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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Captain Haggerty, author of the bestselling Dog Tricks, has been hailed by The New York Times as "the world's most experienced dog trainer." How to Teach Your Dog to Talk (and Other Tricks) is the perfect guide to take you beyond the basics of obedience training and send your pooch on its way to learning some very cool tricks -- there are 125 to choose from. These tricks will impress your friends and family and may even win you some extra cash at the bar. Haggerty rounds up the tricks in convenient categories: "Tricks for the Suburban Dog (Post the Mail)," "Useful Tricks (Get a Tissue when I Sneeze)," and "Cute Tricks (Say Your Prayers)." And according to Haggerty, it won't take a bite out of your schedule to teach them to your dog. You'll just need a few chunks of time (like five minutes) throughout the day.
Amazingly enough, as the title implies, you can even teach your dog how to talk. "The reason the domestic dog barks -- as opposed to wild dogs, which merely whine, whimper, and howl -- is because the dog is trying to mimic our speech." You can get your dog talking by working with the sounds he already makes. The easy sounds for dogs to make are a, e, g, h, l, i, o, r, u, w, x, y, and z. Haggerty explains that there are certain kinds of dogs who will have more of an innate ability to make these sounds. These dogs are active, have wide heads with short muzzles, and like to howl. But even more important than these qualities is the relationship you have with your dog and how dedicated you are to working with him or her.
According to Haggerty, "understanding your dog's dog-ness as well as the ability to accurately interpret what he's thinking and trying to communicate to you," is the key to training effectively. This ability will help you to motivate your pooch at training time. It won't come as a surprise to readers that most dogs (and people, for that matter) get motivated with the anticipation of food, touch, or praise. But even beyond that, most dogs enjoy learning new things. They like to work (unlike some people). The key to motivation in training is letting your dog know when he is doing something right by delivering the appropriate rewards.
Timing is crucial when it comes to giving your pooch a reward for a job well done. You want to give your dog his treat as he does the trick. There are many types of rewards that your dog will enjoy, and they are all associated with the five senses. So, for taste and smell there is food, for touch there is petting, for sight there is your beaming proud face as you jump up and down with joy, and for hearing there is vocal praise and applause. Certain rewards work best with certain tricks. But you can use them however you like, in combinations, separately, or interchangeably.
Captain Haggerty proves that your rewards will be tenfold when you and your dog learn and grow continuously in a way that is fun and adds order to the household. Dog lovers will especially enjoy new ways to bond with their best friends as they learn together. It's no wonder that Captain Haggerty has been a mentor to such other great dog trainers in the field as Matthew Margolis, Brian Kilcommons, and Bashkin Dibra. His writing style is easy and humorous, and it's more than clear that this man is devoted to and loves his work. And you and your dog will, too! (Jen Forman)