Thursday, 13 May 2010

Brief review: Get Connected by Brenda Aloff

Get Connected (2007) Brenda Aloff

This large format book with accompanying DVD had sparked my interest when discussed on the DogRead Yahoo discussion group. From the title and sample pages it seemed like a really interesting proposition – a training text which explicitly included focus on the relationship between handler and dog. Some of the exercises are interesting, and as always Brenda’s descriptions of training terminology are excellent.

However I was uncomfortable with what I felt to be a needlessly confrontational approach to handling, particularly with dogs that were giddy, over excited or lacking in boundaries. Viewing the DVD confirmed this – while clearly her methods produce results, they are not techniques that I particularly choose to use. For example she uses confinement and firm stroking/rubbing with an apparently anxious dog until he ‘submits’ and calms down.

Viewing the video left me feeling she had deliberately ignored many of the dog’s calming signals, and the whole process could have been managed in a much les confrontational manner. This was a useful learning experience and has helped me to clarify my own feelings, preferences and beliefs within dog training.

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