Good Owners, Great Dogs

Good Owners, Great Dogs

by Brian Kilcommons, Sarah Wilson


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Instead of Going Out of Your Mind, Get into His. The only American to study and work with the renowned Barbara Woodhouse, Brian Kilcommons solves all those "bad dog" problems that drive owners crazy-and shows you how to raise a puppy into a happy, perfectly behaved dog. The trick is to understand how dogs think, read their body language, and, with the secrets Kilcommons shares in this book, be "fun, fair, and firm." A dog-training guide that gives you immediate results even with an adult dog, this manual trains you, as it gives owners everything they need and everything dogs need to become... Good Owners, Great Dogs Includes specific tips on how to: * housebreak both puppies and adult dogs * teach your dog to come to you regardless of what he's doing * end annoying habits like jumping, food stealing, and barking * prevent aggression and, in many cases, stop it after it has become a problem * use games to teach your dog to obey ...and much more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446675383
Publisher: Warner Books (NY)
Publication date: 09/01/1999
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 182,717
Product dimensions: 9.06(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.76(d)

Read an Excerpt

Good Owners, Great Dogs

By Sarah Wilson Brian Kilcommons

Warner Books

Copyright © 1992 Brian Kilcommons
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-67538-5

Chapter One

Why a Dog?

Dogs give and receive love unconditionally. They never say "I need my space" or "I'm not ready for a commitment." It is a nonjudgmental, completely accepting relationship. Here you are loved for who you are, not how much weight you've gained or lost, the current status of your bank account, or your popularity.

Dogs do not grow up and move out. They are with you until the end of their lives. Waking with you each morning and lying nearby at night, they offer a sense of security and warmth for child and adult alike.

The soft head that nudges your hand when life is too depressing, a happy bark that suggests a quick game outside, the warm tongue that licks your face when you cry-dogs soothe our souls and enrich our lives. Science is now confirming what pet lovers have known for years: pets make us feel better. We live longer and better with them by our sides. When we touch them, our heartbeat slows, our body relaxes: we are happy.

You are the most special person in your dog's life; his world revolves around you. If you have never owned a dog before, the experience will change your life. You will have, ready at all times, a playmate and companion, guardian and friend. With your dog you can be yourself in complete safety, knowing that this animal adores you without reservation or opinion, thinking you the best in the whole world.

And for all this dogs ask little in return. They require basic physical care that they cannot do for themselves. Grooming, medical attention, a good diet and shelter. But you can give all this and still not give what the dog needs most-your love, attention and understanding. That is what this book is all about-teaching you how to understand and communicate with this wonderful species so that the life you share with your dog is as positive, fun and tension free as possible. Whether you are selecting a companion, raising your pup, training your dog or looking for a solution to a behavior problem, we will cover it all in simple, commonsense and effective ways.

With their unquestioning devotion comes obligation. Caring for a dog is a commitment, one of the first many of us make in our lives. Often the training ground for parenthood, dogs allow us to practice the skills of caring for another living being before a child arrives. The emotions of puppy owners and new parents are not so very different-protection, concern, confusion, frustration, all wrapped in an overwhelming love. And like an infant, animals too are innocent and trusting. We owe them our highest selves, not our upset, anger or impatience.

Why a dog? In short, to love and be loved.

The apartment is stunning. Antiques and old tapestries line the hall. The living room is full of fresh flowers. Everything is perfect, except the pale blue rug that is covered with urine stains. Mrs. H., tall, coiffed and perfectly dressed, sits to my right. The beautifully groomed Maltese hops from the couch to her lap and back. "I've tried everything," Mrs. H. begins. "I've scolded him, shown it to him, tied him near it-nothing works. Someone told me to clean it up with white vinegar and then rub the vinegar on his nose. Now he runs away from me if I try to catch him. He's so sweet. I just adore him, but he's being so spiteful." Her voice trails off.

"It's not a matter of spite," I explain. "He does not know what you want."

"Oh, yes, he does. He's so guilty when I find a spot. He runs under the couch and won't come out."

"It's not guilt," I explain. "He knows you're angry, but that does not mean he knows what he did wrong.

"It's a matter of teaching. Scolding him, punishing him after the fact, isolating or hitting him does not tell him anything about what he should have done. Just because you tell him you hate urine on the rug does not mean he understands that when he has the urge to pee, he should run back to his papers. Those are two completely different thoughts. It's time we taught him what you want him to do."

Our two species, dogs and humans, have adored each other for centuries. Yet miscommunication between us is common. Dogs do not arrive in your home with instructions. As for us, I believe we are a mystery to them. To live together happily, I suggest you learn the basics of how Canis familiaris thinks.

First of all, dogs are social. In the wild they live in tight-knit groups called packs. They hunt, live and raise their young cooperatively. When living with people, they transfer that sociability to us. This transfer leads to the communication we value so highly.

"He reads my mind." "He's my best friend." It's because he adopts us into his world as much as we adopt him into ours.

Dogs are truly a genetic miracle, the most varied species on the planet. Regardless of whether they are 2 pounds or 200, they all have the same motivations, instincts and needs.

There is no democracy in dogdom. Your dog is either being dominant ("I'm in charge and you follow") or submissive ("You're in charge and I follow"). They fit every interaction into one of these two psychological categories. When your dog comes up, drops a toy on your lap and barks at you, he is being dominant. He is commanding you, nicely, to throw it. When you do, you are following his order, which makes you submissive in his eyes. If, instead, you give him a command like "Sit" and then, after he obeys, toss the toy, you are leading. The more you lead, the more obedient your dog will be.

Dogs do not understand English.

If your kindergarten teacher had pointed to an apple while saying "grape," you might well think that the correct word for apple was grape. The situation is the same for your dog. If you say "Come" when he is playing but don't make him respond, then he grows up thinking "come" means "play." When teaching a command, you must carefully link the word with the action desired.

For the dog to learn, you have to link word with action within seconds because there is no way to explain to him later. When you come home at five and scold him for chewing the couch at three, he does not understand why you are upset. We call him "spiteful," "stupid," or just plain "bad" when he is actually confused or upset. A dog does not enjoy being in trouble with his owner. Your approval and acceptance are the most important things in your dog's life.

Understanding how a dog thinks will make everything you do with your dog, from selection to training, easier.


Excerpted from Good Owners, Great Dogs by Sarah Wilson Brian Kilcommons Copyright © 1992 by Brian Kilcommons . Excerpted by permission.
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.

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Good Owners, Great Dogs 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before we got our rescue dog 9 years ago, I spent weeks researching dog training books. Good Owners, Great Dogs is hands-down the pick of the litter, and it continues to be the best book I've read. I've used it on my own dogs, and always give it as a gift to anyone who is getting a dog. Use these methods for a happy, healthy, great companion animal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is essential for anyone with a dog. It not only provides training guidance but also helpful tips, like be happy when you go to the vet for the first time and don't touch your dog because they will feel your nervousness --- both of my dogs LOVE the vet because of this simple tip. The authors just put together their common sense and years of training experience. I recommend it to anyone I know who has or is getting a dog and I credit it with my happy pups!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had been helpful in the day to day training of my dogs. I have one dog who always lags behind on the leash, this book gave me a quick trick to make him keep up -- it was worth the purchase price just for that advise! It is designed so that you can just go to the specific training problem you are having and look up "how to" information. A great addition to your library if you have dogs.
CMAR More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book for anyone getting a new puppy or dog. Recommended to me by the vet. Good tips and tricks.
Terryh More than 1 year ago
I received this book as a gift from a friend that trained his puppy with this book, he called it his puppy-training bible. I was very impressed with the progress he made with his puppy, that when i got my puppies, he gave me his book after he finished reading it. I love the trainer's approach to teaching a puppy basic good manners and it is very easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend it! I kept my copy and sent one to a friend as a gift.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This remains the one book I turn to for insights into MY training lapses for my older dogs and reminders for my new pups. A must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With the help of this book I was able to turn my horribly abused, fearful shelter dog into a confident, loving, well-mannered dog that could go anywhere with me. I was also able to train the most stubborn, obnoxious, and destructive 4-year old beagle (who had been kicked out of numerous training classes) into an obedient, wonderful pet that can now walk into Petsmart without causing a riot. I was able to do all this without yelling, hitting, or going insane. This is the only dog training book that you will ever need. The authors should receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kilcommons' book is terrific and funny too. Anything our dog does wrong can be traced directly to instances in which we didn't do what the book says ... and everything she does right (which is 98%, bless her heart) is because I trained her with the book. One invaluable command (see book for details): "Enough!" There are excellent sections on biting, and very important advice on the food bowl (take it away without warning periodically while she's a pup, or risk biting / snarling problems when she's grown). Excellent advice on jumping up -- never allow it, even though it's cute when she's a puppy, it's a disaster when she's grown. (Kilcommons is funny here: "dogs don't have fashion sense"). Great advice on names -- every dog needs two. The best overarching philosophical points I got from the book: 1) Never give a command more than once. Enforce it if she fails to follow the command. 2) Never give a command you aren't prepared or are unable to enforce. 3) Remember that you, the owner, is the alpha dog. She will "try out" for alpha dog from time to time. These tryouts must be squashed. Kilcommons tells you how to squash alpha dog behavior.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the key to the success in choosing and raising ASPEN 'The Best Dog I've Ever Owned'. I¿ve recommended this book to numerous friends and I¿m here to purchase it once again for my sister and her fiancé. I laugh at those who have disregarded my suggestion and have had difficulty understanding why my dog is so well behaved while theirs is simply out of control and reply with ¿You should have bought THE BOOK¿. I have owned this book for several years and still use it as a reference guide to understanding what ASPEN is/was thinking, when the typical response would have been simply that he¿s being a bad dog. Once again I would strongly urge anyone who is considering owning a dog to pick up a copy of ¿Good Owners, Great Dogs¿, it will be one of the best choice that you could make for yourself as well as your dog.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the puppy selection guidelines to dog training, we consider this book our bible for understanding dog behaviour and ensuring our dogs are content and well behaved.
lostdutchman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's all about the owner. People with dog problems have to look at their own behavior first. I have now trained three dogs using the methods in this book and continually get comments like, "What a well-behaved dog you have."
Talbin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has tons of training information, from the basics to little "tips and tricks" that you can use with your dog. However, the organization of the material seemed a bit haphazard to me. To read everything about one major topic (like housebreaking or stay), you need to jump around to several places in the book. Otherwise, though, a great go-to book for learning how to deal with just about every aspect of basic dog training.
MervilleLucky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this is the best dog training book out there, the way he teachs you is by far the most fare, quick teaching, and fast results!, If i have 3 hands,This book would get 3 thumbs up! Great job Brain, and thank you! This is the one and only dog training book you need!
Phantom4Ever More than 1 year ago
The Second i received the book in the mail i started reading it. Right away it was very helpful. I couldn't put it down! I am very grateful someone recommended the this book to me and i recommend it to anyone getting a dog, especially if it's your first!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My problem was in this book. In using the author's techniques, I solved it right away. So very helpful. It should be read by anyone before they get a dog. I am going to recommend it to all who adopt dogs from the shelter where I volunteer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read several dog training books and this is still my top choice for overall training. Like earlier reviews; it's a must have!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have read most of book and do find interesting information but find the author keeps taking you back to previous lessons and then with a little different view. Not sure why purchasers are granting 5 star reviews for this low to mid book. Just my thoughts. But real thoughts!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for training tips. The author not only outlines training methods, but explains problem behaviors as well. This was particularly useful for me. I'm glad I found this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can¿t begin to express my gratitude to these two authors. I have 5 dogs now and finally with the last two puppies I have been able to apply these excellent tools for training. Everything clicks after you take this information in, and puppy training becomes a much easier job. In fact it makes sense with other animals too. Knowledge you will never forget that sinks in easily. Anyone can own a puppy with the help of this fabulous creation. Many Thanks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We could never have brought up such a truly wonderful pet without this book!!! Training was easy and we (us and our dog) handled little things, like the first visit to the vet, in stride. The authors really care, as evidenced by the anecdotes in this book as well as their website and email newsletters. If you have a dog you should own this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book quite a few years ago when I got my dog. I cannot believe how much I learned. I would not recomend any other dog traing book...this one is the best of the best.