Review--How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks

February 6, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks by Dr. Ian Dunbar is another in a list of his excellent short paperbacks that are designed to help new puppy owners have fun, gain a deep rapport with their pups, and get an early start on training. He presents the Sirius puppy training system with light-hearted humor and invites the new puppy owner to extend that light-heartedness to the process of learning to live with a dog.

Taking a Closer Look

Dr. Dunbar starts the ball rolling in this book by interviewing his Malamute, Omaha. This anthropomorphic, but humorous, dialog brings out a very important fact concerning the relationship between humans and canines: Both species are trying to communicate and failing in all but the most blunt circumstances.

What Dr. Dunbar proposes is that the human side of the equation can start early with establishing a baseline for communication that can mature with the puppy into a deep understanding that will make life easier and more enjoyable for dog and owner. In order for either species to understand the other, time, patience and good humor is necessary to adequately express what the bottom line is going to be for each individual. When this is established, life becomes relatively stress free for both human and canine.

The Sirius lure-reward system appeals to the food-based drive found in just about every dog. At the puppy stage this drive is pretty self-evident and works quickly as an attention-getting device and a positive reinforcement for good behavior. It is also an excellent way for cross-over animal trainers to hone their skills in the positive reinforcement training methods of today.

Dr. Dunbar also points out that the Sirius reward-based system can be used in adult dog training, teaching other species of animals, and adolescent and adult humans. Positive reinforcement, of which the Sirius system is a component, has scientifically and practically been proven to be a most effective way of teaching and training.

Recommendation: YES

Dr. Dunbar's How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks, is a fun read. What's more, it answers a lot of questions that come up during a dog's life. In this book there is none of the "Have to," or "Must," language found in many training texts. It is just great, good fun to read and apply the lessons. This would be an excellent book to add to a collection.

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