Zak George is a new type of dog trainer. A dynamic YouTube star and Animal Planet personality with a fresh approach, Zak helps you tailor dog training to your pet’s unique traits and energy level—leading to quicker results and a much happier pup.
For the first time, Zak has distilled the information from his hundreds of videos and experience with thousands of dogs into this comprehensive dog and puppy training guide that includes:
• Choosing the right pup for you
• Housetraining and basic training
• Handling biting, leash pulling, jumping up, barking, aggression, chewing, and other behavioral issues
• Health care essentials like finding a vet and selecting the right food
• Cool tricks, traveling tips, and activities to enjoy with your dog
• Topics with corresponding videos on Zak’s YouTube channel so you can see his advice in action
Packed with everything you need to know to raise and care for your dog, this book will help you communicate and bond with one another in a way that makes training easier, more rewarding, and—most of all—fun!
|Sold by:||Random House|
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About the Author
DINA ROTH PORT is an award-winning author and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in publications including Glamour, Self, Prevention, and the Huffington Post.
Read an Excerpt
Few things in this world are more exciting and more memorable than welcoming a new dog into your life. The journey goes far beyond simply having a companion by your side. Dogs have much to teach us: They always live in the moment. They’re never spiteful, and they don’t hold grudges. Also, there’s just something about dogs’ loyalty and unconditional love that makes people crazy about them.
That’s not to say that bringing a dog home doesn’t come with its challenges. You have a lot to teach your new pet so that you can live in harmony and have a long, rewarding relationship. Whether you are reading this book because you’ve just gotten a dog or because you want some fresh perspective on raising the one you already have, I promise you that you have come to the right place.
Like many people, I have always adored dogs. I grew up with an adorable terrier mix named Raisin, and I learned that dogs are independent-minded beings who have a great capacity for love.
As I got older, my love for dogs continued to grow. I was absolutely fascinated by them—I’d watch dog Frisbee competitions on TV and was blown away by their flips, leaps, and other tricks. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that a dog and a person could communicate so well, and I really wanted to experience that. So in my twenties, I decided it was time to raise a dog on my own. Little did I know that my life was about to take a turn from average to amazing: that’s when I got Venus.
Venus is a Border Collie, and from the minute I met her I was so impressed by her intelligence. I spent a lot of time training her and always made it fun. In turn, we became completely in tune with each other, and she seemed as obsessed with learning as I was with teaching. I found that there was virtually no limit to what she could do. In just a few days, she learned how to fake a limp by walking on three legs—total Hollywood style, really convincing. Then there’s my favorite trick I call “Superstar”—I’d lie on my back and Venus would balance on her hind legs on top of the soles of my feet. Next, I’d throw Frisbees to her, one after the other. She’d catch every one while maintaining her balance! However, while I know part of her success was due to the amount of time I dedicated to her, it was our bond that played an even bigger role. Venus showed me that when you prioritize your relationship with your dog, the teaching process becomes easy.
When Venus was about ten months old, I decided to drop my real estate career and figure out how I could somehow make a living while teaching her. Of course this job didn’t exist, but I found something surprisingly close. By this point, Venus had won her first three Frisbee competitions, and I found out that a PetSmart near my house was looking for a dog trainer. I scheduled an interview and brought Venus and our three trophies as my resumé. Venus and I performed for the interviewer. I was hired on the spot.
I enjoyed my time at PetSmart over the next few years—it gave me tons of experience. After that, I continued training and, in total, taught thousands of dogs and their families. I worked with all different breeds and mixed breeds and handled virtually every behavioral issue you can imagine. I also added two more Border Collies to my family—Alpha Centauri and Supernova—and eventually took a job with Stunt Dog Productions, performing with my three dogs nationwide. In 2006, I also launched my YouTube channel, now known as Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution, posting videos on how to teach dogs everything from “roll over” to how to stop them from jumping up. I quickly acquired more subscribers than any other dog trainer on YouTube, a status that holds today. Eventually, my success led to my starring on my first TV show, Animal Planet’s SuperFetch, on which I taught average people how to teach their dogs awesome tricks. Later, I produced and starred on a BBC show called Who Let the Dogs Out?, a talent search for Britain’s best young dog trainers.
Throughout all of this experience, I showed people that by learning to connect with their dogs and have fun with them, they could teach them extraordinary things. However, I was also shocked by the scary amount of misinformation in the dog training world. I heard a lot of talk about how we have to be our dogs’ pack leaders and that we need to dominate them; otherwise they will attempt to be the “alpha.” I saw very well-known traditional trainers tell people that dogs are essentially wolves at heart and should be treated as such, even though the actual science tells a very different story. Dogs did descend from ancient wolves, but this next point is critical: for thousands of years, humans have specifically bred dogs for different skills, such as herding, retrieving, or simply for companionship. In other words, dogs have been bred to interact with people. Catering to the wolf ancestry rather than acknowledging this selective breeding ignores why the modern dog even exists, and any training method that teaches based on this old-fashioned line of thinking is fundamentally flawed.
Unfortunately, traditional dog training, which relies heavily on dominance theory, often means punishment-based training. People are told to use force and intimidation to teach their dogs to be submissive. This has always bothered me, not just because it can be very unpleasant for the dog, but also because it focuses on making dogs act a certain way rather than encouraging them to want to do so. For instance, tools designed to cause discomfort to dogs in the name of teaching are commonplace today. I know that many of you reading this may have purchased these devices— such as metal collars, choke chains, and prong collars—in the past, but I also understand that you likely bought them under the advisement of an expert you trusted. I will offer you a better option—one that will teach your dog faster without the use of these tools or other harsh corrections, which do nothing to promote a bond between a person and a dog.
My mission has become clear: to give people an alternative to the shallow, older ways of training dogs. I, along with other like-minded dog professionals, have set out to help raise the standards in dog training and show people that only through heartfelt communication, not domination, can they expect incredible results. And I’ve been overwhelmed by the response: today, over a decade into my career, I see more people embracing positive training methods than ever before. Meanwhile, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and countless professionals have come out against dominance theory, saying that it hinders training, harms relationships between humans and dogs, and actually can cause behavioral problems.1 I am proud that we all have helped to disrupt an industry headed down the wrong path. Together, we have truly been part of a Dog Training Revolution.
Now this book will help you become a part of it, as it will teach you not only the most humane training techniques but also the most effective. It also takes into account that all dogs are different and will show you how to teach your dog. I’ll help you every step of the way. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know—from picking out your dog and housetraining to feeding, basic training, socialization, grooming, and health issues. This book includes a shopping list, a guide to dog-proofing your home, what to do in case of an emergency, and other checklists. I’ll also help troubleshoot common behavioral problems, such as excessive barking, chewing, nipping, and jumping, and even offer advice on the extra fun stuff, such as traveling, exercising with your dog, and cool tricks. And most important, every bit of advice I give works toward building such a strong bond between you and your dog that you’ll be astounded by what you can train her to do. After all, the person who can best train your dog is the person who knows her best— and that’s you. My job is simply to show you how.
Think of this book as your trusty go-to guide. Keep it somewhere handy. Read it straight through or take a chapter at a time. Afterward, you can search the index for topics you need help with as they arise.
Table of ContentsCONTENTS
Decisions, Decisions: Choosing the Right Dog for You
Before Your Dog Comes Home: Everything You Need to Prepare for Your Pet’s Arrival
Welcome to the Family: Steps for a Smooth Transition
Dog Training Revolution: The Key Principles
Housetraining 101: The Five Basic Rules
Basic Training: The Fundamental Skills Every Dog Needs to Know
How to Troubleshoot the Most Common Behavior Problems: Barking, Chewing, Leash Pulling, Puppy Biting, Aggression, Jumping Up, and More
In Sickness and in Health: Basic Care for Your Dog
Time for Fun: Cool Tricks, Traveling, Exercise, and More