I don’t review books on goodreads.com too often, because a lot of times I don’t have much to say beyond, I really liked book X. Today I’m going to attempt to do Trident K9 Warrior by Michael Ritland some justice.
I’ll start by confessing I’m kind of a dog geek (read; I have a blog about my dog) and have a little exposure to working dogs/helpers/Schutzhund/IPO/GSD/MALS but am beyond green in the sport (read; my dog has a BH and I did a summersault during the escape portion of my attempt to get certified as a ‘helper’……I can drive dog about as well as an 85 year old lady cruising in a 1978 Oldsmobile).
I included the detail above about my history with dogs because if you have no idea what I’m talking about you’ll want to read this book. You’ll gain an understanding of the level of expertise/devotion/talent required to train dogs to this level. You’ll understand how rare it is to find dogs that can perform at the level required to serve in this very specific application. You won’t be inundated with information you don’t understand, rather you’ll get a clear understanding of some of the things it takes to train dogs to this level and you’ll learn what the dogs are able to accomplish (sniff sniff sniff chomp and A LOT more). You’ll gain insight into how valuable these dogs are, in terms of preserving human life. You’ll get a clear picture of the level of devotion these dogs have for their handlers/partners. This isn’t a book about couch potato pets who won’t pee outside when it’s raining, it’s about Four Legged Soldiers who serve our country for nothing more than a ball toss, scratch behind the ear, or a good ribcage thumping.
On the other hand if you laughed because my five-year-old GSD only has his BH and that I fell and did a summersault on the escape (in my defense I kept the dog on the sleeve) you’ll also enjoy this book. You won’t read about capping or leaking drive, but there’s plenty in this book for you. I laughed anytime there was mention of a spinning Malinois. Anyone that is able to articulate the following about helper work in a book that the general public can also digest is providing relevant and interesting information in my opinion.
“A truly good decoy is someone who is absolutely priceless because he will make or break a dog. You can ruin a great dog with a incompetent decoy, or make an average dog fantastic by having a phenomenal decoy who can recognize those times of transitions and know how much pressure to put on, when to back off, when to relieve stress, when to put it on.
In my mind, doing this kind of bite work is absolutely an art. The science of animal behaviorism is absolutely behind it, but putting that fundamental understanding of a dog’s assertive nature into practice to refine those instinctive skills isn’t something you can get from reading a book. You need to see a really, really good decoy who can work a dog and put him through that and imitate some of those behaviors. That will get you to a certain point, but you also have to eventually develop a feel for how stressed a dog is, recognize its body language and how it is communicating what it is thinking and feeling, before you can really train a dog well. You elevate this dog to a level where you, again, are teaching him how to fight, how to bring that natural instinct he has genetically deep down, which we’re already identified through our selection process, and now we’ve just teaching him to bring it at a much higher level to be able to take the rigors of the training. And it gets to where he’s ten times the dog that he was when we first got him.”
The bottom line is Trident K9 Warrior is a page-turner that provides insight into what goes into developing a dog capable of serving alongside Navy SEALS and the level of professionalism and devotion those dogs serve with. For you literary snobs who may have struggled with other books written by Service Members whose first careers weren’t as authors or English Professors you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the writing and editing.
I NEVER stop mid book to start another book EVER, well I did in this case and was not disappointed!
View all my reviews