Would you like to be a dog trainer or a coach for people training their dogs? Terry Ryan’s Coaching People to Train Their Dogs is a valuable resource. If you haven’t heard of Terry Ryan, she is a renowned dog trainer whose books, lectures, and workshops have long been focused on teaching dog trainers how to teach people to train their dogs. This nearly 400 page book covers everything a dog trainer would want to know, in great detail — the Table of Contents alone runs nine pages!
To give you the idea, here are the chapter headings in that long Table of Contents:
- The Science of Learning
- Husbandry (Health and Wellness Information; Training Equipment)
- The Business
- People Skills
- Class Organization
- A Toolbox for Remodeling Problem Behavior
To give you more of the flavor, here are the first dozen subheadings under Ethology:
- Comparing dogs with humans
- our dog’s ancestors
- early relationships – speculations
- an example of purposeful domestication using selective breeding
- comparing dogs with wolves
- wolf-dog hybrids
- behavior: why do dogs do that?
- phylogenetic behavior
- fixed action patterns
- ontogenetic behavior
- temperament — nature and nurture
- instinctive drift — the Breland Effect.
Some of that sounds like heady going, but if you are training people to train their own dogs you will be happy to have a solid background in methods and theories. Here are some of my favorite subheadings from the People Skills chapter:
- Tell Me and I’ll Forget
- It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear
- This is New Stuff — From Our Students’ Point of View
- The Talkers in Class
- Pet Loss
- Demo Dog — Your hand
- The Children in the Family
- Using Music as an Aid to Communication
- Remembering Names
As you can see, it’s very practical and useful! I’ve taught classes in other subjects and this practically (but not quite) makes me want to teach dog training classes.
The book is an investment, but if you are already a dog trainer or seriously considering becoming one, I suspect this book will pay for itself many times over in the creative and useful ideas, lesson plans, guidelines, and much more that you can turn to. It can inspire you when you hit lulls. It can extend your abilities way beyond what they are now. Got a recalcitrant puppy (or puppy owner) in your class? Get some ideas here.
Noted dog trainer Jean Donaldson, herself an acclaimed author of dog training books, said, “Thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written, this text is an excellent survey of many boggling complexities of dog training today.”
If you’d like to know more about Terry Ryan and her work, see her website at http://www.legacycanine.com. She’s also known for clicker training chickens!