Book Reviews

"In Focus" Reviews


June 2005 Reviews

Dog World Review (in PDF Format)
Front and Finish Review (in PDF Format)
Clean Run Review Page 1 (in PDF Format)
Clean Run Review Page 2(in PDF Format)

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Previous Reviews

Book Review: In Focus by Deb Jones and Judy Keller

Newsletter Edited by:
Jacqueline Munera
Angelica Steinker

You ask your dog to perform a behavior and instead the dog sniffs the grass, call it annoying or call it canine-attention-deficit-disorder, agility competitors, Dr. Deb Jones and Judy Keller have the cure for you. In their book appropriately named In Focus Jones and Keller discuss how to use Fun, Obedience, and Consistency to lead you to Unbelievable Success, in other words FOCUS. Written for the owner of a performance dog this book contains wonderful information that is helpful to any pet owner.

The book is organized into three helpful sections starting with fun, moving to obedience, and ending with consistency. Throughout the book, the authors describe scientifically accurate and dog-friendly training methods with an emphasis on educating the reader on such things as canine signs of stress. The authors extensively describe how you can modify your dogs stress to become happiness. Each section begins with Sabres Story paragraph. Sabre is co-author Judys Sheltie that has presented Judy with some unusual challenges. These Sabres story is both entertaining and helpful. If you think your dog needs focus then this book is for you. You can get a copy at


Dog Tales (Nov. 14)

By LuAnn Stuver Rogers (

Deborah Jones, PhD and Judy Keller, two friends of mine, have just published a new book titled “In Focus, Developing a Working Relationship with Your Performance Dog.” I feel like a Deb and Judy groupie, having taken multiple classes, workshops and seminars from them, including four days in Wilder, Kentucky at Clicker Camp the summer before last. But their training methods are fun and they work, so I keep going back for more.

Their new book captures the heart of their training philosophy - an interaction, even partnership, between handler and dog. And they build this in a positive manner.

A single sentence goes to the heart of this book. Early on the authors say, “We believe that dogs are intelligent and sensitive creatures and we feel that force and intimidation in training are counterproductive to a true working partnership.”

The book’s cover proclaims:
Obedience, and
Consistency Lead to

If you’ve ever watched the two of them work with their dogs, you know this is true.
So who are these two trainers? Deb Jones is an animal behaviorist and clicker expert who has written five previous books. She says, “Writing a book is a lot like having a baby, except it goes on a lot longer and seems to be much more painful.” She adds that it was a very gratifying experience and that she is very proud of the finished product.

Judy Keller is a three-time AKC/USA World (Agility) Team member and was on the gold medal team in 1998. She says that she found the writing process fun, and enjoys meeting people who say they identify with her dog Sabre, who was the inspiration for the book. “I really think this book is going to help,” she says.

Their canine partners deserve accolades, too. Judy has an all Sheltie team consisting of Morgan, Sabre and youngster Smudge. Sabre is really the star of the book, with a sort of book-within-a-book telling “Sabre’s Story.” His is the story of a dog having too much fun in the ring but not that much success. The Focus program kept the fun, but added the success.

Deb’s competition dogs are Papillons Copper and Luna, and her newest addition, a Sheltie pup named Kix.

Among them these dogs have all the top agility and obedience titles, including multiple MACH (Masters Agility Champion) and OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion) titles.

“In Focus” divides dogs into two groups, the dogs like Sabre, who are having too much fun, and the dogs like Copper, who are not having enough fun. This may seem like an oversimplification, but it encompasses the vast majority of competition dogs.

The authors then set out a training program for both groups.

They lead the reader through the basics of focus and clicker training, and include an entire section on “Fun.” They cover control, consistency, speed and “issues.”

There is plenty of information basic enough for the pet owner who simply wants a well-behaved and more tuned in dog.

But the agility or obedience handler at any level will be enthralled. For the book goes much deeper. Here is a tool box with everything you need to fix your training problems, or even to build a training program from scratch.

If, indeed, “the proof is in the pudding” this book should be served up with a dollop of whipped cream.

You can order your own copy of “In Focus” from the Clean Run website at I won’t be lending out mine!

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