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Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs Paperback – October 18, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Clearly an animal lover, Clothier opens this training manual by recalling her childhood, when she pretended she was a dog. Rather than simply trying to "train" animals to behave in a certain way, Clothier focuses on improving the existing relationship between pet and owner. To help readers gain some insights into more effective training, Clothier offers anecdotes about her clients. Particularly important is the dog's connection to the owner and the ability of the two to communicate effectively: "In each moment that you are with the dog, you must be aware, gently and persistently shifting the balance toward one of mutual agreement and cooperation. This is not easy, and it requires some thought. Most of all, it requires a desire to create-over and over again-the event of quality, which in turn creates a heartfelt commitment to truly being with the dog." Usually Clothier begins by observing her clients interact with their pets: after one owner complained about her dog being disruptive and overly playful, Clothier concluded that the owner's way of physically stopping her dog was in fact causing the dog to be more playful. Clothier is a capable writer, and her descriptive style livens up the subject matter.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

SUZANNE CLOTHIER A lifelong animal lover, I learned to speak in order to ask for a horse for Christmas. That request not granted, I moved on to become well known in my very early childhood for a propensity for stealing the neighborhood dogs. No evil intent, just an unquenchable desire to be in the company of animals. ANY animal, whether my pet frog who lived in a Dixie cup or a cherished bug or the horse who drew the cart driven down our block each week by the fruit & vegetable man. One of the most thrilling memories of my early years was being at the neighbors' house (a heavenly madness of children and pets and, as my mother informed me later, loose morals) when the mother matter of factly announced that we should all be careful where we walked since the hamster had gotten loose again. It was almost unbearably exciting, this possibility that at any moment, a hamster might waltz out from behind the refrigerator or scurry from under the table. (Now an adult, such scenarios are not infrequent, though larger creatures are often involved, and outdoors, not under the table. Houseguests learn to be careful on early morning strolls around the farm not to startle any of our shaggy, well horned cattle who may have escaped overnight.) With the exception of a frightening two day stint as a temporary secretary, I have always worked with animals in some capacity. Consequently, I've considerable skills with pitchforks, wheelbarrows, pooper scoopers and other tools of the trade, and can be woken from a dead sleep by the sound of an animal preparing to play show & tell with their stomach contents. I also own more medication, medical supplies and veterinary equipment than human oriented supplies. Some of the people I love best in this world are veterinarians, and at times, I wish I could take myself to a veterinarian; the treatment would be far better than my current HMO allows! My husband and I live on a lovely farm in upstate New York, sharing our lives with 8 dogs (7 German Shepherds and 1 Lab/Chow cross), 5 cats, 2 horses, a donkey, three pigs, various turkeys/chickens/quail, a Blue Front Amazon parrot, an African spur thigh tortoise, a Jersey/Holstein steer, and a herd of approximately 25 Scottish Highland cattle. When the barking, meowing, cackling, squealing, whinnying, crowing, braying and mooing come to a halt, it's a quiet, peaceful life. Inspired at an early age by Dr. Doolittle and Rin Tin Tin, I've never quite given up my early impressions that animals DO have something to say and that a good German Shepherd is an extraordinary pal to have around the fort. As a result, I've earned international recognition in the dog training community for a rather eclectic but sensible, balanced approach to the dog/human relationship and to dog training and behavior. My 30 plus years of experience as a horsewoman include numerous educational but painful falls that have taught me: a) I don't bounce the way I used to in my 20's; b) an animal who has physical limitations and/or lacks confidence can be dangerous to ride (this understanding has translated into my reputation as an expert in assessing canine athletic function in performance dogs); c) it's impossible to fall off a dog, though absolutely likely that I will meet my death by falling over a dog or dog toy. As a kid, I methodically (though not in any particular order) read through the entire Animal/Nature section of the local library, prompting concern on the part of the sweet librarian who kindly tried to point out that other types of books were available. Thanks to her, I was able to broaden my horizons past the likes of Walter Farley (The Black Stallion and so many others!), Marguerite Henry (Misty of Chincoteague & others), Albert Payson Terhune (Lad of Sunnybank and countless others), Ernest Thompson Seton (an indescribably wonderful hero in my childhood for his skill as a naturalist, a storyteller and an artist), and so on. Later, when my tastes had matured though my d

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044669634X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446696340
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Rue Chagoll on January 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Not too far along I put this book down, fetched my highlighter, and started over. You'll quickly realize this is one you'll want to reference, maybe even re-read entirely. It's a definite top shelf selection for the library of anyone seriously devoted to a dog.
Like its independent-minded author, "Bones" defies categorization. It's neither a training manual, nor another treatise on canine behavior. While both subjects get thorough treatment, the book's focus is communication. Key is the thesis that only through continuous, clear, honest and most critically - two way - communication, can the objective of "deepening our relationships with dogs" be realized. Its virtue is in challenging us to think more deeply about what we already know - about dogs, about ourselves. No particular methodologies are professed other than perhaps common sense and humanity. Clothier demonstrates how contrasting cultures can vex human-canine relationships, using real world comparatives such as, "No mother dog ever told her puppies: `You just wait until your father gets home' or `We'll discuss that later.'" "A dog never needs to say `I may not tell you enough, but - '".
Three developmental stages of the human-canine relationship are described, beginning with mechanical (stimulus-response). Next comes motivational, the essence of reward-based training (and where most of us, even serious fancier types, are likely stagnated). At the apex is spiritual, where the pair - meaning "we" having supplanted "dog and me" - operates in synchronous harmony. "Bones" is filled with the author's experiences, and those of a few others, in lifelong quest of this uppermost plateau.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Virginia R. Palmieri on October 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With warmth, humor, and insight, guided by a deep love for dogs, Suzanne Clothier does not just urge us to 'think outside the box.' In 'Bones Would Rain from the Sky,' Clothier succeeds in smashing the box entirely, and builds a totally new paradigm. 'Bones' feeds a hunger in every dog trainer and lover who has been left unsatisfied by the myriad training 'recipe' books available on the market. Clothier holds up a mirror to each of us, requiring that we examine and own our own roles in our relationships with our dogs, and encourages us to use our powers of empathy, compassion, and intelligence to improve those relationships. Clothier's stories open new depths of truth, and promise new levels of possibility between us and our companions. Written with elegance, style and grace, 'Bones' is destined to become a classic which will appear on every dog trainer's and dog lover's bookshelf.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By jeanne-scott on December 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Suzanne Clothier has written a masterpiece!
While this is a beautifully written book whose main theme seems to be about "deepening our relationships with dogs", it actually encompasses a much more important body of thought. It is really a book about developing a richer more fulfilling and effective life in all relationships. Suzanne Clothier provides us the opportunity to learn that what we perceive as happening may very well be perceived differently by those in our lives, be they dogs, children, a spouse or friends, or foreign nations
There are many implications concerning leadership, not just as it applies to animals or even children but leadership overall.
Clothier states,"In the end, our personal philosophy is also our best protection against cruelty. When we know what we believe and who we are, we stand stong and sure about what we will and will not allow."
Clothier quotes Goethe-"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it become an emergency." she quotes Arnold Glasglow.
"As ever, a small investment of our full selves reaps rewards without measure.",another quote from this book!
Don't let the title fool you, this is not really just about dogs ,but about people and how we live in this world and how we touch other's lives. It compels one to take an honest look at our relationships and then to proceed through this process, to enriching our lives by making positive changes in our dealings with those around us. Clothier quotes Thomas Jefferson,
"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." We can only be wiser if we are honest with ourselves first.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By K. Smalley on October 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I first began reading this book I was in agreement with the five star positive reviews that I see on Amazon. I think Ms. Clothier's writing style is poetic, witty, and engaging. However, upon further reading and reflection, there is one aspect of this book that does concern me. I still recommend the book, but with an observation. The author is critical of compulsive training methods, and yet does not offer tangible, PRACTICAL alternatives. As a trainer myself, I have read many books about dogs. I get disappointed by what I perceive as the tendency to be black and white, in what often appears to be a marketing tactic. It's the my way is the only way approach that I question. I do understand that this book is about our relationships with dogs, and not training per se. But then I think one should be careful about criticizing training methods and philosophies without providing real life alternatives.

Several times throughout the book I was moved to tears by Suzanne's deep, thoughtful, and emotional portrayal of her life with dogs. My concern however, is that while this portrayal is beautiful, I do not think its completely realistic. For example, she talks about dogs wanting to be with us if the relationship is right, and if we are perceived as the leader. While I believe that my dog likes being with me and respects me, he also likes chasing cats. Given the opportunity to do so, (even if it meant crossing a busy street and perhaps getting hit by a car) he probably would. I am able to avoid this situation easily enough, and I live on a very quiet cul-de-sac. However, it is an example of where I would use some compulsion if the situation was endangering his life. I agree that it is best to use cognitive, positive, relationship based methods to the greatest extent. But I think we have a moral obligation to admit that the dog as spiritual creature approach to training also has its limitations.
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