Monday, March 26

A Book To Celebrate

For the past year and a few months my life and my boyfriend's life has changed dramatically thanks to our sweet but very fearful dog Neville.  If given the chance, I wouldn't change him, only because it might change the very things I love so much about him.  But I continue to "train" with him and try everything I know how to do to help him.  In an effort to read something new or have a moment of clarity I found a book that wasn't speaking to me as a trainer, but rather as an owner of a fearful dog.  The book is A Guide To Living With & Training A Fearful Dog and the topic of today's blog.

I am so thankful to this book.  So many times throughout the book I had to stop reading and just weep for a moment, and let out all the feelings I had been locking inside.  The author, Debbie Jacobs, does such a great job of capturing all the emotions and sometimes frustrations that come with living with a fearful dog.  The best part is she explains how normal that is!  I realize as a trainer I should know that, but when it is your own dog, it is so easy to blame yourself for feeling frustrated or exhausted.

I think what the book did for me more than anything is it allowed me to feel like I wasn't alone in this.  No matter how many trainers I speak to or books I read, I sometimes feel like I am spinning my wheels more than anything and I run into dead ends all the time or I find myself back at the beginning.  It was nice to get out of the trainer speak and just read about what I can do as his "mommy" to make it better.  Answers that were really right in front of me the whole time and many things I was already doing.  The main idea that I already knew in my heart and fully believe as a trainer, was that the most appropriate way to get through to a fearful dog is positive reinforcement training.

I can't recommend this book enough to anyone living with a fearful dog, no matter if they are just a little timid or severely fearful.  You can probably read it in a day and the amount of references you get at the end is really amazing.  Again, Debbie Jacobs wrote this to help other doggie moms that are going through what she has gone through, not a trainer talking to other trainers or trying to teach you.  It is a collection of her experiences, but they worked for her dog, so they just might work for yours.  If nothing else, you will feel like someone hugged you at the end, I certainly did.

If you are interested in learning more about Debbie Jacobs or wish to purchase the book bark on the link:  BARK

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