We've just got home from a highly enjoyable visit to Graeme and Maureen Sims. Graeme has a book out later this month, and having read it, I can thoroughly recommend it. Give a Dog a Home focuses on how best to settle rescue dogs into their new homes, and how to approach training them. Graeme uses two rescues dogs he has taken in, to illustrate how it can require lateral thinking to come up with a training regime that suits the dog. The interview we recorded today with Graeme will be in a DogCast Radio show later this year.
The book is a great read; Graeme is a brilliant raconteur, and over his many years of living and working with dogs has amassed many anecdotes. He has also amassed a lot of experience with dogs, and has reached the point that he can speak dog. He can communicate with his dogs, and understand what they are saying back. Graeme believes in observing a dog to assess where his talents and inclinations might lie, and taking into account his breeding and preferences to influence training.
He has a "Magic Button" approach, which means finding what really motivates the dog, and then using that to advance training. In the book, he discovers one rescue dog's magic button fairly early on, while the other dog takes a lot longer to figure out. Graeme also has some interesting thoughts on what a "rescue" dog actually is. You can hear Graeme talking about working up to nine sheepdogs simultaneously in Episode 29 of DogCast Radio, and also about how he works each dog in a different language. In Episode 62 Graeme discusses his book The Dog Whisperer: How to Train your Dog Using Its Own Language.
Graeme's latest book is entertaining, educational, and it made me laugh and cry at different points. Living with a pack of so many of his own dogs, and interacting with them so closely, Graeme has fascinating insights into how dogs relate to each other, as well as to him. His enthusiasm for his dogs is obvious, and he says that the secret of good training is to love your dog so much that he can't resist you. Having seen him putting on a display with his dogs, entertaining the public, and also having seen him at home with his dogs, I know that his dogs love him right back; and isn't that what it's all about?