Bringing Light To Shadow: A Dog Trainer’s Diary


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Meet Shadow, a handsome, fearful, aggressive, second-hand Border Collie.

He lashed out at people without warning and avoided human touch. Meet Pam, a professional dog trainer with 12 years experience and several successful dog adoptions behind her when she met Shadow. Follow their journey—in this warts-and-all diary of their lives over 18 months. Every owner or trainer who has ever lived or worked with an aggressive dog will gain new insights from Shadow.

About the Author

 Pamela is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training. A member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), NADOI (National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors) and DWAA (Dog Writers Association of America), Pam competes in several dog sports, teaches a wide range of basic and advanced dog training classes at her training facility in Blairtown, NJ, an makes her home with a trio of dogs, including Shadow.

Published 2005 Dogwise Publishing (USA)

Pages- 233


Reviewer: Lindsay

This book is excellent – I love that the author details everything she did with Shadow, including the mistakes she made. Wonderful resource for anyone with a reactive dog.

Shadow Update

Reviewer: Pam Dennison

I just thought I would update everyone on Shadow’s progress since 11/21/01 (the day he got his CGC). He now has his CD (3 runs, 3 legs, 3 placements – two 2nd places and one 3rd place), NA, NAJ (all 1st places), ARCHX, RL3 and TSW and we are working on his ARCHEX. Shads is continuing to do well and still surprises me with his good behavior. He is starting to go blind (black film on his eyes), so I decided not to go on with his competition obedience career or agility (although I do still train for it). He is 9 years old now and still going strong and I am doing quite a bit of trick and freestyle training with him, although I refuse to dress up so will never compete. I did it once and I will never again appear in public in a poodle skirt!

Positives and perserverance do pay!

Not just another Training book!

Reviewer: Alison Brendel

This book is wonderful in it’s insight, but the format of the book itself, that of a journal is wonderful. I used this book to give me some insight into a very shy and traumatized dog and I was so scared of making him worse. He would panic and bolt, was unable to have people approach him and was tense and scared at any sort of human interaction. He was never aggressive, but thoroughly unsure and wary of a human’s motives in trying to touch him. The fact that this wasn’t a manual and that Ms. Dennison was able to see her mistakes, gave me the freedom to try new ideas with my dog. It helped me try things and evaluate his reaction to them and adjust accordingly. I could see when I was starting to push to far on something and learned to back off. He’s since earned his CGC and while he’s not perfect, he and I have a very good relationship and he continues to improve every day. This book has helped me more than any other to see small increments of improvement and thus help my dog more. Learning to see the small things has really made me be able to feel like I can make a difference where before I felt helpless because I couldn’t see the baby steps. I didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere. A book worth reading for anyone but especially those of us with a dog that has a less than perfect past. Thank you Ms. Dennsion and thank you Shadow for letting the rest of us experience the lessons that you taught each other.


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