For over twenty years, trainer Camilla Gray-Nelson has been responding to calls from frustrated dog owners who could not control their pets. “It was usually women who sought my help because they were overwhelmed by the family dog,” she says. “They were either angry and yelling or being overly permissive and smothering, both of which made them ineffectual, and the dogs ran their lives.” Gray-Nelson recognized a gender gap in training issues, for which she presents a solution: “By focusing on a woman’s special challenges in dog training and developing her hidden strengths, Lipstick and the Leash can help you discover your Inner Leader, train a dog that will make you and your family proud, and ultimately give you a road map for getting more of what you want in life.”
According to the author, the number one cause of dog behavior issues is too much freedom: “When dealing with dogs, it’s not what we do that matters but how the dog perceives what we do. When we give our dog too much freedom—the freedom to patrol the entire yard or property while we are gone, the freedom to hike off leash, the freedom to roam about the house and explore with no restrictions, the freedom to sniff, pull and investigate at will on our walks…we are sending a potentially dangerous message. When we give our dog unrestricted freedom, we are telling him that he is in charge and that he need not listen to anyone. Since he makes the rules, he need not follow them.”
The result of her observations is a step-by-step manual about how to overcome frustration and become an effective pet owner by setting clear boundaries and using positive reinforcement to help our dogs become responsive companions. Gray-Nelson does so in a series of chapters that teach people to understand dog behavior and consistently shape it with limits, praise, and pleasure. She debunks myths about dogs, teaches us how dogs and people behave relative to one other, explores canine and human personality matches and conflicts, and teaches readers how to gently and effectively set limits on their dogs’ behavior without force, aggression, or punishment.
Readers of all ages, regardless of gender, will learn to better understand and manage their dogs and become happier, more effective owners of our four-footed friends whose company we especially enjoy when they respect boundaries as well-behaved canine companions.