bonus because the dog will want to please you - so you just need to express your wishes...

And here is a deal for you: If you want them all three, you will get a 15% discount! On top of that, you pay only once for shipping....

Training Package
(shipped within North America):

"The ABC's of Dog Language" (book)

"The Dog's Social Behavior"
(video on DVD + CD-ROM)

"BrainWork for Smart Dogs" (E-book on CD)

"Don't Pull on the Leash!" (E-book on CD)