April Frost is one of a growing number of teachers who are refining and enhancing traditional methods of working with animals. She has developed Awareness Training, a solid method of training dogs which builds a bond through clear, consistent communication, discipline, and respect. In her book Beyond Obedience, she leads her readers through the process of choosing the animal best suited to their households and needs, and she outlines very definite steps of training and living with the animal successfully.
Frost has been working with dogs and horses for over 30 years. Her range of experiences includes watching how a few hours of contact with her dog Strut was able to bring peace to a raging woman in a convalescent home to rescuing 13 dogs from a feral pack who lived in a pen without adequate food for years. She has seen countless animals pay the price of their owner's irresponsibility and ignorance. Realizing that good training and manners are an animal's best ticket to a safe, happy home, she developed Awareness Training. Departing from fear-based training methods, Frost advocates harnessing the power of human and animal hearts in conjunction with their minds to obtain cooperation instead of coercion. Frost challenges her readers to open their minds about what is possible when they work with their dogs. Attitude is a crucial ingredient in her method; she encourages visualization and developing a strong intention while working with one's animals. In addition to these techniques, she uses the more familiar training tools of the voice, vocabulary, hand signals, crates, collars, and leashes. Although she presents a series of progressive training steps, she encourages her readers to alter her methods to fit the needs of their dogs and situations. Throughout the book, Frost gives a wealth of information and stories to enable her readers to better understand how their dogs experience life. Her stories are inspiring and convey the deep emotions of which animals are capable. She draws upon her many years of conducting classes and workshops for stories to illustrate common training problems and how she worked out their solutions. For those who wish to supplement their conventional veterinary care, Frost summarizes several alternative therapies: bach flower remedies, herbs, homeopathic remedies, therapeutic touch, and reiki among others. She also raises some pertinent questions about our current dog food production, inoculation, and parasite control practices. Even if you are not primarily interested in trailblazing dog thinking, Frost's method for teaching your pet the basics is reputable and will teach you how to lay a firm foundation with the beginning cues of walk, come, and wait. But, just as your Spot has an vast reservoir of potential within patiently waiting for your notice and appreciation, so does this book. Sharon Kozy is an avid animal lover.