That’s why when it comes to teaching dogs, always resist shortcuts and favour the more thorough approach instead.”
This is going to be a double review, where I take a look at both “Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution”, which is his first book, and his second book “Zak George’s Guide to a Well-behaved Dog”.
Why did I get these books?
Oh, you guys are going to love this! I got these books because I wanted something I could recommend to the average dog owner. I wanted this because, to be honest, I often find the same flaw with training books. They are simply too complicated for regular pet parents and cover a whole lot of things they either do not need or do not have any interest in. The result? They’re lost halfway and no learning has occurred. But since Zak George is a very steady presence on Youtube, and since he absolutely has his heart in the right place, I decided to try out his books.
What do these books do?
Both books can be read on their own, or in conjunction with one another. If you choose to read both, I will recommend you start out with Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution, as it’s a good overview of the most common questions when adding a dog to the household. It covers right from choosing the right breed, the right source and straight onto how to house train and raise your dog to function in a household. The other book, Zak George’s Guide to a Well-behaved Dog is more focused on solving problem behaviours, so if you run into bumps along the way with your dog, that’s the book you can pick up first.
Zak focuses a lot of his energy on managing the dog’s environment, meeting their needs, and putting in the time training requires, for the best results, all the while promoting that we should do so with gentle methods and positive reinforcement. And it is all presented in a very straightforward way, easy to digest and follow for the average pet parent. And the best part? Throughout the book, there are references to free video material that shows the exercises and protocols he covers. He’s also not shy of encouraging the reader to seek out professional help, both from vets, behaviourists, and trainers, if needed. For that, he gets a gold star. In short, these books are good for a gentle introduction to positive reinforcement training, served in an easily digestible format.
What do these books not do?
The nitty-gritty, super-geeky stuff. That’s not what these books are for. The first book has some emphasis on crates for house training, but does open for other options, in case crates are not for the reader, while the other actively takes a stand and puts a standard to crate time (4 hours max) and recommends that we manage the dog’s environment with supervision, gates, and puppy-proofing, rather than strict confinement. I would have loved some more emphasis on what to do without crates in the first book, but the American market might not be ready for that just yet. But really, the crate section takes up so little space in the first book, that you can skip them, and the second book gets you ready to do without, so it’s not a total deal-breaker for me here.
Where can I get these books?
Amazon is your friend. If you have an Audible subscription, the first book is included for free. Both books are available on Audible though and are both narrated by Zak himself, which I quite like. If you want the printed editions, they will set you back approx $12 apiece, so that’s a fairly allowance-friendly price if you ask me.