Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: Brain Games For Dogs, by Claire Arrowsmith

Since I'm working on Elka's Trick Dog Titles (just 4 new ones left until Intermediate Trick Dog is ours!), and since it sometimes takes a lot to occupy Elka in the house, I frequently check out every book that intimates that it's on tricks and training and other such things.

Brain Games For Dogs, by Claire Arrowsmith, is a slim volume, but it shows basic obedience and tricks that you can do to engage your dog's brain, and have a lot of fun in the process.

One thing I do like about Brain Games For Dogs is that the teaching methods are positive ones. There is no clicker used, but if you're "in the know" with clicker training, it's possible for you to see in the instructions where you would click. Though the tricks are summarized simply, they are broken down into steps, and there are lots of pictures!

One thing I found tiresome about Brain Games For Dogs is that there tended to be the same trick, listed separately in its variants. "Fetch" is one of the first tricks listed, and then throughout the book there are things like "change the channel" (i.e., find the remote and bring it here), "find it",  "give it and take it", "where are my keys?", and naming specific toys. I think these all could have been covered in one section, because it's a refinement and variation of the same behavior.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I appreciated the time that was taken with details, and to ensure that a dog would have a mentally enriched environment. A lot of page space was devoted to treat and food dispensing toys and strategies, which I really dug.