Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Book note: How to Train Your Pet Like a Television Star, by Ray Berwick

As I understand it, Ray Berwick was one of the top animal trainers in the entertainment industry back when animal actors were big. As much to the point, he had great success without using pain or punishment. How to Train Your Pet Like a Television Star, c. 1977, covers birds and dogs and cats mostly, with a few tips for horses, too. The forward is by Robert Blake. His show "Baretta" featured a cockatoo (Fred) trained by Berwick.

The used copy I have on my desk right now, getting it ready for sale, is a 13th printing from 1983, which suggests that the book had a good run of popularity back in the day. It seems to be out of print these days, but internet prices are surprisingly low for the limited number of used copies for sale. The publisher is Armstrong Publishing Company, Los Angeles.

The back cover copy: "For the first time, a fast and comprehensive method for training animals and birds without pain or punishment. It is the same method used by Ray Berwick and his associates at Universal Studios, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Marriott's Great America and Lion County Safari."

Berwick also wrote a book or books on training your cat, also out of print. I haven't seen it/them, so don't know if it's one book released under two titles, or two somewhat different books. The titles I've seen are Ray Berwick's Complete Guide to Training Your Cat and Train Your Cat. (And, yes, some cats can be trained. We have one that plays fetch handsomely. When she feels like it, that is... :)

For some nice stories in passing about Ray Berwick, see this transcript of a March 2005 television interview with actress and animal lover Tippi Hendren, in which, amongst other things, she talked about the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.

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