Mike Ritland and I go way back, to when we were young SEAL training candidates, and then later at SEAL Team 3.
It’s been great to watch him develop into one of the world’s best dog trainers, having honed his skills as an elite K9 trainer for some of the top military units in the world, some we won’t discuss.
The point is, he’s taken his Special Operations dog handling and training experience and culled it all into this incredible book for dog owners everywhere. I don’t know of any other book available that has this, and that’s pretty fucking cool (yes we can say fuck on SOFREP).
I’ve already ordered a couple for my fellow dog lovers, including my own mom. I love her but still can’t believe she spent 20k on her Golden for a hip replacement! I guess Mike and I have great moms in common.
Here’s an excerpt, and please show your support for Mike by buying this book now.
I would like to dedicate this book to my mom, Sandy.
She instilled in me the two most important qualities in dog training:
patience and perseverance. Thank you for being the example of
what both of those look like. Love you, Ma. -Mike
TEAM DOG INTRODUCTION
I’ve worked with lots of individuals who have asked me to help evaluate dogs, eradicate problems, and generally show them how they can restore the proper balance of command and control in their human/ canine relationship. That relationship is based on trust and respect and produces a similar kind of bond or brotherhood that exists among members of the Navy SEAL teams. In my mind, that’s the kind of relationship most of us want to have with our dogs.
A lot of old-school methodology talked about dominance and reinforced the idea that the only way to be at the top of the hierarchy was by making a dog fear you. For example, there were many early advocates of performing something called an alpha roll. That consists of taking a dog in the earliest stages of training, grabbing him by the scruff of his neck, and pinning him to the ground to let him know who is in charge.
Yes, I do believe that it is important to establish your authority over a dog. Dogs want, need, and seek that kind of presence in their lives. But there are other, more effective, and decidedly more humane ways of achieving that goal. It is easy, in some respects, to get a dog to fear you, but it can be equally easy to get your dog to respect you. Just as is true in human relationships, a dog will have more respect for you if you make it clear that good behavior gets rewarded and poor behavior has consequences. That may seem obvious, but I’m constantly made aware that dog owners understand this in theory but fail to execute it in practice.
You may have noticed that I’ve not used the word like or love up to this point in describing the human/ canine relationship. That’s not an accidental omission. I’ve purposely not used those words because far too often I encounter people whose immediate response to a dog is try to get that animal to like them. In doing so, they make fools of themselves in that dog’s eyes, possibly put themselves in danger because they assume that how they treat their own dog is okay with a different dog, and mistakenly believe that because of all the nice things they do for their pet, the dog should obey their wishes and desires unconditionally.
If you take one concept away from this beginning part of the book it is this: Don’t mistake liking for respect, and don’t mistake obedience for trust.
Order on Amazon here.