The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims

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The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims

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Category: Pets
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An excellent book about training your dog. The method requires a considerable amount of time and patience but pays dividends. Unusally for a book of the type it is very readable with some wonderful cartoons which left me howling with laughter. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-0755316984

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Graeme Sims is rightly proud of all that he's achieved in life. After a catastrophic business collapse (at the age of fifty) which was none of his fault, he and his wife Maureen made the decision to move to rural Devon, but on the eve of their departure he encountered a stray dog. Annie was to change his life in ways that he couldn't imagine. From being unemployable he was to become a shepherd, presenter of demonstrations in a theme park and dog trainer. Graeme Sims had discovered that he was capable of communicating with dogs and could understand what they were telling him.

Does it sound like mumbo-jumbo, rather airy-fairy? Well, it's not. Working on the principle of close observation of the dog, establishing its needs and using this to inform the training, Sims has developed a method of training his dogs (he has fifteen at the moment) which leaves them about as bomb-proof as it's possible to be. It differs from many other kind training methods in that it doesn't use treats as a reward as Sims feels that this is unnecessary and complicates their diet. Cuddles and affection are used instead.

A considerable investment of time is required but then this is true of any training method which is based on kindness and understanding. If you're not prepared or able to put the time in then perhaps you shouldn't have a dog. Sims provides a lot of information about what sort of dog is best for different types of owner and it's all sound advice worth following. As well as his training methods you'll get a lot of other information about caring for dogs and whilst it doesn't supplant more specialist books it's an excellent starting point.

The book is written in the author's own words. It is, as he says, just as he would say it and this makes it a very readable, friendly book particularly as it's interspersed with wonderful cartoon drawings of dogs. He has an excellent knack of catching the canine expression and is the exception to my rule that authors should not have their artwork in books unless children are the target audience. There's a picture of sheep in the living room watching One Man and His Dog which had me howling with laughter. You'll have no problem reading this book through from cover to cover, reluctant to put it down as you're interested in how the stories are going to turn out. It's then available as a training resource which can be referred to time and time again.

My own Rhodesian Ridgebacks were trained using a reward system but many of the basic points are the same. You must understand your dog; give it patience, a steady routine and care. It must be your best friend and once you have achieved this then you will have no difficulty is communicating with your dog almost wordlessly and you will certainly understand what the dog is telling you.

I do wonder, though, about the title of this book: The Dog Whisperer. I've already reviewed a book with a similar name and whilst I can see that it's a catchy title I really can't see why a man who loves his dogs to distraction and invests much of his life in them would want to be associated with the man who is famous for his National Geographic Channel Television series of the same name. Cesar Millan has had some considerable outward success in dealing with wayward dogs but I'm sure that Graeme Sims would not endorse many of his methods, including the use of choke chains. It can be argued that Millan is in error when he uses the word whispering but I hate to see a good, decent and caring man like Graeme Sims associated with his methods in any way.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

The descriptions of life in rural Devon put me in mind of An Otter on the Aga by Rex Harper and the approaches to animals have much in common. If you're interested in further information on dog training we can recommend The Loved Dog by Tamar Geller.

Booklists.jpg The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims is in the Top Ten Books For Dog Lovers.
Buy The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims at

Buy The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Dog Whisperer by Graeme Sims at


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Y Polson said:

This book is absolutely brilliant. It is an easy read, very funny in places but more importantly looking at things from a dog's point of view. I have read this book three times now and about to start for the fourth, because it is such a good read. I would HIGHLY recommend it for those of you with dogs......and even those without.