Review of Gentle Dog Training by Michael Hasbrouck

Gentle Dog Training, subtitled no hitting no shouting is by Michael Hasbrook and has the interested motto, "A sentence aimed at your dog should contain a subject a verb and a compliment." It's an interesting approach, and the book poses some equally interesting questions, for example the first chapter is called, "Are you suited to owning a dog?" Reassuringly Michael is of the opinion that, "no one is born a good master; you become one."
Next the book considers what kind of dog you should choose with some really useful advice on issues to take into account like which breed to go for, how to spot a good breeder and some traits to look for in a puppy. If you've already chosen your dog and not ended up with the best pupil at puppy class, don't despair though, because Michael also has a chapter headed, "The re-education of a difficult dog".
Dogs' physical health and mental processes are discussed at some length, as well as how to go about training – or educating – your dog. The advice is to set up situations that will enable you to praise your dog, to remember and exploit the fact that the human-dog relationship has endured thanks to the fact that dogs in general want to please us.
Every day problems that can often blight a dog owner's life, like a dog who barks, is destructive or jumps on people are dealt with – and benefit from Michael’s 40 years plus of experience of training dogs. I like the emphasis on communicating clearly with your dog and the many ways this communication can take place – verbally, with signals, body language and by stimulating your dog’s senses are covered.
The book concludes with a chapter on complimenting your dog – "Flatter your dog. If you don’t know why, he does." It’s an intriguing approach to dog training, and if like me you find that an appreciative comment motivates you much more than any amount of scolding, it may well be one that reaps rewards with your dog too.
You can find out more about Michael and his methods at www.dogmasters.com/

Review by Julie Hill


Has the reviewer actually read this book or only the authors claims? I have read it, and the title is very deceiving. This guy's methods are very outdated and are punishment and fear based. There is nothing gentle about his methods at all and he clearly does not understand the body language of dogs. His methods do nothing but confuse the dog or break its spirit. He has not kept up with the latest studies widely acknowledged in the dog training world, or dog psychology, nor does he understand that the dominant theory has been disproved (over 10 years ago). This book is punishment based and often the dog does not have the opportunity to learn (so what's the point?). He uses flooding methods which are today acknowledged by respected dog trainers as cruel and psychologically damaging. Science and our understanding of dogs and how they learn has come a long way, and this guy has just been left behind.