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The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears Paperback – June 1, 1998

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The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears + The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs + How to be the Leader of the Pack...And have Your Dog Love You For It.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 30 pages
  • Publisher: McConnell Publishing, Ltd.; 2nd edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891767003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891767005
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Cautious Canine is another marvelous booklet by Dr. McConnell. I love seeing my students dogs transformed after their owners start using Dr. McConnell s methods. In just a matter of weeks, I will see dogs that started out in class hiding under a chair barking at everyone who got close to them, to a dog who wants to greet everyone in class with a wagging tail." --Meredith Gage, owner Pawsitive Experience Dog Training and Consulting Bend, OR

"This booklet saved my dog's life and secured his place in my heart and home forever" --Karen Vogt

About the Author

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., CAAB is an Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has consulted with cat and dog lovers for over twenty years. She combines a thorough understanding of the science of behavior with years of practical, applied experience. Her nationally syndicated radio show, Calling All Pets, played in over 110 cities for fourteen years. She is the behavior columnist for The Bark magazine ( the New Yorker of Dog Magazines ) and a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Comparative Psychology. She is Adjunct Associate Professor in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships." Dr. McConnell is a much sought after speaker and seminar presenter, speaking to training organizations, veterinary conferences, academic meetings and animal shelters around the world about dog and cat behavior, and on science-based and humane solutions to serious behavioral problems. She is the author of ten books on training and behavioral problems, as well as the critically acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend and Tales of Two Species.

More About the Author

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert applied animal behaviorist. Her company, Dog's Best Friend, Ltd., specializes in family dog-training and treating aggression in dogs, and she is an immensely popular speaker around the country. She is the co-host of Calling All Pets, an animal behavior advice show syndicated to a hundred public radio stations, and works daily with four dogs (three border collies and a Great Pyrenees) on her sheep farm outside of Madison. Her Web site is

Customer Reviews

Book was very informative and an easy read.
I very rarely give a bad review but if your interested in thie "book" it is only a small pamphlet with may 25 pages.
Margaret Corsaro
You will learn that you can help your dog overcome his fears rather than using punishment.
Charise Bell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

221 of 221 people found the following review helpful By Star Tulip on September 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have an 18 mo old dog-reactive German Shepherd. I've read many of the best trainers: Jean Donaldson, Pam Reid, Pamela Dennison, Emma Parsons, Linda Tellington-Jones, Karen Pryor, Trish King. My dog and I have taken private lessons from a couple excellent dog-reactive specialists. We can now attend certain dog training classes if they're small enough and there's enough distance between the dogs.

I've been working on this problem for over a year, and I'm seeing progress, but some of the approaches from the author trainers seem unrealistic for anyone other than a trainer who has access to a variety of dogs on a daily basis. There are steps and steps and steps and steps and steps and then more pages of steps and steps to take. Then you turn to the next chapter to find out you've got more steps to take. Even the most committed dog owner can get overwhelmed. And with all these steps, you need different dogs at different times of the day with different owners, etc. Or you need 20 friends to come knocking on your door 3 times a day 6 days a week. OK, an exaggeration, but it seems that some of the authors have immersed themselves so much in dogs that they have forgotten what life is like for people who don't have easy access to many people willing to work with them and share their dogs with them. For many of us, that just isn't the case. McConnell gives us 5 steps to work with. That's it, and it's enough. She says in 5 easy steps what others take 28 steps to say and by then I'm so confused I just go throw the kong in the backyard with the dogs rather than go to Petco for some desensitization exercises.

However, Patricia McConnell gives realistic, succinct, clear and direct advice in her little booklet.
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332 of 338 people found the following review helpful By Karen L. Vogt on October 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Cautious Canine, How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears, by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.,
probably saved my fear aggressive Sheltie's life. At the very least, it secured his place in my heart and my home forever. When my sweet, cute, cuddly ball of fur, Pierce, started acting like "Cujo" at 3-4 months of age, it was very distressing to say the least. Trying to take him for a walk was a traumatic experience, every time. He would lunge, growl and bark at anything and everything that moved - cars, children, adults, bicycles, dogs and cats (and many that did not, such as fire hydrants and mailboxes). Less than 20 pounds, he was strong enough to pull me off my feet, causing me to slip on ice and hurt my back.
I had been training dogs in obedience and doing pet assisted therapy for 10 years, so I was not a clueless, first-time pet owner who didn't know which end of the leash was up. I had worked in classes with other people's dogs with aggression problems, but this was the first one to live in my home. I had Pierce neutered, stepped up his obedience training and socialization and enrolled him in agility class to build his confidence. I consulted with 7 different trainers, many of whom said I should rehome him or worse... Although at times I was afraid of him and often frustrated to the point of tears, I wasn't prepared or willing to go down that road. I made a commitment to Pierce and I was determined to find a way.
Thankfully, I found "Cautious Canine". It became my bible. Dr. McConnell's book is written in very easy to understand language, with a great sense of humor and a genuine love for dogs. It offers a common sense approach to solving problem behaviors. The methods are always fair to the dog and easy to understand and apply.
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168 of 172 people found the following review helpful By Debi Davis on May 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of the finest little gems in the dog behavior world--a practical, step-by-step guide to help desensitize and modify unwanted responses, while building confidence in your dog. This book's advice is the very same approach I used to take my juvenile delinquent dog from a problem child to the National Service Dog of the Year. I buy copies of this book and give them out constantly. If your dog has reactivity problems--for whatever reason, this is a book that will change your dog's life.
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By C. Wilson on July 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
I knew there would be a lot of baggage involved when I adopted a young greyhound who had been neglected, starved, and beaten prior to rescue. Although his fear did not make him agressive it did pose problems with daily activities: loud sounds, anyone walking behind him on the street, men, angry voices on TV, the clicking sounds from soda cans, cameras, or ball-point pens, anything remotely shaped like a stick...the list of things that completely paralized him went on and on.
My sister, who is active in Aussie rescue, suggested this booklet (she was coping with a rescued fear-biter at the time). The suggestions in this book enabled us both to help our very different animals blossom into the confident, well-mannered, loving, envy-inspiring dogs they are today.
Of special help to me was understanding that 'comforting' behaviour on my part just gave my dog the certainty that there really was something to worry about. As soon as I changed that he began to act less anxious. When rescued he was never supposed to be allowed to be an only dog because of his nervous anxiety and self-destructive coping methods. So when my elder grey passed some months back we worried about regression. Thanks to this booklet he is more happy, playful, and calm than ever before. He even lies tummy-up on the grass a few feet away as my husband swings his golf clubs and works on his game. His utter indifference to a big stick was something I never imagined possible and would never have happened without the wisdom in this little booklet.
Thank you, Ms. McConnell!
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