Let the Dog Decide: The Revolutionary 15-Minute-a-Day Program to Train Your Dog - Gently and Reliably

Overview

This is a groundbreaking, completely reliable and gentle training method that both you and your dog will enjoy. Dale Stavroff's revolutionary approach to dog training shows you how to work with your dog's natural attributes—its independent will, insatiable curiosity, and strong instinctual drives—not against them. This unique, easy-to-follow system of informal handling and three fun five-minute training sessions a day makes the dog an active, eager participant in training. Step-by-step, Let the Dog Decide ...
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Overview

This is a groundbreaking, completely reliable and gentle training method that both you and your dog will enjoy. Dale Stavroff's revolutionary approach to dog training shows you how to work with your dog's natural attributes—its independent will, insatiable curiosity, and strong instinctual drives—not against them. This unique, easy-to-follow system of informal handling and three fun five-minute training sessions a day makes the dog an active, eager participant in training. Step-by-step, Let the Dog Decide explains how to: Profoundly transform your relationship with your dog by building benevolent eye contact Limit dependence on the leash and abandon choke chains and pinch collars Interrupt unwanted behaviors with a breakthrough technique that strengthens the dog-human bond Make the best use of clicker conditioning Achieve absolute reliability in your dog's behavior by training on a small bench Empower your dog's natural decision-making ability and produce cooperative obedience that is self-directed and both leash- and handler-independent Full of gentle, effective techniques for building your dog's confidence and trust in you and solving common behavioral problems, Let the Dog Decide will teach you how to engage your dog's will in harmony with your own and make you both winners.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Veteran dog trainer Stavroff offers a training program based on positive, but not permissive, methods in the mode of Pat Miller's The Power of Positive Dog Training. Recommending that readers buy a purebred puppy from a reputable breeder, he prescribes an intuitive approach, i.e., he allows the dog to discover the desired behavior and then rewards it. His goal is to establish a working relationship in which the dog willingly and enthusiastically participates; all rewards come from the owner, but via the effective use of a long line attached to a collar, all corrections seem to come from the environment. Stavroff recommends three five-minute training sessions a day and incorporates the bench and benevolent eye contact in his technique. He eschews choke collars and anything that produces stress during the training process. This gentle method can be used to teach basic obedience and to deal with problem behaviors. Highly recommended for public libraries, especially for patrons who do not wish to use aversive methods such as those expounded on in Cesar Millan's Cesar's Way.
—Florence Scarinci
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569242759
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dale Stavroff is a pioneer in positive motivational dog training, his approach empowering dogs as well as their owners. He began training dogs while growing up in Toronto, Canada, using the age-old conventional methods available at the time. As an adult, he spent ten years working with extremely disturbed children obtaining an unprecedented success rate. When he decided to return to working with animals, he brought with him new ideas and philosophies based on his experiences with children. He spent many years developing and testing his training program that evolved into the current Dale Stavroff Method of Canine Education, which also enjoys unprecedented success.

Stavroff trains dogs for search and rescue, explosives detection, cadaver detection, personal protection, and for competition of all kinds, from dog shows to sporting dog field trials and Schutzhund trials (German dog sport). He also trains pet dogs for select private clients, including Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who has praised him on her internationally broadcast radio show. He has made many media appearances as an expert commentator, including CBC Television in Canada and KLCK Radio in Washington State.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Letting the Dog Decide     xv
Preparing to Train     1
To the Dog's Understanding: Why Training Succeeds or Fails     3
Dogs in the Wild
Dogs and People
Classical Conditioning
The Difference a Collar Makes
Do You Really Want to Be Alpha?
Operant-Conditioning-Clicking to the Next Stage
A Better Way: Combining Covert Control with Overt Positive Reinforcement
Training with Covert Control and Overt Positive Reinforcement     21
Covert Control and Overt Positive Reinforcement
Teaching Behaviors with Operant-Conditioning
Building Benevolent Eye Contact
Compassionate Compulsion: Using the Bench
Clicker Conditioning and Dominant Dogs
Choosing the Right Dog     39
Dog Groups and Breeds
Who Are You?
Show Lines and Working Lines
A Closer Look at the Groups
The Seven Groups of Dogs
Choosing a Puppy
The Older Dog
The Shelter Dog
Breed Rescue Groups
You've Chosen a Dog, What's Next?
Low-Stress, High-Result Learning     55
Mood and Its Meaning in Training
Manipulating Mood in Training
The Best Mood for Training
Visualize Your Dog: Happy, Confident, and Cooperative
Delighting the Dog, or the Virtue of Reinforcement on a Random Schedule
Releasing the Dog from Training Work
Day-to-Day Handling and Informal Training     67
Making the Dog at Home     69
Dog-Proofing the House and Yard
Training Tools Checklist
Chews and Other Toys
Toilet Training, Meals, and QuietTime
Crate Training
Entering and Leaving the Crate and the House
Don't Let the Dog Do Anything Now That You Won't Want the Dog to Do Later
General Control and the Use of the Long Lines
Dogs and Furniture
Making Yourself the Focus of the Dog's Positive Associations
The Right Treats for the Right Occasion
Formal and Informal Signals and Control
Hand Signals
The Fetch
A Day in the Life
Children and Dogs
Introducing the Dog to the World     93
Walking the Dog
The Halti Head Collar
Socialization and the Dog Park
Socializing the Dog to People
Socializing the Dog to Other Dogs
Dog Friendships and Rivalries
Recognizing Dominance
Formal Training     105
Building Benevolent Eye Contact     107
The Training Schedule
Establishing and Building Benevolent Eye Contact
Saying Yes to Benevolent Eye Contact
Using the Clicker     117
Teaching without Commands
One Lesson at a Time
Naming Behaviors and Strengthening Benevolent Eye Contact     123
Naming Behaviors
Strengthening Benevolent Eye Contact
Climbing the Bench     129
Bench Work and the Traffic Safe Dog
Training Behaviors on the Bench     137
The Sit on the Bench
The Down on the Bench
The Stand on the Bench
Stays on the Bench in the Named Behaviors
Intermediate Training on the Gronnd     147
Beginning to Train on the Ground
Building Reliability by Delighting the Dog
What to Do If the Dog Balks
Working without the Leash
The Stays
Don't Lean on the Leash
Training Behaviors under Distraction     159
The Recall
Introducing Distractions
The Heel     167
Heeling in a Straight Line
Turning in the Heel Position
The Spinning Game
Special Concerns     173
Having More Than One Dog     175
Acquiring Two Dogs at the Same Time
Introducing a New Dog into an Established Single-Dog Household
Difficult Dogs     181
The Dominant Dog
Characteristics of the Dominant Dog
Assessing Dominance in Puppies
Training the Dominant Dog
The Active Resister
Characteristics of the Active Resister
Training the Active Resister
The Passive Resister
The Trouble with Belly Rubs
Characteristics of the Passive Resister
Training the Passive Resister
The Fear Biter (the Sharp Shy Dog)
Characteristics of the Fear Biting, Sharp-Shy Dog
Behavioral Problems and How to Solve Them     195
How Covert Negative Reinforcers Are Used in Training
Rummaging in the Garbage
Jumping Up
Paws and Praise
Empowering the Dog to Solve Its Own Behavior Problems-Part 1
Pulling on the Leash
Empowering the Dog to Solve Its Own Behavior Problems-Part 2
Aggression to Other Dogs
Aggression at the Door
Mouthing and Nipping
Begging at the Table
Making Sure Baby and Dog Get Along
Conclusion     217
Resources     219
Acknowledgments     221
Index     223
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Let the Dog Decide: The Revolutionary 15-Minute-a-Day Program to Train Your Dog - Gently and Reliably

    Dale Stavroff's new book will be recommended reading for all my obedience class participants. I have attended his seminars and seen dogs respond AMAZINGLY to these techniques (no matter what their breed or how old they were) and I have been anxiously waiting for his book. I have been involved in dogs all my life and I have never encountered these techniques before in any book or tape. Dale's methods are completely new and different, from the benevolent eye contact to the bench training. Finally it's here and I can offer my students an easy to use system THAT REALLY WORKS - for everyone! No dominance, no choke chains, no distress. With Dale's system you can start training the minute the puppy arrives home. Older dogs work enthusiastically with Dale's training techniques as well. This book is clearly destined to become the new standard in dog training. Thank you, Dale...you're my dogs' best friend. Eileen P

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2011

    Title extremely misleading

    This book is not about "letting the dog decide." Mr. Stavroff repeatedly used physical force to position the dog. He does not use severe physical force, but he is using physical force, so the dog is not "deciding" how to move. He also gives a wrong definition of "classical conditioning." I was particularly alarmed by his writing that rescue dogs rarely ever make good pets, even if rescued as puppies. He may not have success with those dogs, but that is probably because force IS a part of his training. Rescued dogs have intensified fear responses, so even a bit of force sets off the "fight or flight" response.

    I have had 35 rescued dogs through my house in the last 20 or so years. Most were given to me because they were ill or injured from physical abuse. By rewarding these dogs for desired behaviors and ignoring them as much as possible when they do not do what I want, almost all have been able to become good pets. The only one I could not help was a very small dog who tried to kill my chickens. I had only had large dogs at that point, so I had a tall fence with 4" square openings in the wire. This small dog was able to squeeze through those 4" square openings. I found another foster home for the dog because I could not immediately fix the fence. I have had dogs with aggression issues, live stock attack issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and separation anxiety.

    So the author is another person who can do well with an undamaged dog--this is not a "new standard" in training. Dogs have evolved to be able to please humans well enough for humans to feed and shelter the dogs. Most people can bring an average dog who does not have bad habits into their home and work out ways to live together harmoniously.

    I did like his description of how humans cannot expect dogs to act like humans.

    However, he describes dogs as total opportunists in such a way that denies the true emotional connections all social mammals make. Dogs are no more social opportunists than humans are. That is to say, both are social opportunists and both make genuine emotional connections.

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Let the dog comply

    This is one of the worst training books I've ever read!
    On page 7, he has a section he calls Classical conditioning. He goes on to state how Classical conditioning is "punishment based training" p.8. What?!
    He tells the reader that to push a dog into a sit position and give them a cookie will cause the dog to become resentful. (It will, but it's not classical conditioning). Yet later in his book on page 131 he gives the instructions to "Say the word 'climb' and immediately PULL THE DOG UP ONTO THE BENCH WITH THE LEASH" (emphasis mine). He goes onto say you should INCREASE THE PRESSURE until the dog gets onto the bench and then release the pressure and say 'yes'. Make eye contact and feed and praise the dog.
    Um, how does this differ from forcing the dog into a sit and giving them a cookie?
    Take my word for it, there are many books out on the market that are much better.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    I saved a dog that was going to be put down and Dale Stavroff's book helped me integrate the dog into my home and family. When I brought the dog home he was vomiting from stress in the car and upon entering my home ran to hide in a corner and urinated all over himself. He would cower away from my wife whenever she swept the house and was deathly fearfull of the kitchen. I followed the 15 minute a day routines of name recall, eye contact and worked the dog on a bench in my backyard for 3 months. He stopped urinating everywhere in our home and wouldn't turn from eye contact. He now barks appropriately at anyone that approaches the home and never leaves my side even when I don't mind if he goes elsewhere . His concern is for protection { he is a European bred Belgian Sheepdog} and he shows no fear from any strangers. He is calm when the neighbours dogs are howling. He works and listens to our children and behaves like a gentleman around other dogs. Dale Stavroff's methods both saved our dog and created a sound stable creature that my whole family could enjoy.I would recommend that you follow his techniques thoroughly to get the positive results that he describes are possible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    Common Sense and Straight forward

    I found this book really helpful in the day to day interactions between my family and our new dog. I enjoyed reading it too. Tons of thoughtful information. Thanks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    Pit-Bull Lovers¿ Attacks Are Vicious and Unfair

    The comments posted by Pit Bull lovers misrepresent what Dale Stavroff said about Pit Bulls in interviews in Vancouver on March 8-9, and they also contain errors of fact. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which the author praises on his 'daleondogs' blog, is NOT a Pit Bull. The Staffordshire¿s breeding makes it very different from the true Pit Bull, which continues to be bred with extreme levels of aggression for the ¿sport¿ of fighting to the death and to kill an opponent. As Dale Stavroff says on his blog, supporters of the Pit Bull as a pet should be spending their energy on establishing a breed registry that clearly separates their dogs from those bred for the ¿sport¿ of dog-fighting to the death. In LET THE DOG DECIDE, Dale Stavroff demonstrates his deep knowledge of, and experience working with, dogs of all breeds. His guidance is invaluable for anyone who wants to separate the facts about dogs from wishful thinking.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    Let the Dog Decide: The Revolutionary 15-Minute-a-Day Program to Train Your Dog - Gently and Reliably

    Finally a dog training book that makes total sense! Dale has presented a very easy way to train my dog so that both of us enjoy the experience. My parents are both in their 90¿s and I purchased another copy for them. What a simple easy step by step instruction. Their little dog will finally come when he is called, instead of ignoring them. What a joy to have a dog that is happy AND obedient. I suggest to anyone having any problems training their dog and keeping their attention ¿ please order a copy of this book today. It has changed my dog!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2009

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