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Book Recommendation - Please Add your Favorite!

96826 Views 198 Replies 160 Participants Last post by  RonC
I thought with so many new members coming on board recently, it might be a good time to post some of our favorite books we’ve read on the most wonderful breed of all… the German Shepherd.
They can be about training, behavior, the breed in general, rescue or adoption or any others you feel might be helpful to those that are new to the breed or for those of us that just can’t seem to get enough!

One of the books I’ve recently read (even though not GSD specific) was “A Dogs Mind: Understanding Your Dogs Behavior,” by Bruce Fogle. I found it very interesting how he explains the pack mentality of dogs (no matter how domesticated they’ve become, it will exist) and how many of the everyday behaviors we see in our dogs have been ingrained in their genetic make up. He explains possible reasons why a dog may behave in a certain way, good or bad, and gives insight how to correct it.
Another very interesting thing he goes in to is how hormones play in to their behavior. What changes take place chemically and hormonally when a bitch gives birth and how those hormones effect the pups. He also explains the the stages of development the puppies go through and how our behavior as well as the mother’s effects their later behavior and development. He also discusses the effects of spaying and neutering.

It’s more along the lines of a scientific study than just a normal behavioral book. He goes in to a bit more detail than most books I’ve read and he uses basic physiology terminology to explain the behaviors we see in our dogs. I found it very interesting and would highly recommend it to anyone who is really interested in getting into their dogs head!
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Here’s an oldie but goodie - one every GSD lover should have IMO.

‘The German Shepherd Dog in Word & Picture’ by Max v. Stephanitz
Of course, written by the man that is credited as the father of the GSD. This man had amazing wisdom. Reading his book today I find many things still apply. There’s a little of everything in there from history, feeding, breeding, training, etc., etc. My fav GSD Book!
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Jack & Wendy Volharts Dog Training for Dummies.
It's the only book I've found so far that outlines both positive reinforcement and correction in training. Has very practical how to stuff. I especially liked the idea of a long 'just because I said so' down. It helped gain control of Dynamo in some subtle and not so subtle ways.
Now I'm looking for any advanced training books that would take the same balanced approach (ie, positive motivation, backed up by correction when necessary). Any out there? I'm only finding extremes.
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ITA on Dog Training for Dummies, it is easy to follow and very practical. German Shepherds for Dummies is great too!
The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell

they have it at

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The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell
I enjoyed "Purely Positive Training" by Shelia Booth. I liked her concept. I also used her other book "Schutzhund Obedience Training in Drive" for teaching my dogs obedience work.

The Koehler Method of Dog Training
How to Speak Dog By Stanley Coren
I found it much easier to understand than the Dog Whisperer
I'm currently reading The Good Shepherd: Pet Owners Guide to the German Shepherd Dog
by M. Mordecai/Margolis Siegal. It starts at the beginning, explaining how the GSD came to be, which was from a mixture of other herding dogs in Germany. It also includes the attributes of the breed and all the different "work" they're suited for and gives an overview of what to look for when choose the right GSD for you. It seems like a good resource if a person was considering getting a German Shepherd. It's an easy read, does not go into a lot of detail but gives good "basic" information.
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HELP FOR YOUR SHY DOG, by Deborah Wood

I know many of us have dogs that may have come from a reputable breeder, no-so reputable breeder, puppy mills, shelters and rescues and we deal with our shy dog on a daily bases. It’s stressful for us, but even more stressful for them! Can you imagine being afraid of things that most everyone else takes for granted?
One of my dogs (Cooper) was a shelter puppy and suffered from sever shyness. I've been working on this problem for over a year and have finally found a book I feel really deals with the issue. It not only deals with the issue of submissive and shy dogs but also has stories and real HELP on how to train your dog to overcome their shyness.

We know that not all dogs will never completely recover from bad temperament, breeding, neglect or abuse, but this book give some great training exercises and behavior modifications (for them and us) to help the dog become more confident.

The book explores the shy dog coping abilities, dealing with them in public, phobias, submissive urination/defecation, fear-biters and other issues we experience in living with our shy dog. This book covers a wide array of behaviors found in shy dogs.

Some of the tips she uses for PHOBIAS are:
Turn scary things into food dispensers.
Focus you dog on a training exercise.
Play a desensitization tape.
Give your dog a reassuring word (she does NOT advocate babying or enforcing fearfulness. For example, when startled by a loud noise, she uses a “matter of fact” voice and says “It’s just a noise” and goes back to whatever she was doing.
Exposing your dog.
Be matter of fact.
Ignore it. (The example she uses is, if it’s something your dog is very rarely going to encounter, it may be best just to ignore it. In other words, pick your battles.)

She also touches on PHOBIAS created from things such as CRATE abuse and being abused with OBJECTS such as chains, ropes or a leash and how to overcome them.

Finding the right trainer and training class is also discussed and gives you some good tips on how to find the right one for you and your dog.

One thing I found interesting was the chapter on adding a second dog to help “teach” the more shy and submissive dog to be more confident and social. Careful selection must be used in choosing a second dog, but the author feels that with just the right match, it can really boost your shy dog’s social skills and confidence level.

BEFORE I took back my roll as the alpha, Nitro was treating Cooper horribly and it was MY fault! But AFTER reclaiming the roll I never should have been so lazy to relinquish, I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful our household is now! Cooper willingly goes anywhere and will do anything as long as Nitro is there. Very slowly, we’re working towards the day that Cooper will have the confidence to go it alone. More so with shy dogs than a “normal” dog, it takes baby steps and each step accomplish for a shy dog is a BIG ONE!
I HIGHLY recommend this book.
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German Shepherds for Dummies is great too!
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I too really enjoy this book! I can not tell you all how many times, I have used this one for references! And a little known secret is
Chendra Conklin aka Red Head use to be a member here!
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I Love My Dog, But...... by Joy Tiz ....

I couldn't have raised Mystic without it!

I also have the GSD for Dummies book ! LOL
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I really liked 'The Art of Raising a Puppy' by the Monks of New Skete.

I may not agree with all they wrote about, but think it is an good book for those new with pups.
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"Fundamentals of Learning and Motivation"
by Frank Logan

"If learning about learning is the key to understanding maladaptive behaviors, it is also one of the keys to solving them..."

This book was for years a required text for college psychology classes. It's basis lies in the results of the many laboratory tests done on varying number of animal species over decades.

The most striking concept revealed is that all animals (man included) follow pretty much the same principals underlying motivation and learning...differences existing primarily in physical attributes and size.

Once the principles are understood, they can be easily applied to dog training:
--Learning is the association of a response with a stimulus.
--Shaping is defined as successive approximations toward a final desired response.
--A Behavior Chain (a sequence of responses) should be learned backwards to be most effective.
--The attractiveness of a stimulus decreases with overexposure
--The longer a reward is delayed, the poorer the performance of a response
--Negative reinforcement responses are as automatic as those from positive reinforcement. However, outcomes will differ: a rat controlled by positive reinforcement (food) displays distinct eagerness when approached by the experimenter, while the rat controlled by negative reinforcement (shock termination) will make distinct efforts to avoid the whole experiment, ie, biting the experimenter."
--Aversion learning (compulsion)has emotional consequences. If one uses adverse controls over another, it is important to be responsive to the other’s efforts to reduce it. Otherwise one may be teaching a persistent sense of helplessness. Even worse, this sense of helplessness carries over into areas that originally were not subject to aversion learning...

The book is not an easy read, and there are no glossy photos...but the information therein is invaluable!
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The Dog Listener by Jan Fennel.......
Started me on the right path with my two Shepherds.
Also any post on the board by Excaliburk9.....always sensible sound advice,thanks for your posts.

Expert Obedience Training for dogs by Winifred Gibson Strickland. I like her methods but I am still puzzled about her contention that dogs communicate mind to mind. It would be better if you read the book before you got your puppy.
The New Complete German Shepherd Dog
by Jane G. Bennet, Howell House Book

The Proper Care of German Shepherds
by Dr. Carmelo L. Battaglia, TFH

Good Owners, Great Dogs
by Brian Kilcommons w/ Sarah Wilson Warner Books

Schutzhund Theory and Training Methods
by Susan Barwig & Stewart Hilliard, Howell Book House

All About Agility
by Jacqueline O'Neil, Howell Book House

The Common Sense Approach to Fetching a Life with Your Dog
by Adrienne Perry & Jann Cooper, Barker Heeler
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A great book...."So, your dog's not lassie"

A wonderfully entertaining read.

Also I highly recommend "surviving your dog's adolesence" An incredibly insightful book on why your dogs do certain things, even after you think they are trained!
i LOVED "so your dog's not lassie"

i also have really enjoyed "the other end of the leash"
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