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It’s Me or the Dog: How to have the Perfect Pet

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      It’s Me or the Dog: How to have the Perfect Pet
Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell provides her successful programme for perfect dog training.Do they ignore every word you say? Have they started coming in at all hours? Are they wrecking your home? No, it’s not the nation’s teenagers – it’s our pets. Nearly five million homes in the UK own a dog – but who really calls the shots? With bad behaviour rife, it’s time to put the pets in their place – move over power nannies and parenting, this is Supernanny for pets.The Channel 4 series It’s Me or the Dog has established expert dog trainer Victoria Stilwell as a major TV talent.Her accompanying book offers a superb, practical manual for pet owners – whether faced with training a new puppy or with correcting the bad habits of an existing pet. Seeing the world from the dog's point of view is key and at the heart of Victoria's highly successful philosophy. She explains how dogs learn and provides a timed, structured programme for both puppies and older dogs, plus a wealth of problem-solving advice – from how to handle persistent barking to dealing with car journeys and interaction with children. Absolutely packed with info on everything from dog talk to diet, It's Me or the Dog is the must-have manual for every dog owner.

Copyright (#)

Collins

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd. 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/)

First published in Great Britain in 2005 by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Text copyright © 2005, 2007 Ricochet

Photography copyright © 2005, 2007 Mark Read

The Author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

A catalogue record for this work is available from the British Library

Note: Dogs are referred to as “he” throughout this book. This is no reflection of gender bias but was simply intended to make things easier for the reader. I see dogs of both sexes in my work, and the techniques outlined in the following pages will work whether your dog is a “he” or a “she.”

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins ebooks

HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication

Source ISBN: 9781401308551

Ebook Edition © JANUARY 2017 ISBN: 9780007279258 Version: 2017-01-23

Dedication (#)

I dedicate this book to my beloved

husband Van and daughter Alexandra.

I am blessed to have you in my life and

love you both so much.

Contents

Cover (#u8abd3445-1FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Title Page (#u8abd3445-2FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Copyright (#)

Dedication (#)

Introduction (#)

Think Dog/understanding your dog (#)

Talk Dog/communicating with your dog (#)

Dog School/basic obedience training (#)

Dog’s Dinner/feeding your dog the right diet (#)

Accidents Will Happen/how to house-train your dog (#)

You’ll Never Walk Alone/exercising your dog (#)

Ain’t Misbehaving/teach your dog how to live in your world (#)

Worker’s Playtime/how to have fun with your dog (#)

Contacts (#)

Index (#)

Acknowledgements (#)

About the Author (#)

About the Publisher (#)

Introduction (#)

When I was a child, I longed for a dog. I used to put notes under my father’s pillow at night. “Please Daddy, can I have a dog? I promise you that if I get a dog I will never be naughty again.” My father always refused. There was one important reason why, and it was not the fact that he was not a dog-lover himself. Instead, it was because he knew that after the novelty wore off, he and my mother would be the ones who would have to look after the animal. As they both worked, it simply wasn’t practical. Looking back, I know they were right. In the last 15 years, I’ve more than made up for lost time. I’ve been a professional dog-walker, I’ve worked at dog shelters and in dogs’ homes, and continue to advise various rescue organizations. And I’ve fostered more than 40 dogs that were too old, too difficult, or too sick to be easily re-homed.

When I was growing up, the closest I came to owning a dog was to visit the Beagles my grandmother bred. Our favorite outing was to walk the dogs along the fields beside the River Thames. Occasionally, the dogs would make a run for freedom. I have lasting memories of four Beagles taking off into the sunset, ears flapping, mouths turned up in grins at the thrill of the chase, while my grandmother, to no avail, yelled at them to come back. They were the worst-trained dogs you could imagine, but when they eventually returned home by themselves a couple of hours later, dirty, tired, and exhilarated, they were the happiest creatures on earth.

My grandmother was a great inspiration to me, and has been a huge influence on my work. She grew up in a privileged, well-to-do home, with four older brothers, but she never conformed to how her father expected his little girl to behave. Rather than wearing pretty dresses, she longed to ride horses, work in kennels, and get muddy and dirty like her brothers were allowed to do. When her father died while she was in her teens, she proceeded to go her own way. Well before I came on the scene, she set up one of the first dog-grooming parlors in London, and then she became a breeder of Beagles. Her dogs, while a little lacking in training, were never spoiled, but they always came first in her affections. Those dogs had a five-star lifestyle.

Benno was my first dog. I say “my,” but he wasn’t really mine. I was a young aspiring actor, and like many actors, was spending more time waiting tables than appearing on the stage. My sister was a veterinary nurse who supplemented her income by taking occasional dog-sitting jobs. Flat broke, and desperate to lead some semblance of a normal life, I took her advice and advertised myself as a dog-sitter. Within days, I received my first call, from Benno’s owners.

Benno was a Border Collie puppy who lived with two busy lawyers. Even then, it seemed strange to me that two people who were working all day had decided to bring a puppy into their home, but at least they had the good sense to employ someone to care for him while they were out.

I will never forget our first walk on Wimbledon Common. Benno looked up at me with such excitement, and somehow his eyes conveyed an energy that flowed right through me. That moment marked the beginning of my wonderful relationship with dogs.

Within a couple of months of taking that first job walking Benno, I was exercising 20 dogs a day. The morning shift consisted of what I called the “misfits,” a motley crew representing many of the more popular breeds. Teddy, the Labrador puppy, was only too happy to roll in every patch of mud he could find. Shanty, the epileptic Bearded Collie, liked to leap over ferns like a would-be Giselle, while Wilbur, the white Boxer, who pretended to be the tough guy, was always the first one to run and hide behind my legs when any of the other dogs got angry with him.

The afternoon shift comprised the “aristocrats”: The Schnauzer, Willie, and Archie, the West Highland Terrier, looked down their noses at all the other dogs, while delicately sniffing the ground around them. However, Jessie, the German Shepherd, whose owner was a well-known politician, kept everyone in their place.

Whether with misfits or aristocrats, I would walk for hours on Wimbledon Common surrounded by these glorious creatures. The dogs never ran away, even though they were off the leash, nor did they fight. I never questioned why they didn’t. It wasn’t until I became a trainer that I understood why those dogs wanted to be with me. To the dogs, I was their leader and they listened to everything I said. They knew that they had a good thing going, and that when I showed up to walk them, pleasant and exciting things were about to happen. They respected me because I treated them with the utmost care and respect. They trusted me and knew that I was their protector. Those dogs with their quirks and diverse personalities were my introduction into the fascinating world of canine behavior.

One day on the Common I met a behaviorist and we got talking. By then, I was becoming more curious about why dogs acted the way that they did, and from that point onward I began to back up my observations with study, reading books, going to seminars, and taking courses. At the same time, I volunteered as a walker for the famous Battersea Dogs’ Home – my first experience of handling rescue dogs. I also worked with Greyhound rescue agencies and other dog shelters.

When I moved across the Atlantic to New York City in 1999, my work stepped up a notch. I set up a training school to instruct families with children on safe and effective dog training. I worked with the ASPCA and with rescue shelters in Manhattan in addition to training dogs in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. After spending two years filming It’s Me or the Dog in Britain, I relocated down south to Georgia, where I now run a training organization as well as serve as a behavior advisor to a number of rescue shelters in the north Georgia area.

My husband and I fostered many dogs while we were in New York – dogs that we pulled from the municipal shelters before they were put to sleep. We looked after the elderly, and nurtured the young ones, many who were sick or had mental scars from abuse. In many cases, we were able to rehabilitate these dogs and find them new homes. We were careful not to form too close a bond with our foster dogs so they would find it easier to bond with their new owners, but it still wasn’t easy to say good-bye. We missed having our own dog, but work commitments kept us traveling and we were unable to offer a dog a stable lifestyle. Now, after many years, we are the proud owners of a rescued chocolate Labrador called Sadie.

The two sides of my work, dog rescue and dog training, are deeply linked. Do you know that 96% of dogs that end up abandoned in shelters have never had any training? The year before I arrived in New York, 67,000 dogs and cats found themselves in shelters, and 47,000 of them were put down. That’s a tragic waste of life. The situation has now improved somewhat, with owners becoming more aware of the need to neuter their pets, but more dogs are still being bred than there are people who are willing to look after them properly.

I have a profound respect for the domestic dog. For thousands of years, the dog has cohabited with humans, and put up with all the idiosyncrasies of our world. This unique and unbreakable partnership between dog and human has made the dog one of the most successful species on the planet. Your dog’s predecessors ensured the survival of the species by aligning themselves with the one other species that has the utmost power to protect them from threat: man. From fighting a constant battle for survival in the wild to sleeping on a comfy couch with an endless supply of food and affection – now that’s a clever animal!

When I ask a new client what they want to achieve by training their dog, the standard response is that they want to train their dog to be obedient. They want their dog to respond to commands, such as “sit,” “get down,” and “stay,” to be house-trained, and to get along with other people and other dogs.

Then I ask them: What do they think their dog needs? The reply is always very similar. Clients usually say that their dog needs to learn to “sit,” “stay,” and “get down,” to be house-trained, and to behave. And that is the popular view of what dog training is all about.

What I hardly ever hear is that a client wants to learn how their dog learns, how their dog communicates, and what their dog needs in order to be successful. But that’s just it – training is about understanding how your dog perceives the world around him. Using this knowledge, you can then become a better communicator and create an environment where your dog is happy and has the confidence to cope with domestic life. Understanding and communication: It’s as simple as that. We’re so focused on getting our dogs to sit, stay, and come when called that we lose the very reason why we are doing this.

This book is all about giving you a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build your training. Think of it as your support system. Of course, you can teach your dog to “sit” and to “come” without understanding much about his innate behavior. But sooner or later you will run into a problem or an area of difficulty that demands a more subtle approach. If you don’t understand what makes a dog tick, or how to communicate with him in a language that he can understand, you won’t be able to solve the problem.

And at this point, many owners respond in one of two ways: Either they give up and ignore the situation, or they resort to harsh punishment that inevitably makes things worse. Some people carry on living their lives with an unruly pet, accepting all the restrictions that this state of affairs imposes upon them. Others find themselves at the end of their wits and decide to give up their dog. It doesn’t have to be that way.
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