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Type: Books and Resources

Dog Sense

A book by anthrozoologist Dr John Bradshaw, which is titled “In Defense of Dogs” in the UK.  In the book, Bradshaw lays out an alternative story of how the dog came to be domesticated from its wolf ancestors, and goes into detail about the misunderstandings many people have about the way that modern-day wild wolves organize themselves in social groups.

Based on these two arguments, Bradshaw makes the case for rejecting pack theory as a framework for dog training. He also explores how traditional concepts like dominance can be replaced by more evidence-bsaed ideas like Resource Holding Potential.

Dogs (book)

In Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution, Ray and Lorna Coppinger lay out theories of how the dog came to be domesticated from its wolf ancestors, how dogs have been selected for throughout human history as working companions and as pets, and why it is that dogs are so similar in terms of their genetics, but differ so much in their physiology.

The Coppingers advance the theory that the process of domestication happened when humans began to leave rubbish heaps where they lived, which attracted wolves as scavengers.  The more tolerant, human-friendly wolves would have had better access to these food sources and come into contact with people who could then start to act on their breeding.

The book is controversial in its negative portrayal of the practice of purebred dog breeding, especially of dogs that have been bred as pets.

Don’t Shoot The Dog

A book by Karen Pryor, in which she gives a detailed introduction to the principles of behavior modification based on positive reinforcement.

The book is intended to be an overview of principles that can be applied to animals and humans in general, rather than a list of techniques specifically for dog training.

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy

Denise Fenzi’s Academy offers a wide range of online courses primarily aimed at people who compete in dog sports, although many of the Foundation classes can also be useful for pet owners.

Plenty in Life is Free

A book by Kathy Sdao ACAAB, a behaviorist and frequent speaker at seminars for professional dog trainers. The book is a personal memoir and challenges the NILIF approach to dog training, stressing frequent reinforcement in training and abundant love.

Scaredy Dog

Scaredy Dog! Understanding and Rehabilitating Your Reactive Dog, is a book by Ali Brown M.Ed CPDT CDBC.  The book focuses on communicating the principles of learning theory for behavior modification to the general reader, and also sets out protocols and techniques dog owners can use to work with their fearful or reactive dog.  These techniques are based on positive reinforcement and stress the need for the dog to feel safe and be set up for success.

The Culture Clash

A book by Jean Donaldson, now considered one of the classics of dog training.  The Culture Clash sets out a philosophy of dog training according to science-based principles, focusing on operant and classical conditioning.

In the book, Donaldson argues that the folk ideal of what a dog is can lead to some bad assumptions about what they are capable of and what motivates them, which in turn can lead to bad decisions when it comes to training and everyday life with pet dogs.