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How can I learn about dog basics?

(19 Posts)
booksandwool Sat 22-Nov-14 06:56:00

Our vague talks about having a dog seem to have switched to "this one, NOW" - husband has fallen desperately in love with a rescue lurcher. He's lived with dogs before but I never have and I want to inform myself about things like behaviour, "reading" them, handling interaction with small children (we have two) etc. Please can you suggest how I can give myself a crash course on everything I need to know? She seems like a lovely dog, and I want to be confident in saying yes.
Thank you!

NCIS Sat 22-Nov-14 07:45:19

I would find a good dog trainer, one who is experienced in rescue dogs. Do you know anyone in the area with happy, well socialised dogs you could ask? Have the rescue any advice? Some of them have trainers who work with them, I know my trainer does.
Possibly join a sighthounds group on FB and get to know locals who have lurchers.

crapcrapcrapcrap Sat 22-Nov-14 07:45:41


Dogs Trust have some great information.

The late great Sophia Yin has wonderful advice on her website.

Regarding body language and interactions with children, get a glass of wine and a box of tissues and sit down to read the Liam J Perk website - brilliant resource.

You'll get lots of help here too smile

If you want to quickly get quite an in depth understanding of how dogs tick, I'd heartily recommend you read Karen Pryor's wonderful book "Don't Shoot the Dog" - more depth than any of the sites above but the information in there will set you up to make sense of everything else. It literally changed my life (I work with dogs) smile

Camsie30 Sat 22-Nov-14 08:01:54

Victoria Stillwell's book It's Me or the Dog is brilliant.

NCIS Sat 22-Nov-14 08:10:52

I've found 'Clever Dog,Understand What Your Dog Is Telling You ' by Sarah Whitehead good too.

booksandwool Sat 22-Nov-14 10:45:41

Oh, thank you all, I'll take a look at all of those and see what it looks like I might gel with.
And yes, I'm expecting to become a regular on here with daft questions and panicking. House visit tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

Firedemon Sat 22-Nov-14 11:14:26

Good luck, we adopted a rescue whippet in the summer and it has been wonderful!
Second the idea of classes. We take her every week and the information given to us there has been invaluable. Experienced dog owners can be great sources of information.
Mostly though, it's all quite trial and error. Her behaviour has improved steadily from the start with a combination of classes/Google/muddling along!

booksandwool Sun 23-Nov-14 12:17:54

Eeeek! We've had the home visit, and she was really positive and enthusiastic, even though the 3yo was being more boisterous than normal.
It seems to be all down to me to say yes to this dog - I've been looking at the Liam J Park Foundation (which also freaked me out a bit) and those behaviour sheets online, and I've ordered the Karen Pryor book. The husband also pulled out an old copy of a book called the dog listener, which seems to be big on the whole dogs-as-wolves thing - it was written in 2000, am I right that this sort of idea is less popular now?
I desperately want to feel the confidence on getting going on this journey.

Adarajames Sun 23-Nov-14 12:45:03

Forget the dog whisperer, stick with Pryore book, or Jean Donaldson or gwen bailey books

crapcrapcrapcrap Sun 23-Nov-14 12:53:05

Yes, bin dog listeners and dog whisperers! It's not about popularity of ideas - just that science has advanced and now we understand that the wolves/pack thing is not correct (and is actually harmful).

LJP site is scary, but if you take one thing from it it's that no dog ever bites "out of the blue" - there's always a warning, so you can have much better safety if you learn the signs. A good trainer will help you do that. We can help you find a good trainer too smile

booksandwool Mon 24-Nov-14 10:45:58

This is all very exciting - looks like we're all go go go! I've got an appointment with the behaviourist at the rescue tomorrow, to talk specifically about dogs and children, and hopefully get me started on feeling confident, then it's just a matter of arranging when we get her. Oh, there will be so many questions coming...

EvenBetter Mon 24-Nov-14 12:55:39

Awww how lovely! I co-parent a Lurcher, she's hilarious. Did you know the word Lurcher comes from a Romany word 'lur' which means thief? And they are wee thieves, my family lurcher has a treasure chest in her bed of her prizes- babywipes, socks, all the toys in the world, mouldy carrots etc. ��

RudePepper Mon 24-Nov-14 17:06:07

How exciting, good luck!

I'm a bit of a novice too (though lived with dogs as a child) - can anyone please explain what you mean by the wolves/pack thing being discredited. What was the theory? Was it the pecking order stuff?

Wolfiefan Mon 24-Nov-14 17:09:17

Marking my place!
I'm going to have to look at some of these reading suggestions!

crapcrapcrapcrap Mon 24-Nov-14 18:54:37

RudePepper yes - we used to think dogs could be treated as wolves, and we used to think that wolves within a pack would fight for alpha position. Then it became clear that the studies on wolves were flawed (wolves live in packs with a family structure and rarely fight for status) and dogs don't live in packs anyway (they live in loose social groups). Lots of science to back this up if you're interested - start with Mech and Coppinger.

Alongside this we've got new understanding about how dogs learn, much of it following on from Pavlov and then Skinner. The book mentioned above (Don't Shoot the Dog) covers learning theory well.

Now we know what dogs aren't, and what they are, we are much more able to understand, explain and modify their behaviour with kindness and sympathy. It breaks my heart to remember how misunderstood dogs have been (and in many cases still are) sad

booksandwool Tue 25-Nov-14 13:23:04

Had a fantastic session with the behaviourist this morning, she backed all this up with a plea not to look to any of the popular books that use all the wolf ideas...she also went through in loads of detail the tests that the rescue had done on here. So I'm waiting for Don't Shoot The Dog to arrive, and more importantly the husband is off right now picking up the dog herself!
Am so looking forward to getting to know her at the same time as rapidly growing my dog skills.

crapcrapcrapcrap Tue 25-Nov-14 18:29:50

Yay! Pics please! smile

CMOTDibbler Tue 25-Nov-14 19:49:12

Congratulations! I have two lurchers, and they are wonderful. Mostly <hard stare at puppy>

CalamityKate1 Tue 25-Nov-14 20:07:04

The Dog Listener is Jan Fennell I expect who is bonkers as conkers.

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