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Good Dog 101: Easy Lessons to Train Your Dog the Happy, Healthy Way

Good Dog 101: Easy Lessons to Train Your Dog the Happy, Healthy Way

4.5 14
by Cristine Dahl, Jean Donaldson (Foreword by)

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Learn the humane way to change your dog's behavior, including problems like digging, jumping, peeing, pooping, stealing, chewing, begging, biging, barking, and growling. This is a revolutionary step-by-step manual to teach dog owners how to humanely and easily train a dog. SPCA-certified author Cristine Dahl covers all aspects of training dogs, especially puppy


Learn the humane way to change your dog's behavior, including problems like digging, jumping, peeing, pooping, stealing, chewing, begging, biging, barking, and growling. This is a revolutionary step-by-step manual to teach dog owners how to humanely and easily train a dog. SPCA-certified author Cristine Dahl covers all aspects of training dogs, especially puppy training.

The book is organized by individual problem scenarios where every sort of bad behavior is addressed, whether it's if the dog compulsively digs all around your garden or if it likes to steal your shoes or if it jumps on every guest the minute they walk in the door. For each problem scenario, Dahl explains the reasons for such behavior, and then gives simply phrased instructions on how to resolve it and alter the dog's behavior for future scenarios. Her methods are humane (unlike Cesar Millan, she's approved by the SPCA) and simple—perfect for every dog owner.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Good Dog 101 is an all-in-one text for dog behavior and training, far more up-to-date and scientifically based than any other book on the market."
— James C. Ha, PhD, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, University of Washington professor

"Cristine Dahl has produced a first-rate training book, one that is a shining example of the humane, scientifically sound, and practical methods she espouses. A great resource."
— Janis Bradley, author of Dogs Bite: but Balloons and Slippers Are More Dangerous

Product Details

Sasquatch Books
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Good Dog 101

Easy Lessons to Train Your Dog the Happy, Healthy Way

By Cristine Dahl

Sasquatch Books

Copyright © 2011 Cristine Dahl
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57061-762-1

Sample lessons from Part Two:


You arrive home from work with an armful of groceries. Hearing your engine purr from a block away, your pup has moved from his perch on the couch to the foyer. Tail flapping, tongue wagging, whines pouring across the threshold, you key open the front door and push through the screen.

Seemingly unable to control himself, your dog rears up and draws his front paws down your front, knocking groceries to the floor. As you bend to gather the mess, you are rewarded with sloppy kisses and a head-butt to your forehead. As you straighten you’re hit with a paw to the gut. The greeting assault continues until you reach the kitchen to deposit your torn and empty grocery bag.

Why your dog does this

Jumping on people is a highly rewarding behavior for your dog. When he jumps, he is seeking attention. Predictably, when he jumps you respond, albeit with a glare, a “no”, a yell, knee to the chest, or some other deflective attempt. Although all of these responses seem to us like punishments, your dog only sees the coveted “attention” he is seeking.

Think about what is reinforcing your dog at the moment he’s jumping. Assuming he doesn’t spend 8 hours a day in your absence bouncing from wall to wall in an apparent sugar-induced craze, it’s clear that your arrival is the greatest thing to happen to him all day. It’s fair to say that he’s waited an eternity for your return. Isn’t this why we adore him so?


As his punishment, remove your dog’s topmost reward. In other words, remove from him the most rewarding thing possible: your attention.

1. Upon your arrival home from work, key the front door as you usually would, open the screen, and attempt to enter the foyer.
2. The *moment* your dog takes his front feet off the ground, quickly back out of the door. Wait.
3. The *moment* all four feet hit the ground attempt your entry again. If his feet come off the floor, back out and shut the door. Only when he behaves like a gentleman, with all four feet on the floor, will you enter.

This may take four or five tries on your first attempt, but be patient. Your dog will quickly learn that his less-than-civilized behavior actually drives you away. At the same time, he’s learning that good behavior is rewarded with the greatest thing ever: you!

* * *


It is not unusual to find your dog, especially when he’s young, chewing on the edge of a couch, stuffed chair, or pillow. He may even find the mattress particularly appealing or sink his teeth into an ottoman. He may prefer fabric over leather, or he may be an equal opportunist choosing anything soft despite its material.

Why your dog does this

Chewing is a strong drive behavior very similar to one of your favorite rituals: perhaps having your morning cup of coffee, doing yoga, or relaxing in the evening with a glass of wine and a good book. Just as you are rewarded by these calming and repetitive activities, your dog is rewarded by the soothing nature of chewing.

Your dog has preferences for what he chews just as you have favorite foods and pastimes. He has chosen to chew on something soft because it’s to his liking.

Because chewing is a drive behavior born into every dog, it cannot be stopped without causing undesirable side effects. But, it can be modified so that you and your pup remain the best of friends and your perfect living room remains intact.


1. First, manage his environment to prevent him from exercising his urges on your furniture. To do this, either temporarily remove the piece of furniture he’s chosen to chew, erect a barrier around the particular piece, or limit his exposure to the room in which the furniture is placed.

2. During this management period, inundate him with items even more interesting than the furniture. Populate his environment with an array of legal (acceptable) chew items to satiate every chewing urge: tasty items, chewy items, hard items, squishy items, squeaky items, furry items, etc. Don’t forget to praise him with jolly talk when he settles in with one of these things.

Hint: Taking cues from his apparent taste for soft furniture, find chew items similar to the furniture he’s previously chewed on such as hard stuffed canvas toys, leather tosses, and stuffed plush toys. Contrary to the belief that this will encourage your dog to head back to the furniture, the truth is that it will instead satiate his need for this particular chewing substitute and it will actually preserve your things.

3. After a week or two of keeping him away from the furniture and allowing him to chew on his approved items, slowly allow him supervised access to the furniture again. This is your opportunity to give that essential feedback he needs to learn. If he heads for the furniture again, quickly and calmly interrupt him with an “ah-ah” and present him with one of his approved chewing items

Because it is punishing for your dog to be interrupted in the middle of a chewing episode, with guidance and consistency he will quickly learn to direct himself to his chew items instead of your furniture.


Excerpted from Good Dog 101 by Cristine Dahl. Copyright © 2011 Cristine Dahl. Excerpted by permission of Sasquatch Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Cristine Dahl is the founder and owner of the Seattle Dogworks. She lives in Seattle. Jean Donaldson is the founder, director, and a principal instructor at the San Francisco SPCA Academy. She lives in San Francisco.

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Good Dog 101: Easy Lessons to Train Your Dog the Happy, Healthy Way 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a whispering world full of so-called experts with no education or credentials, its refreshing to read a dog training book that talks about the science of learning (classical and operant conditioning) instead of 'energy'. This is a great resource for all dog and puppy owners that provides safe and proven methods. This easy to read and enjoyable paperback book is a comprehensive volume that combines step by step instructions for training obedience behaviors with easy to follow instructions for solving common behavior problems that inevitably come up with owners in any obedience class or puppy kindergarten. In addition to her chapters providing step by step instructions for training behaviors such as sit, down, come, leave it, and drop, Cristine devotes a chapter to ¿Common Canine Behavior Problems and How To Resolve Them¿ which covers Potty Training, Barking, Greeting Problems, Chewing, and Stealing. The author includes chapters on Aggression, Puppies, and Geriatric Dogs, the last of which is often given short shrift in general dog training books. Geriatric dogs have special needs and issues, but as owners, we¿re often in denial about why our beloved companions have suddenly started behaving ¿badly¿. Good Dog 101 can help owners identify that the issues their geriatric dogs are having are age related 'organic' and not behavior related. What makes this book so relevant is Cristine's constant focus on scientific methods and animal learning theory. Her research is sound and her methods consistent with the scientific data on how dogs learn. Her chapters on the history of dog training and traditional/military style training techniques are illuminating. I don¿t think I¿ve ever read a dog training book geared towards average dog owners, or the training community for that matter that did such a wonderful job of documenting the history of dog training and how those out dated, military methods of dog training 'and the metal collars that came with them' came into popular use in the pet dog population. This is an important historical context given the resurgence of these techniques. I only have two minor criticisms of this book. After the chapter detailing the military history of dog training and traditional methods, I would have preferred that those comparisons had been edited out of later chapters. Why reinforce methods we¿re trying to replace with more scientific and effective methods? Secondly, in this age of YouTube and iPods, the inclusion of photographs or illustrations might have made the text more usable for some readers. Overall, however, I feel these are minor issues compared with the overall value of this book to the public consciousness. Cristine does an admirable job of explaining ¿positive¿ training and giving owners tools for determining whether a trainer is truly using positive methods or just using the term ¿positive methods¿ to land clients. Our congratulations go out to Cristine Dahl for making canine ethology and animal learning theory understandable to the general public in her first book.
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