From Publishers Weekly
Animal behaviorist, dog trainer, syndicated radio talk show host and prolific author on all things canine, McConnell (The Other End of the Leash
) presents a compelling combination of stories, science and practical advice to show how understanding emotions in both people and dogs can improve owners' relationships with their pets. This is more than a simple dog-training book: much of what McConnell discusses concerns how dog owners can learn "the language" of dog by recognizing important signals and reading them correctly. She provides numerous helpful examples of how owners can observe dog behavior, especially differences in posture and facial expressions, in order to help dogs be better behaved and help dog owners to be better handlers; her discussion of the meaning of a dog's "tongue flicks" is alone worth the price of the book. Her overall goal is to help owners provide their pets with "a sense of calm, peaceful benevolence," and she skewers current dog-training fads that emphasize "dominance" over a dog. "Don't fool yourself: if you yell at your dog for something he did twenty seconds ago, you're not training him; you're merely expressing your own anger." (On sale Aug. 15)
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Understanding what drives the behavior of our pet dogs is McConnell's goal. She teaches readers to understand the emotional environment of their dogs' actions and helps them to reprogram undesirable behaviors. This is not a book on how to train dogs, but McConnell's examination of cases from her veterinary practice, backed up by her scientific study of animal behavior, will help readers better understand their closest companions. Whether discussing separation anxiety, fear biting, or simple canine happiness, McConnell explains the emotional state of each dog and how this drives the observed behavior. One gentle Labrador was traumatized by an aggressive boy and had begun to growl and snap at all human males--he was cured by simple therapy involving habituation to nice behavior and treats from men and boys. A dog that was terrified of thunder was trained to go to his safe place--a heavily insulated, very quiet doghouse. McConnell's main message is for readers to observe their own dogs and to understand the emotions behind their actions, both good and bad. Nancy BentCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved