The Toolbox for Building A Great Family Dog

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Terry Ryan
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Dogwise Publishing

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Terry Ryan is one of the most well-known figures in the world of positive dog training. She has been a mentor to a generation of trainers world-wide. In The Toolbox for Building a Great Family Dog, Terry presents a complete guide to help families raise a happy and well-mannered dog using techniques and games that are both fun and effective. Though this is a new book with a new focus, some will recognize parts from several of Terry's previous books, the original Toolbox For Remodeling Your Problem Dog, Coaching People To Train Their Dogs and The Bark Stops Here. The focus of this book is the family dog and all that phrase implies including the interactions between kids and dogs, household management strategies, common behavioral problems and training games the whole family (and dog!) can enjoy.

Terry's fans will remember her 1998 book The Toolbox for Remodeling Your Problem Dog. This was one the first books to translate the science of dog behavior and training into practical and easily understood skills for both pet owner and trainer. The focus was on how to solve behavior problems. Now, as Terry puts it, her emphasis is on circumventing problems by rewarding good behavior and teaching alternative behaviors to replace those that are less desirable.

Learn as only Terry Ryan can teach you
Important training and behavior concepts using Terry's creative and fun relationship building program.
The YES TRAIN approach to solving and managing behavior problems.
Games to play with your dog to keep them stimulated and provide opportunities for kids to work with dogs.
How to read your dog's body language to understand what he is thinking and why he is reacting to what is going on around him.

What experts are saying about The Toolbox for Building a Great Family Dog
The Toolbox for Building a Great Family Dog will be an invaluable resource for guardians of companion dogs. Terry has a rare skill for compelling writing, a pleasure to read. She backs this up with practical solutions for basic training as well as taking it to the next level and resolving common problem behaviors.
James O'Heare, CABC, PABC, author of Changing Problem Behavior, Empowerment Training

With a lifetime of dog training experience, Terry Ryan lays out priceless information for new dog owners. This book gives a solid education to new dog owners that gives a sound foundation for creating the dog of your dreams. The emphasis is on preventing problems before they start, but there's also some help for those oops' moments. Logic is paired with fun in these pages!
Ali Brown, CPDT, CDBC, author of Scaredy Dog!, Scaredy Dog! DVD, and Focus, Not Fear

With kindness and compassion, Terry Ryan coaches owners to mold their dogs into well-behaved, happy family members. This toolbox should be in every dog owner's possession.
Nicole Wilde, CPDT-KA, author Help for Your Fearful Dog and Don't Leave Me!

Terry Ryan is a noted author, trainer and developer of innovative training products for dogs. She has been a leading proponent of the move toward reward based training methods and continues to teach classes and give seminars around the world. Terry lives with her husband, Bill, and English Cocker Spaniel, Brody, in Sequim, Washington.

Click here to view an excerpt.

What reviewers are saying...

"A well trained dog is a good addition to a happy family. "The Toolbox: For Building a Great Family Dog" is a guide for those who want to help their dogs be more harmonious with their family with simple training techniques. With tips on understanding the dog and understanding what needs to be done for one's family and more, Terry Ryan creates a very useful compendium of information. "The Toolbox" is not a read to be overlooked and ignored for dog and family lovers." James A. Cox

"Before we go any further, I admit it; I'm a huge Terry Ryan fan. Noted for her positive approach to dog training, the Sequim instructor impresses even more in this nicely illustrated manual, emphasizing she has shifted gears the past decade. Not satisfied to coast on her many accomplishments in the 1990s, Ryan notes in the introduction, I've taken a more proactive attitude in the last decade, developing new puppy programs and pet dog foundation exercises to try to circumvent the problems' people have been talking to me about for the last forty-something years. The focus here is on relationship building with your dog, home environment and lifestyles, all critical frontiers for forging a lifetime commitment to your dog. Ryan's reputation with me increases mightily by embracing change rather than ignoring it. Understanding dogs' body language their chief communication tool is key in building and strengthening a relationship. Understanding them, she emphasizes, has grown to a multi-professional approach that includes veterinarians, biologists, psychologists, ethologists and many others outside the dog-training arena. After opening with a general chapter on dog behavior, Ryan pulls out the tools needed to build a firm foundation and relationship with your dog. To reach the objective of a well-mannered, fun-loving dog, her keen training skills combine effective work exercises with fun and engaging games. The stimulating narrative is literally packed with homework worthy of continual review, from the main floor to the second floor and through the remodeling chapter. Plus, this Toolbox is equipped with an author's resilient, can-do spirit built around an earthy and engaging delivery that nails (pun intended) one challenge after another spot on." Ranny Green, former president of the Dog Writers Association of America

...Terry Ryan's THE TOOLBOX FOR BUILDING A GREAT FAMILY DOG provides families with all tools needed to train a dog. The family dog is the focus here - which includes interactions between kids and the dog, the entire family's training skills, and more . James A. Cox

I've always been a great admirer of Terry Ryan -- she has wonderfully creative ways to communicate and teach clients. Her original "Toolbox" was one of the first books out there using positive methods and, as was true for many of the early positive trainers, it was a great help in developing my philosophies and teaching methods. I was very excited when I heard she had updated this classic, and was thrilled to be the one to review it. When I was thinking about how to approach this review, I originally thought I would do a comparison/contrast with the original book; but, because this book reflects the evolutions of dog training from the days of her original book to this one, I decided I would simply judge this book on its own merit. This book is targeted toward dog owners, but there's so much good information that I would recommend this book for trainers new to the field as well. Even if they already understand the training and management concepts, the way Ryan approaches these issues will aid them in their interactions with clients. Ryan uses the concept of "building" in an almost literal sense. She divides the book into chapters such as "The Raw Material," "Building Supplies," and "The Main Floor," and covers everything from evolution to learning principles to training to problem behaviors, all in a way that owners will understand! Here's a breakdown of the chapters, to give you an idea of just how much is included in this book:
The Raw Material - dog behavior
The Drawing Board - principles of positive reinforcement
Building Supplies - equipment
The Foundation - relationship building
The Main Floor - management, enviroment and basic training
The Second Floor - more training
Remodeling - problem behaviors

This book is very much about relationship between dogs and owners, and this is an area in which Ryan excels. She has true empathy for everyone involved in this process. She consistently comes up with fun, practical exercises and explanations to help the owner grasp the concepts we struggle to get accross. Come to think of it, even experienced trainers will benefit from these ideas! "Toolbox" is an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand book that packs a big wallop of practical information. This is a book that I will recommend to my clients and professional dog trainer students. Susan Smith, co-author of Positive Gun Dogs: Clicker Training for Sporting Breeds