Author: Melissa Berryman
Melissa Berryman, a former animal officer, has written a book about training dogs responsibly in order to avoid liability and harm to others and their dogs.
I have read many dog training books, and while Melissa stresses the need for compliance from dogs with its relevance to liability, she also believes, as do many trainers, the need for positive as well as negative reinforcement. Dogs are pack animals she states and need the owner to be in control – all the time.
I just finished Merle’s Door, wherein author Ted Kerasote shows the actions that Melissa talks about while he believes in equality between man and dog. I tend to go the way of Kerasote: where safety is concerned you MUST let your dog know there are limits. However, the difference lies herein: Kerasote allows Merle his freedom and they work as partners.
Berryman makes many good points:
It is interesting to see different views from different authors. Kerasote comes from the view of what dogs need; Berryman comes from the view of what humans need to allow dogs to obey them.when dogs bite humans, they get put down. And you are legally liable for the actions of your dog. Her book is amazingly clear and accurate and her methods are straightforward. Your dog must obey – always as you are the pack leader.
Melissa Berryman shares 5 common misperceptions people have about dog and human behaviors – and how you can change to prevent catastrophes?
1. Myth: When greeting a new dog, you should extend your hand for it to sniff.
Fact: Dogs don’t sniff each other’s paws when greeting and like us prefer to be asked before being touched by a stranger. Instead, ask the owner and then also ASK the dog by tapping your hand on your thigh simulating a wagging tail and act friendly. The dog will relax and nuzzle you, need to sniff more to get to know you or will stay away.
2. Myth: Breed dictates temperament.
Fact: Dogs, first and foremost, are predatory canines that live in groups. Breeds are generalizations that enable breeders to better market the product they sell. What dictates temperament is their pack position, the role you, the human, play in the group and the rank of group members. Dogs have superior/inferior interrelationships and command and defer accordingly. And just as siblings in a family have the same parents yet are very different, one cannot purchase behavior by buying a dog of a certain breed.
3. Myth: When a dog charges, there is nothing you can do.
Fact: When a dog charges you, it’s trying to decide if you are friend, foe or prey. Their eyesight is poor so hats, sunglasses and other objects you may push or carry can scare them. Act like a friend and pretend you are not afraid. Stand facing the dog with relaxed body language, tap your thigh with your hand and use a high-pitched voice for a friendly greeting like “good girl.” Fake it if you are afraid.
4. Myth: Posting a “Beware of Dog” sign will protect you from liability if your dog injures someone on your property.
Fact: Dogs can only read body language. These signs make people react to your dog in a fearful manner, which is more likely to cause a dog to consider visitors prey and bite them. Use No Trespassing and Dog At Play signs instead.
5. Myth: Only bad dogs owned by bad people bite.
Fact: Even responsible dog owners operate under the same false beliefs about human and canine behavior. They are also encouraged to take a passive role concerning their dog. Any dog can bite especially when it feels personally threatened, is exposed to prey behavior or thinks that someone lower in rank threatens its resources, such as food, toys, bedding and the attention of its owner.
Very good and well written book and a good textbook for any dog owner’s library.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
People Training for Good Dogs: What Breeders Don’t Tell You and Trainers Don’t Teach is available on Amazon.com and booksellers nationwide