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text 2014-08-19 12:15
Gillian Anderson wrote a SciFi novel

Publication date: October 7.  Yay!

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review 2014-08-05 16:43
Search for Zeva's enlightenment (and mine) -- Part 3
What Color Is Your Dog?: Train Your Dog Based on His Personality "Color" (Kennel Club Books) - Joel Silverman

The Zeva Project is my quest to find an activity that Zeva and I can participate in together to relieve her current state of boredom. I am reading nine books, some of which are on the psychology and training of dogs and some which describe specific dog activities.


Another excellent book in my dog project, although this still isn't the book that I am specifically looking for.


This book emphasizes training your dog based on his personality type.  This is somewhat similar to methods where training is selected based on the breed of your dog.  The idea is that since all dogs of a certain breed or group share traits and behaviors, training in accordance with those behaviors makes sense.  This book takes that further though, because we know that all dogs have their own personalities, no matter the breed, and no matter the litter.  Just as we humans are not exactly like our brothers and sisters even when we are born of the same parents and raised in the same environment, so it is with dogs.  Training according to their temperaments makes the most sense.


Joel Silverman is an expert in animal training and has experience with marine animals and movie dogs.  This was a fun book because he shared stories about particular dogs he trained, and the movies or commercials in which you can find them.


This is Duke starring in a Polaroid commercial:




And this one:




Silverman has divided dogs into five personality types for training purposes.  At the center of the spectrum is the Yellow Dog (as in Mellow).  The Hot Dogs (out of control, always ready for anything) are the Red and Orange Dogs, and the Cool Dogs (shy to fearful) are the Green and Blue Dogs.


". . .  two points . . . stand out: one, that people need to develop relationships with their dogs before training them; and two, that dogs, like people have a wide variety of personalities and should be trained accordingly."


"Beliefs based on universal truths about dog behavior may have little basis in the reality of your dog's situation in your household."


Before you even think about beginning to train your dog, you need to learn to know your dog, including what treats are his favorites (and surprisingly, to me at least, treats should not be used as a reward for Red Dogs -- they are entirely too excitable already and the prospects of treats only excites them more.  With red and orange dogs, you need to focus on calming them down, so they can pay attention to what you are communicating to them -- tactile reward is best for Hot Dogs); where he prefers to be petted (ears, chest, above the tail), his favorite place (den, backyard), etc.


Then you need to categorize him by color.  Silverman gives you behaviors to help you with this step.  When I first started reading, I was convinced my dog must be both red and blue (seemingly contradictory), but by the time I was done with the analysis I knew that she was a GreenBlue.  


The techniques of training each command do not vary.  What changes is how you as the trainer act, reward your dog, and correct your dog. Based on the behavior color of your dog, you will determine how you should act (move, talk and touch), reward and correct in order to get the most satisfactory results.  Like all training methods, this has much more to do with training the trainer than with training the dog.  You are training yourself not to send mixed signals to your dog.  The better you learn to do this, the better able you will be to effectively train your dog.  


Silverman breaks everything down for you, making it easy to know which action is best for you to take.


The objective is to train your dog to the extent that you are moving him into the center of the spectrum, from Red to Orange towards Yellow, or from Blue to Green towards Yellow.


Having taken several group obedience training classes with my dog, I have had the opportunity to observe the viability of this method.  In group, there are many personalities of dogs, all of which were being trained using the same actions, rewards and corrections.  Looking back, I can see the exact point he is making.  Using high-pitched voices, which we were told to always do, only makes Red Dogs more excitable, and moving forward too fast with the training only exacerbates the fearfulness in shy dogs.  But it is group training, and therefore you have to make accommodation for the group as a whole, and I learned a lot in those classes, they were invaluable to me.  What this book does is allow me to tweak those lessons in order to get the most enjoyment and best results for both me and Zeva.


I want to share this quote from the end of the book, because it's important.  If I had a young person to give the book to, I certainly would.  As it is, I will definitely be acquiring it for my own library.


"As you work with your dog, I am going to ask you to do something as a favor to me.  If you learned something from this book, share it with a child or someone young.  We need to teach young children so much about responsible pet ownership and training.  I really believe that if enough kids learn at an early and impressionable age, we can make a difference.  There will be fewer dogs in animal shelters and humane societies, and more in caring homes with families that love them."

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review 2014-08-04 20:06
Decoding Your Dog
Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts ... Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones - American College Behaviorists,Debra F Horwitz,John Ciribassi

The Zeva Project is my quest to find an activity that Zeva and I can participate in together to relieve her current state of boredom. I am reading nine books, some of which are on the psychology and training of dogs and some which describe specific dog activities.


This book is written by Veterinary Behaviorists who really know what they are talking about.  They should.  I had no idea of the amount of education required to become an animal behaviorist.  First, successful completion of vet school, then more.  I thought vet school was long.


our dog, Zeva, is a Toy Fox Terrier.  We have her because I volunteer at a shelter, and one day in February, 2013, which was a very cold year, this dog was brought in freezing and traumatized, and in need of fostering.  So I brought her home to foster.  Five days later when we were scheduled to take her back, Richard put his foot down and declared she was not going back to that place.  Zeva loves Richard.


It had been my intention that the next dog we acquired would be one I could train to be a Pet-Assisted Therapy Dog.  Zeva is not that dog.  She is adorable and we love her, but she is not really sociable,  especially around children, and she's a terrier, kind of excitable and spontaneous, so not the best temperament. Although you can train terriers to be PATDs, it would make Zeva uncomfortable, and that is certainly not the effect I'm going for.  


So I am on a quest to find other suitable, fun activities for her, because she is obviously missing mental and sensory stimulation in her life.  She practically begs me to put her through her paces which we learned in obedience training, and while it is important to keep practiced in Sit, Stay, Come, a never-varying routine is boring.  When she is begging me to run her through them, then I know it is time to find something new.  


I've tried various avenues, but the town we live in is small enough that the only dog training classes offered is basic obedience.  I can drive an hour to a facility that offers Rally and Agility, but those classes are offered only in the evenings, the busiest time of day when every ring is full and the noise is at the level of pandemonium.  Zeva doesn't find that fun, and therefore it isn't conducive to her learning.


Which leaves me with the alternative of internet research or books.  I got eight books from the library in the hopes that one of them will tell us, or better, show us how to interact with our dog.


this one isn't it.


but I loved it anyway.  Ok, I'll admit that the first two or three chapters weren't thrilling me. For one thing, I had just finished Am I Boring My Dog?, and it was fun and funny as well as informative,  (This book is neither fun nor funny);  and for another thing, within the space of those three chapters, it twice related the exact same "anecdote as illustration of my point." Twice!


But then. . . So much better.


You dog people,  have you ever, like me, thought your dog looked guilty because he knew he had done something wrong?  Guess what? That is not at all the message he is trying to convey to us humans.  And has your dog ever left proof that he is mad at you for leaving him at home?  Perhaps by defecating on your comforter, or chewing up your favorite shoes?  Again, that is not what a dog means when he does those things.


This book tells you how better to read your dog and how to respond appropriately.  It itemizes many actions that your dog does, the various reasons he might be doing them, and effective ways to eliminate or change them.


this is a really intelligent book, and I think maybe it should be required reading for anyone who works with dogs.


this one was borrowed from my public library, but it's another that I will be purchasing to add to my own.


still not exactly what I'm looking for in relation to my own dog and our immediate goals though, so on to the next one.



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review 2014-05-04 09:32
My Little Pony: Friends Forever Vol One
My Little Pony: Friends Forever Volume 1 - Tony Fleecs,Jeremy Whitley,Agnes Garbowska,Amy Mebberson,Ted Anderson,Rob Anderson,Carla Speed McNeil,Alex de Campi

I got this from Netgalley and Diamond Book Distributors. It will be available to the public on June 17th 2014. Since today was free comic day I was in the mood to read something light. This is the perfect comic for a late elementary/middle schooler to read. It is only 88 pages long so it was a quick read. There were 4 stories or so all based on friendship. I picked this up because I remembered liking My Little Pony when I was a kid and wanted to see what I thought as an adult. I found it enjoyable as a adult and didn't find it too cutesy.

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review 2014-04-09 15:25
Question: When is Utopia not a utopia?
Hollow World - Michael J Sullivan

Answer:  When two Average Joe's from the 21st century find themselves in the 41st century where it's all good.  


We have all the natural resources we need, everybody has plenty of food and water. We found a cure for not only disease but also death.  War and crime both have been eliminated.  Working for a paycheck is unnecessary, leaving everyone to pursue self-actualization.  Sounds like a paradise, right?


"Ellis said . . . 'Maybe we can't see that Hollow World is paradise, because it's perfect but we're not.'



'Bullshit.'  Warren waved a calloused hand at him.


'How is that bullshit?'


'Because it's all wrong. Paradise isn't a lack of want. That's hell, brother . . .  This is the mistake everyone makes. Life is all about conflict. The pursuit of happiness – that's life, not the achievement.  Life is intended to be a battle, a struggle. God designed it that way. Think about it. Everything is always in constant conflict. Heat versus cold, light versus dark, . . . Every living thing in existence has to fight and kill to survive.  Who do you think did that? It's God, Ellis. God made the world like a cage match. You go in and you fight to win or die trying.'


'Survival of the fittest,' Ellis said, putting that piece in place . . . Warren had managed to succeed where centuries of scholars had failed – reconciling science and religion."


This story is really entertaining and also thought-provoking.  Ellis and Warren don't like everything they see, and being celebrities of a sort -- having come from the far past and also being distinctly different in appearance -- they have gained a certain amount of celebrity enabling them with power to change things.  They don't agree with each other on what should be changed and in which direction.  You can tell from the conversation repeated above that there is going to be conflict, between themselves and between them and the Hollow World inhabitants.


Sullivan does an excellent job on the world building and on characterization.  By the 41st century, we have moved underground, but this subterranean world is nothing like H. G. Wells' dark and mechanical habitat of the Morlocks.  Hollow World is full of abundance, beauty, light and music, good food and dancing.  


Everything is fine before the 21st century guys drop in, but their appearance and interference throws a big wrench in the mechanics of the world and disrupts the individual lives of the citizens.  


Along the the way to the revolution and the resolution, there is plenty of suspense, drama, humor, personal interaction, murder and explosions to make almost anyone happy.


Of course, my question is, WHY? do we all always think "my way is the best way" and take steps to make sure everyone falls in line. I believe it's a fault of major proportions.

 (And one I find myself guilty of way too often.  Stop it! with a face slap)


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