What Color is Your Dog?
Dedicated to my Parents, Lew and Claire Silverman.
MORE WHAT COLOR IS YOUR DOG?
Copyright ©2015 by Joel Silverman All rights reserved.
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Published by Doce Blant Publishing, Dana Point, CA 92629
Cover art by Fiona Jayde Media
Interior by The Deliberate Page
Edited by Mary Harris
Printed in the United States of America
Table of Contents
Thanks to Ron Sanchez, who has been a great friend and an excellent inspiration for the type of person I have always striven to be.
Bryan Renfro is the one who, in 1980, really taught me about dog training, and training using positive reinforcement. We have been great friends since.
My wife Michelle is my backbone, and has no idea how much of a catalyst she is in my success.
If you read my first book, What Color is Your Dog?, you found out that I, along with thousands of other successful dog trainers across the nation, believe that dog training is a fluid, constantly changing environment between dog and owner. We rely on the notion that like people, all dogs have a variety of personalities and because of those distinctive characteristics, the training techniques should always be based on the individual dog. I wrote that book because I believed that personality-based dog training was not talked about nearly enough in other dog-training books back in 2009 when I wrote What Color is Your Dog?, yet it was such a common part of my style, and used so often among so many of my peers.
So why did I write this second book? One of the reasons I came out with it was because I get a lot of questions from dog owners about the color scheme from the What Color is Your Dog? training approach, and how to assess their dog’s color. When I do my seminars, personal appearances, or dog training lectures, the first question I seem to get is how best to evaluate their dog’s personality (or color). I thought that I could not only include better ways of doing that, but also give dog owners a lot more information on dog training in a new book.
For those of you who have not read What Color is Your Dog?,your dog is given a color based on his personality. Your dog will be red, orange, yellow, green, or blue.
If you look at the color spectrum you will see that we have five colors of dogs. The closer your dog is to the center of the spectrum, the easier it is to train. The middle of the spectrum has the yellow dog. This is the mellow yellow dog that might be naturally yellow, or yellow because he or she has a great owner and has become yellow. Moving to the right we have the green dog. This is the dog that is timid, shy, or apprehensive. Then moving farther to the right, we have the blue dog. This dog is extremely afraid of a variety of things or people. The blues and greens are the cooler-colored dogs. Then moving to the opposite side, we have the orange dogs; these are dogs that are a little more highly strung, and dogs that like to pull and jump a bit. Then, even farther to the left, we have the red dog, which is morehighly strung and very out of control. The oranges and reds are the warmer-colored dogs.
Another thing that I did not go into enough in the first book was focusing on the fact that your dog will change colors. It was touched on, but in this book, I really get into how to assess your dog’s color, and how to teach him the training principles based on his color. I also include controlled and uncontrolled training environments in Chapter 9, which I think will give you simpler understanding of the two different kinds of environments you will find yourself teaching your dog in. We also include more basic behaviors, as well as some of the most popular advanced behaviors too!
There are lot of training methods and ideas out there from various trainers, and some of those trainers honestly believetheir one method is the only way to train a dog. I do not agree with that at all. There are even groups of trainers out there that go so far as to brand their certain training technique with some sort of name or label that sounds really cool. The truth is that anyone who believes dog training is based on only one method or one style simply does not understand dog behavior, nor have they ever spent a lot of time training dogs with a wide variety of personalities. Quite often, one of the words they use to describe their training philosophy is “theory.” Dog training is not theory; it’s reality. It’s a realistic, constantly changing environment that is continuously shifting as you are teaching your dog. The fact is, you may often find yourself using more than one technique on the same dog in the same training session. This is why I have always recommended a “balanced” training approach when it comes to teaching your dog.
I hope this book gives you a better understanding of your dog’s color and personality, how to build an awesome relationship with your dog, and most importantly, how to train your dog based on his ever-changing wonderful personality!
MY “HYBRID” DOG TRAINING STYLE
I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to have worked with a variety of different animals over my 35-plus-years career. My profession stems from starting at the age of 13 training our family dog named Shadow.
Joel and Shadow in 1974
The main issue with Shadow, for all intents and purposes, was that she was an extremely timid four-month-old dog that shook uncontrollably almost all the time when we first got her. For the first few years we had Shadow, during the summers my parents took me to SeaWorld on vacation, and I was fascinated with the way they trained these large mammals to do some of those amazing things. As a teenager, I watched in fascination and noticed that with all of the animals, the trainers would not only reward them with treats, but would also really spend time petting them. I could see the animals really enjoyed working. So those summers when I got home, and as I trained Shadow, I would apply the same techniques that I remembered the trainers using with the marine mammals. Over the course of those first few years, Shadow not only stopped shaking, but also began to follow me all over the house (that’s why we named her Shadow).As Shadow and I developed even more trust, her attitude began to change even more and she began to learn many behaviors.
As we fast-forward forty years, surprisingly, things really have not changed. The technique I used with Shadow in the early 1970s is still the same technique I use today. The truth is that bond and relationship are everything, but another very important aspect is to understand the dog you are working with.
A lot of people ask me how I got my start, so I will lay it out for you as briefly as possible. I worked at SeaWorld during the summers picking up trash from 1976 to 1978 as I was going to high school. During the time I was picking up trash, I would help the trainers whenever I got a chance.
In 1980, I actually started working with dogs for a brief time at Universal Studios at the Animal Actor’s Stage live show, and that kind of got me a good start, but I went back to SeaWorld from 1981 to 1983. During that two-year period, I had the opportunity to train three (you see the rocket hop behavior) different killer whales from scratch with the help of another trainer.
SeaWorld of San Diego, 1983
I was actually the guy in the water the whole time, and to start the behavior, we literally started out with just moving the whale into a vertical position. As we started teaching the whale, I first began just standing on her pectoral flippers, and she was rewarded for that. The next step was to get her to start moving upward a few inches by her touching her nose to a target, and she was rewarded for that. Once she caught on to that, we increased the height of the target; she reached higher and was rewarded for that. Once she understood, I started to hold my breath, so she would pick me up a few feet underwater. Again, we tapped the target, and she would start to increase her speed to get to it. Over the course of a few days, I began to go deeper.As she picked me up, you could really feel the power as she swam upwards to break the surface. When the behavior was completed, the whale was given a cue and took off to the corner of the pool and dove to the bottom, building speed. At the same time, I dove to the bottom, thirty-three feet down, and met the whale there, where she would slow down enough for me to stand on her pectoral flippers and hold onto her nose. Once I got in place, she would then start to increase her speed to where she would shoot up toward the top, and then once she broke the surface, she would shoot me fifteen to twenty feet out of the water.
Sea World of San Diego – 1983
This is just another example of a behavior that was trained by using my same principles consisting of separating the behavior into a series of small steps, making it as easy as possible for the animal to understand.
From 1983-1985 I worked at Universal Studios in the live show training dogs. Then, from 1985 to 1987, a company that contracted dolphin shows to a large number of the Six Flags parks around the United States hired me. In 1985, I did the dolphin show at Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, CA, and then from 1986-1987, I helped add a new dolphin show at the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park in Buena Park, CA. While training the dolphins at Knott’s Berry Farm, I trained a behavior that I actually won an award for. I feel very fortunate to have won the prestigious Behavior of the Year award presented to me at theInternational Marine Animal Trainer’s Association (IMATA) conference in 1986. I won the award for a behavior I trained on two Atlantic-bottlenose dolphins called the Triple Bow. It was a behavior that was trained by having the two dolphins simultaneously push me with their noses on my feet, to the bottom and then reverse direction and shoot me fifteen feet out of the water.
“TRIPLE BOW” Knott’s Berry Farm, 1986
Since 1987, I have been training dogs and cats professionally for movies, TV shows, and commercials. I have a number of credits, but was most fortunate to have been involved in the training and coordination of the IAMS national commercials and print ads from 1997 to 2014.
IAMS Commercial Shoot, Los Angeles, 2008 & 2011
IAMS Commercial Shoot, Vancouver, BC, 2001
Another credit I am proud of was the opportunity to be the trainer of Dreyfuss, the dog from the hit NBC TV series EMPTY NEST from 1988-1992. It is rare that a movie animal trainer ever gets a chance to train a dog on a TV series, but to work on a top-ten TV series for four of the eight years it ran was an amazing experience. And what made it even better was the awesome cast and director I worked work with each week.
In 2006, I worked on a motion picture called A GOOD YEAR,which was shot in France in 2006. The movie was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Russell Crowe. I must say that one of the most enjoyable motion pictures I have worked on in my career was A GOOD YEAR. Russell Crowe was great to work with, but I have to say it was a great experience working with one of Hollywood’s top motion picture directors, Ridley Scott. A lot of people do not realize that the dog was only written into a few scenes originally. I was out there for a few months and showed Ridley some of the things the dog did when I first got out there. He had mentioned to me that he really liked Jack Russell terriers and had a few of his own. Nearly every day he saw me on the set, he would ask me if the dog could do something different, and would write those into the script and film her. The dog ended up being in over 20 scenes in A GOOD YEAR!