Book Review: Team Dog

Hey! I love researching and finding out new ideas and ways of training dogs, so when I saw this book at my local library, I had to give it a read. Team Dog is written by Mike Ritland who also wrote Trident K9 Warriors which I reviewed in 2015. Mike Ritland is a Navy Seal, turned military dog trainer who specialises in training some of the most amazing war dogs for the US. This book sells itself as a how-to guide to training your dog the Navy Seal way.

As always, I don't want to give away too much of the book for those that are going to want to read it. I have made sure to bookmark some important pages and quotes that I appreciated though, which will get you all thinking a little bit more about how you are currently training your beloved pooch.

A big principle of Mike's is that:
Whatever behaviour is consistently rewarded will be repeated. AND
Whatever behaviour is consistently not rewards will be extinguished.
This is a very simple way of looking at dog training, and one that I have noticed across many different training styles. He dives deeper into this principle, and explains how to do both of those main points correctly to get what you want from your dog. Quite a big portion of the book is centred around this concept, and how he uses this to train not only the military dogs, but also how it can be effective in training your house pet.

Mike also delves deeper into some common faults that people complain to him about with their pet dog, including chewing of furniture and other objects, barking and not listening. I enjoyed this chapter as he gave answers to a lot of the questions that people are asking, but also admitted that there is a range of scenarios that is why your dog is acting like it does. If you have a dog with these common faults, I would definitely recommend checking this book out for this chapter!

A lot of your 'faults' with your dog can also be put down to the lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Mike brings this up multiple times within the book, making you think about the amount of time you have your dog just relaxing around home. Dogs are very active animals, but a lot of how people are currently keeping them, means they do not get as much exercise as they need. My favourite quote from the book is 'many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets'. This is true in a lot of situations, because at least cattle get to graze, and walk around like they have been for hundreds of years. Dogs on the other hand, are completely dependent on how we treat them, and exercise them to meet all their needs. I know plenty of dogs that don't get enough attention, or even leave their yard, so this statement really makes a lot of sense to me.

Overall, this book has some great points about dog training, and the difference between training a house dog compared to training a dog to go into war torn countries. Some of his ideas are not what I personally would do when training Diego, but that is like most, if not all, dog trainers out there. The book itself is set out in a good way, making it easy to understand what he is getting across. It also follows a good story line, not bouncing from ideas too drastically, or going back on ideas that have already been mentioned.

I think this is a book to read for those that are interested in learning about different ways of training dogs, or who have a dog with a common problem like barking or not listening. This book isn't a 100% comprehensive book on dog training, or philosophy so I don't believe it should be used as the only dog training manual. In conjunction with other dog trainer principles, or just a basic knowledge on how the dog thinks and behaves I believe this book, and Mike Ritland's approach will give you a nice well-rounded dog with minimal faults.


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