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Teach Your Dog to Soar

By M. Christine Zink DVM, Ph.D. & Julie Daniels
Reviewed by Karen Smith

Description: A comprehensive guide to canine jump training. Whether you train in agility, flyball or obedience - or all of them - this book is designed to teach you how to train your dog to jump safely and accurately, how to decrease your course time in agility and how to keep your canine athlete healthy into old age.

Contents include:-

  • The ABCs of canine structure
  • How do they do it?
  • The Complete Jump Training Program
  • What about puppies
  • Conditioning the canine athlete
  • Jumping for obedience
  • Jumping for agility
  • Jumping for flyball
  • Jumping problems
  • Glossary
  • Where to call
  • Imperial-metric conversion table
  • Index

Best Features:
Without doubt I found the first two chapters that detail canine structure and the mechanics of jumping the best features of the book. Whereas there are several other books that explain how to teach a dog to jump and how to cure jumping problems, I have yet to read a book that devotes as many pages to the mechanics of jumping and how a dog’s structure can influence their style and ability.

It is a thought-provoking book for those people who want to learn more about HOW dogs jump rather than merely how to teach a dog to jump. Class instructors would find this knowledge especially useful when trying to assess why a dog in their class has a jumping problem. It can be all too easy to blame the dog when there may be a structural problem that is preventing the dog from being able to perform as required. The sections on canine structure would also assist breeders of dogs for performance competitions in knowing how to assess a dog’s athletic ability and the factors that influence a dog’s ability to jump.

Likewise, the jump teaching section invites you to think about what you are teaching your dog and learn about your own particular dog’s needs and abilities. The exercises are short and able to be taught at home in a relatively small space – a bonus for those people who have smallish gardens. I especially like the comment from the book 'You can’t be happy until you want the dog you have.' The book invites you to spend time evaluating your own dog and thus how to create a confident, happy jumper.

Worst Features:
As this is mainly aimed at readers in the United States, the terminology and section on health assessment is based on the American health screening schemes. However, as long as the reader understands this it does not really detract from the benefits of the book.

Overall Rating: 8 out of 10

Price: £15.99

Value for Money: Maybe more than most handlers would want to pay, but in my opinion it's a book to share or be available through your club.

About the Authors
M. Christine (Chris) Zink M.Ed owns and operates a full-time dog training business called Courteous Canine Inc. which provides pet obedience and agility instruction.

While competing in performance events throughout Canada and the United States, Chris recognized a significant information gap. Owners and trainers wanted to know more about how canine structure and medical or physical conditions affect their dogs' performance, and how to keep their canine teammates healthy and injury-free. Yet little information was available. She therefore wrote Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete, a comprehensive guide to the dog as an athlete. Her second book, Jumping from A to A: Teach Your Dog to Soar, co-authored with Julie Daniels, has become the gold standard for jump training. Her third book, Dog Health and Nutrition for Dummies, is due out in 2001.

Dr. Zink presents Coaching the Canine Athlete (R) seminars worldwide and regularly writes for dog magazines. She is also a consultant on canine sports medicine, evaluating canine structure and locomotion and designing individualized conditioning programs for active dogs. Dr. Zink has put over 50 titles in agility, obedience, hunting, tracking and conformation on dogs of several different breeds from the Sporting, Working, and Hound groups. In agility Chris currently runs two Golden Retrievers: Butterblac's for the Fun of It MX, AXJ, AD, OAC, NGC, NJC, UDX, JH, WC (Tally) and Aureolus Alloy's Tiger Motif OA, OAJ, TD, NAC, WC (Stripe) and a Border Collie, Fate.


Julie and Spring with ribbonsJulie Daniels founder of the White Mountain Agility School, is a nationally-recognized authority on dog agility training. Julie is author of the award-winning book Enjoying Dog Agility, now in its sixth printing and going into paperback. She is co-author of Jumping From A to Z

She has won many regional championships and national placements with unlikely agility breeds, and has been a USDAA semifinalist for 13 years in a row. She has made the finals twice with a Rottweiler, twice with a Springer Spaniel, and twice with a Border Collie. Julie guides her human and canine students with a win-win philosophy inspiring the best from both partners so they can perfect their individual jobs and teamwork. Her seminars make learning fun and exciting.

In her spare time, Julie writes for magazines and provides agility commentary for TV. Her latest project is the Agility Fix-It Video Series, clicker solutions to agility performance problems. The first video in the series covers weave poles and contact zone problems.


About The Reviewer
Karen Smith started Agility with a Mini Border Terrier called Toby. His claim to fame was that he appeared on the Olympia Horse of the Year Show on the TV. The reason they featured him was because he pooped on the table! Karen has since owned and competed in Seniors with her Border Collies Whizz, Chip and Fleet.

She is also the breeder of the very successful 'Touchango' Border Collies.

Crosskeys Select Books
Dept. AN
Collier Row Road, Romford, Essex RM5 2BH
Tel. 020-8590 3604, Fax. 020-8599 6177
E-mail: crosskeys@dial.pipex.com

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