Train a terrier!? It can be done but
All kinds of dogs have a number of hard-wired traits bred into them. Hounds love to follow their noses, Retrievers love to fetch and Herding dogs love to herd. With few exceptions, these are pretty harmless activities and don't stand in the way of training. Terriers, however, were bred to hunt and kill vermin independently, digging underground and barking excitedly, almost impervious to pain. Let's see...just a few challenges to overcome in training: strong prey drive, independence, feistiness, digging, barking, the list goes on. In Terrier-Centric Dog Training, author Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell takes up the challenge to help terrier owners train their dogs by making sure they understand the instincts bred into terriers and what the most effective training and management techniques are to use when working with a natural born killer. You can train your terrier, but just don't let him loose off-leash in a park full of squirrels!
Make yourself the most important thing in your terrier's world to keep his attention and focus on you.
Reward your terrier by allowing him to engage in behaviors he wants to do in exchange for doing what you want him to first.
Help your touch-sensitive terrier become comfortable while being handled and groomed.
Identify your terrier's bubble, the space within which he is likely to become reactive toward people, other dogs and whatever else he views as distractions.
Recognize what you can and cannot expect from a terrier in terms of trainability being realistic is very important.
What experts are saying about Terrier-Centric Dog Training:
So many dog trainers just don't get the terrier thing. To my absolute delight, Dawn gets it. No excuses for terrier behavior, just facts and the best kind of advice for living with terriers and shaping them to behave as good citizens while respecting and understanding their terrier-ness. I was thrilled to see the emphasis she gives to teaching dogs to live safely with people and to be calm and happy with human interactions. And this is so important because so many trainers and owners are quite intimidated by the strong emotions and opinions that terriers bring to the table. The book's well explained and appropriate protocols show that you can indeed train a terrier and if you do, you can call yourself a dog trainer!
Brenda Aloff, author Aggression in Dogs and Puppy Problems? No Problem
Anyone who wants to connect with a terrier will find the keys right here. The way to a terrier's heart and mind is through his natural instincts. Ms. Antoniak-Mitchell has described the portal to reaching terriers and creating the perfect relationship that turns our favorite bad boys into well-behaved and beloved companions.
Jo Ann Frier-Murza, author Earthdog Ins & Outs
Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell recently left the practice of law to become a full time dog trainer. She is an active competitor in a wide range of activities with her terriers engaging in earth dog tests, obedience, rally obedience, agility, and terrier trials. She is co-owner of BonaFide Dog Academy LLC in Omaha, NE.
What reviewers are saying...
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
Expert dog trainer Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell presents Terrier-Centric Dog Training: From Tenacious to Tremendous, a practical how-to guide written especially for terrier owners. Terriers were originally bred selectively to dig and kill burrowing vermin; as a result, their instincts to chase and kill other animals (including cats!) are very powerful, and they are notorious for their loud barking and low arousal thresholds. So how does one teach a "natural born killer" to behave? Chapters teach the viewer how to keep their terrier's attention and focus, use the terrier's desired behaviors as rewards (for example, if the terrier wants to bark at a squirrel and you want to train him to come when called, and effective intermittent reward is to let your terrier bark at the squirrel for a little while after he comes to you), be aware of your terrier's "bubble" (people, dogs, or things that come too close to his personal space can set off a chain reaction), and more. Perhaps most important is understanding that terriers will always be terriers, not border collies or Labrador retrievers, and plan one's training appropriately; for example, pets that are prey animals (rabbits, birds, piglets, etc.) will never be safe when alone with a terrier, no matter his training. Terrier-Centric Dog Training lives up to its title and is highly recommended as a solid reference for terrier owners everywhere. James A. Cox