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on 13 January 2012
We have a 6 month old miniature poodle who longs for any opportunity to learn a trick in return for some chopped up cocktail sausage. After ordering the book I became a little worried about the term "trick" after learning the author is a trained professional and participates in dog competitions (our dog is nowhere near that standard!) and grew concerned that the book may be unsuitable or farfetched.

Upon opening the book and flicking through the pages, my initial impression was excitement. It is clearly and beautifully laid out, very easy to understand, and lots of information at my fingertips which other books didn't offer. Some chapters will be more suitable for us than others (I can't see us rolling her on a barrel!), but all look like great fun and worth a try.

101 Dog Tricks: Step-by-step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog offers more than I was expecting. The book begins by running you through common questions and mishaps, such as the order in which you teach, praise and reward, your role as a trainer, getting the timing right, finding the right motivation for your dog, why some trainers fail with their dogs, the purpose of hand signals, what you should expect with your dogs progress, and more.

The rest of the book consists of 189 pages of commands with 'how to' pictures and explanations. The paragraphs are brief and concise, straight to the point without any waffle. The photographs show each stage of the trick very clearly, and give you a voice command and hand signal to use which are easily interchangeable with your own. Furthermore there are boxes on each page entitled Troubleshooting, which give you ways to correct common mistakes and problems in your dog's behaviour.

Here is a taster of the 12 chapters and what you can expect:

1. Groundwork ................... (sit, down, come, stay)
2. Traditional Favourites ...... (shake hands, fetch, drop/give, roll over, play dead, etc)
3. Time for Chores .............. (fetch slippers/leash/newspaper, tidy up your toys, etc)
4. Funny Dog ..................... (doggy push-ups, limp, play the piano, peekaboo, honk a horn, etc)
5. Modern Conveniences ...... (get the phone, turn off light, open/close doors, find keys, etc)
6. Let's Play A Game! .......... (hide and seek, football, easter egg hunt, etc)
7. Jumping and Catching ...... (jump over a bar, etc)
8. Jumping Through Hoops .... (hoop jump, rolling hoop dive, etc)
9. Obstacle Course ............. (tunnel, crawl, touch a target, under/over, weave poles, etc)
10. That Dog Can Dance! ..... (heel forward/backward, spin circles, take a bow, etc)
11. The Thinking Man's Dog .. (counting dog, track a scent, food refusal, etc)
12. Love Me, Love My Dog ... (kisses, paws on my arm, cover your eyes, wave bye, etc)

Each command has a difficulty level rated out of 4 paw prints, and there are a varied amount for Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. Some commands have boxes called "Build On It!" which lead onto others with a natural progression from one to the next so you find your average dog is capable of difficult tricks a lot quicker than you would expect.

All-in-all a well presented book, and it gave me great relief to know the trainer and her dog had once got it all wrong many years ago, and had to re-teach a lot of commands themselves. We haven't always got it right with our pup, being first time owners, but we bought this book to really invest some time into bonding with her and to give the deserved mental stimulation for such an intelligent breed. The key is consistency and patience, and we are already seeing the results.
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on 11 January 2008
I was running seriously short on tricks to teach my smart-alec puppy so got this book to see if I could challenge him. I couldn't be more impressed!

The tricks are set out with (at least) a page per item- most have a double spread. Every trick is illustrated- this is done well considering how hard it is to represent a dog in motion!- and there are step-by-step instructions. Tricks are rated from beginner to advanced and there's something for every dog in each section. The tricks vary from simple obedience skills to fun stuff like 'answering the phone' to tricky weaves and spins. So whether you just want a better behaved pooch or you want to show off how clever he is, there's plenty for you.

There's a lot here to keep me and Max occupied for quite a while. This book would suit anyone looking to have fun on the way to teaching their dog a few cool tricks!
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on 4 May 2008
I don't particularly approve of animals doing "tricks" & have always had misgivings about that. However, this book uses the "tricks" (I use inverted commas because it starts with SIT, DOWN, COME and so on, which we would not usualy call tricks, but are the building blocks)to build a better bond between you and your dog - and thats the whole ethos to the authors method. The "tricks" are so clearly set out and explained from the basics, & go step by step to the result - even to providing troubleshooting hints. The book makes clear that the key is patience and affection and that your dog absolutely must be having fun. They make no pretence that you'll get instant results (though it depends on what your dog already likes doing - we perfected an "Advanced" trick in 3 days, because it built on a behaviour our dog already enjoys) The photography is vibrant and a sheer joy in itself - the photographer is an award winner, and it really is easy to see why. We achieved our first "trick" out of the book which involved me, our dog and my daughter (see the idea? - real bonding stuff with your dog & family) in three days - with our dog just having a real sheer fun time and plainly loving it) and ending up doing something like a circus trick!(page 110).
I read this book in our local library and just had to buy a copy. I've NEVER in 30 years of dog ownership, found a book which is so clearly laid out, realistic and based on mutual affection in it's methods. The whole family is having fun with it - and most of all our dog is! I wish I could find a fault with this to give a balanced review... but I can't!
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2009
This is a beautifully presented and designed book with gorgeous photographs and easy-to-follow instructions for teaching your best doggy friend some great and impressive tricks. The introduction is fantastic, it sums up the importance of patience and good humour when attempting to train a dog and it's clear Ms Sundance really knows what she's talking about. We are currently enjoying the company of a very energetic young rescue dog and already he's enjoying the stimulation of learning new tricks.

This book is a great companion for people undergoing obedience training with their dogs as you can apply the principles learned in class when teaching the tricks (and it IS fun learning tricks alongside the obedience disciplines).

I didn't give it five stars because I think the tricks could have been better organised, starting with the easiest, so that you and your dog can work your way through. Also some tricks require you to have already learned previous ones, and again if the tricks were listed more logically, this would help.
This is a very small criticism though, it's a really lovely and useful book and would make a great gift. Four and a half stars!
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on 26 August 2014
My first impression of this book was that it was probably dated. The photos had a very '90s feel and the training methods were a little cockeyed. I was surprised when I saw the publication date as 2007. Notions such as physical control, lead correcting and pack leadership come in as early as teaching your dog to sit, and this sort of training just doesn't sit well given the huge amount of research and data that has been produced explaining why it is fundamentally flawed.

Kyra Sundance is unquestionably successful and the methods described do work, but something working doesn't necessarily make it the right option. A succinct review of some of the work done to challenge these dated methods can be found in Dominance in Dogs: Fact or Fiction by Barry Eaton.

Having spent a lot of time training and studying canine behaviour, I couldn't bring myself to rate this book with more than two stars. The two stars reflect the volume of information and accessible format. If I were to recommend this book though, it would be hesitantly and with the advice that it would be best to ignore the physical manipulation portions and to gloss over the authors opinions on reinforcing your pack leadership.

Honestly, if you want to teach your dog in a positive way that reinforces a bond of mutual respect and friendship, I would recommend avoiding this book and instead buying Jennifer Scott's Positive Reinforcement Training Series, specifically book 3: Totally Positive Dog Tricks, Games & Exercise.
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on 30 October 2008
From the second I pulled this book from the Amazon cardboard cover, it was clear that a great deal of planning and care had gone into making it. The full colour photo on the front glossy cover mirrors the gorgeous photo work that is used throughout the book too.

Make no mistake, this book is about one thing and one thing only - teaching your dog 101 new tricks. It makes no claim to be anything more or less than that. After only four pages of introduction and overview of rewards / jackpot / etc, the trick training begins.

Each trick is detailed with at least one colour photo showing the step(s) required to complete it. The photos are 'cut out' photos meaning that there are no distracting backgrounds, just the dog, the handler, and any props that are used.

The text is clear and concise and nicely framed to make following the instructions as clear as can be. Each page contains a 'Troubleshooting' section to offer possible solutions in case things go wrong.

There are one or two tricks that might not suit the smaller dog, such as turning off the lights (the smaller dog won't reach the light switch), but these are very limited indeed.

The training methods are positive, with only very limited physical coersion alternative methods offered on one or two basic obedience exercises (Sit and Down) in the unlikley event that they are needed.

Everything about this book oozes quality and I wish that other instructional books would use it as the template on which to base their own works. In a nutshell, it's worth every penny. Really glad that I made this purchase.
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on 18 October 2013
I was a little unsure of this book as I was not keen on the idea of turning my dog into a stunt dog or becoming a 'look how clever my dog' is owner. Thankfully the ability to look inside before you buy allowed me to see the value of the book and look past the title. It starts from the basic commands and allows the reader to go as far as they, or their dog, may wish to go. The pictorial stages for each command are clear and easy to understand while the 'what to expect' and trouble shooting sections for each command are extremely useful and often missed in training books. I recently homed a dog from a rescue centre who was abandoned and clearly had some patchy training for while he walked well other basic commands were not understood. He also did not know how to play. This book has been a real gem and luckily he soon learnt to respond and to come using his new name (as his first name was unknown) which was a real plus when he was spooked a few weeks later on a walk and backed out of his harness and bolted. If it had now been for my purchase of this book I may never have seen him again.

If you need a training book for your dog this really should be at the top of your list.
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on 8 May 2009
This book is ace. Clear pictures, clear instructions and helpful trouble-shooting sections on each trick. It's also been written with a bit of a sense of humour which acknowledges that dogs are dogs and sometimes don't behave perfectly.

OK, you're not necessarily going to try every trick. There's no way I'm teaching my dog to open the fridge, just so he can fetch me a beer. Nor am I going to do the one which requires me to do a handstand. But it's a reminder about just how much potential your dog has and how much fun you can have together. I'd recommend this to anyone who's looking to teach their dog a few more tricks.
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on 21 July 2015
I bought this book whilst brimming with anticipation of getting my new Labrador pup Mia and by the time we collected her I had read through and had a good plan of what I'd like to achieve with her (maybe high expectations ;) ). The book is well set out, beginning with basic skills ,sit down etc to dancing and tidying up toys, each exercise/trick is broken down into nice easy to follow steps. Tricks are labelled with difficulty ratings allowing you to pick and choose easily depending on your dogs ability. People may play down the value of tricks but they are a great way of supplementing obedience training, increasing learning and interaction time and it's great fun and a nice way to show what you've achieved together. This book is a great supplementary to your obedience training book and deserves a place on your bookshelf. If you haven't got one grab a clicker too they're a great way to mark correct behaviour for reward association. Have lots of fun together!
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on 19 April 2015
I brought this book to challenge my dog as we had run out of 'tricks' to teach him. The variety of 'tricks' is great and gave me alot of ideas. However the book starts with dominating your dog and telling you if your dog wont carry out a command he thinks you are subservient to him. This sort of training is completely outdated and studies have proven positive reinforcement is best for successful training. Dogs don't think of humans as part of their 'pack' simply because humans look and act nothing like them! All dominating your dog does is teach them to be wary of you. Also I have never done and will never 'bop' my dog on the nose for not understanding what it is I am asking of him, he will never do that behaviour again and therefore that command will never be taught. It worries me that people can write this unfounded rubbish and thousands of people will happily follow this advice. Its time people stopped listening to the likes of this author and caesar millan and started listening to professionals with behavioural qualifications who actually know what they are talking about. It is for these reasons I sent this book back.
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