By: Christina Potter
Publisher: Aperture Press
Release date: August 2017
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Revision date: March 19, 2018
Dog trainer and author Christina Potter, in her third book in the “Chester Gigolo” series, offers a book that is a lot of fun to read and, more importantly, gives readers a lot of very useful information about dog training. dogs.
pack leader It is divided into sixteen chapters that examine various aspects of the canine world that will help you train your dog. The book begins with an introduction that shares how much dogs enjoy human company and how it works best when both dog and human understand each other. So how do you improve your ability to communicate with your dog? That’s what the book is about.
Right off the bat in the first chapter, the author offered advice that drew me in and made me want to read the rest of the book. “Blur the lines between playing and training, and you’ll have a dog that’s happy to work with you anytime.” From there, he goes on to explain that you have to be firm but not too firm. How? She uses a spaghetti noodle analogy that works perfectly to convey her point of view. The chapters are quite short, most are three or four pages long, and everything is very easy to understand.
pack leader it’s “written” by Chester Gigolo, a Berger Picard, and he’s a smart dog. Chester shares his training expertise on a wide range of topics, from knowing what each breed is bred for (and using that knowledge to select the right dog, as well as using your innate instincts to your advantage when training) to how often to give treats and even what kind of treats work best. And unlike many dog training manuals that offer advice in a dry and boring way, Chester is quite funny and entertaining. He brings each chapter to life with commentary, for example, when he talks about getting treats, “go to the kitchen, load yourself with delicious treats, in his hands, not in his belly, and let’s get started.”
There is a lot of useful information in this book that both first-time dog owners and more advanced canine fanatics will learn. What I especially appreciated is that the author didn’t just share her point of view and say “it works for me, it will work for you”. Rather, it supports her claims with research from around the world, pointing to the researchers/institutions/journals, how the tests were done, and the results. While I’ve had dogs my whole life and like to think I know what I’m doing when I train them, I definitely learned a lot from this book. Did you know that tail wagging doesn’t always mean a dog is happy? What about growling? For tricks, the author recommends using your dog’s breed to help determine which tricks will be easiest for your dog to learn, and then continues with several real-life examples showing how different breeds react to the same situation. And speaking of tricks, chapter ten (right in the middle of the book) is devoted to trick training. There are 25 tricks dissected in such a way that, again, it’s easy to see how to teach each trick. Most are also accompanied by an image of a dog performing the trick. I “dog-tested” several of the tricks on my dog Rocco (a dachshund-yorkie mix who is adorable but not the brightest bulb in the pack), and he was able to follow my lead and do the tricks. That is worth the price of this book!