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How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication Paperback – April 17, 2001


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Frequently Bought Together

How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication + How Dogs Think: What the World Looks Like to Them and Why They Act the Way They Do + The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior (Howell reference books)
Price for all three: $33.52

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; New edition edition (April 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074320297X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743202978
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An invaluable language manual for people who need to communicate with dogs, How to Speak Dog is far more than a simple training guide. Author Stanley Coren discusses at length the evolution of language in many species, and focuses as much on body language as he does on verbal communication. This is a man with his own theories on language development--when disagreeing with Chomsky or Darwin, he backs up his arguments with plenty of thorough, firsthand experience.

Separate chapters devoted exclusively to interpreting the movement of tails, ears, and bodies are fascinating, and can often provide surprisingly quick insight into canine behavior. There's a tremendous difference between showing affection and showing dominance, and humans have a strong tendency to misread our dogs' behavior and reward them in exactly the right way to ensure the continuation of frustrating behavior. Coren maintains that dogs can often learn far more words than we give them credit for--certainly, we've all seen pooches go bananas at the words walk and cookie, but he also suggests we watch for learned behaviors from certain words. Perhaps office gets your spaniel waiting by the door, or baby results in your terrier checking in on your child's location--you may just think it's cute, but actually, it's a sign of your dog's linguistic ability.

Whether you own a dog or two or work in the field of animal care, this manual will be a most informative read and is sure to have a positive effect on the relationship between you and man's best friend. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Coren's premise is that to communicate effectively with a dog the owner must first learn the dog's language, including vocabulary, grammar, and how to form "sentences that can be used to send and receive meaningful messages." The goal of such enlightened communication is to prevent the misunderstandings that often lead to problem behavior (e.g., aggression) and result in hundreds of thousands of dogs being surrendered to shelters for placement or euthanasia. Using anecdotes and examples, Coren (psychology, Univ. of British Columbia; Why We Love the Dogs We Do) speaks with knowledge and authority. He makes slow but steady progress toward understanding how the canine mind works, why it works that way, and how owners can make the best use of that knowledge to train their dogs to be model companions. Chapters cover vocalization, face talk, tail talk, body talk, scent, and dialects. A useful visual glossary (with line drawings) and a doggy "phrasebook" are also featured. The book is written for the above-average pet owner who wants to build a better relationship with his/her dog. Recommended for larger public libraries or where pet interest runs high.DEdell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Stanley Coren, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, is a recognized expert on dog-human interaction who has appeared on Dateline; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Good Morning, America; 20/20; Larry King Live; and many other TV and radio programs. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a beagle, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, as well as his wife and her cat.

Customer Reviews

If you are a dog owner, this is the book you must read.
bec
This book will give you an understanding that will make training, playing, interacting with your dog much easier and much more fun for you and doggie.
yogi1ab
Stanley Coren's book makes a strong argument for the nature of language, body language, vocalizations and receptive language, in dogs.
B. C. LMFT

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By "harikari" on July 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book was like receiving a canine translator - now I can not only understand but also communicate more effectively with my own dog as well as other dogs. It has enabled me to interpret how dogs are reacting to their environment, anticipate their actions, and take appropriate steps to stave off aggression. This book overcomes the shortcomings and dispels the myths of many rote "praise-and-correction" training books regarding what dogs are capable of understanding and how best to make them understand and do what you want. I highly recommend this to any dog owner looking for a better way of communicating with their dog than snapping a collar.
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222 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Joan H. Walker on March 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I frequently review dog books and interview authors--so, I was fortunate enough to be able to review an advance proof of this book last month, as well as interview Dr. Coren. If you have even the slightest interest in dog behavior (including aggression), training, or simply want to better understand your pet and its interactions with humans, dogs, and other species, this book is a *must* read. In the book, Dr. Coren relates to readers an enormous amount of information on the communication skills of dogs, and manages to do this in a very entertaining and humorous manner.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Sortman on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a lover of dogs for over 50 years, I own dozens of books about canine care and behavior, but Stanley Coren's 'How to Speak Dog' is definitely my favorite. I originally found this informative dog communication book in my local library after adopting a lovable but fearful mixed breed from my local humane society five years ago. Since then, I have bought at least six copies of this same book online, just to have on hand to give to friends and family who decide to bring a dog into their life or who don't understand the behavior of a dog already living with them. I especially like the book's detailed descriptions of a dog's specific body language (ears, eyes, mouth, tail) and what each means--as well as its guide to the messages a dog is sending when he barks or whines in a particular way. Not unlike a driver's training manual which must be read by those who wish to become licensed drivers, 'How to Speak Dog" should be required reading for every person who decides to share his or her life with a dog.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By T. Mc Larty on July 1, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had my doubts about this book. I am a professional dog trainer, and a animal behaviorist. I would not recommened this book for your average reader. However it covers the basics of canine behavior very well and I would recommend it to anyone who trains dogs, or works with groups of dogs and wants a deeper understanding of their social interactions.

Reads a bit on the scientific side, so if your reading for entertainment you will probably be bored. If your reading to learn and increase your knowledge, you will probably enjoy.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By "finnao" on April 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Having bought this book when it first came out, and having bought many others since then with similar content but slightly different approaches, I came back to HOW TO SPEAK DOG when I was choosing a book to give to a young teen who had just adopted a German Shepherd from a Rescue Organization. Why? Quite simply, this books has wonderful drawings that give direct visual clues to the student of Dog-Speak which is essentially a marriage of vocalization and body langauge. In many cases, it is the placement of the Dog's ears, his posture and more that helps to communicate his needs and the simple yet charming illustrations give concrete examples of what your doggie should look like when he is saying "I wanna play" or "I'm scared and might bite."
Added to this enormous wealth of visual information is Coren's charming storytelling abilities. In each chapter, he draws on his own experiences with his dogs with obvious affection. This tenderness lends credibility to his explanations and also underscores the importance of understandig your dog's needs and motivations when assessing the meaning of the communcation in question. Coren also brings considerable experience in human affairs to the mix...being a practising Psychiatrist. He masterfully explains not just the rudimentary basics of learning to communicate with Fido and goes further to explore virtually ALL of the possible means by which Dogs communicate with us. Especially touching is his description towards the end of the book of the personal significance the sound of his own dogs' breathing in the quiet night has to him.
Mixed in with the discussions of the various woofs, howls and ear postions are some very charming anecdotes.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Petersen on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
While I can't pretend to have gotten inside the mind of Stanley Coren, I am willing to speculate that he wrote this book as a way of taking a very specific scientific controversy out of the realm of academia and bringing it to the people. The controversy: do dogs have a true language or do they not?

Having recently rewatched Miracle on 34th Street, I recall Kris Kringle's attorney's comment on the controversy over belief in Santa Clause. "Some firmly believe in him, others just as strongly deny his existence." In keeping with the spirit of the season when we're a little more likely than usual to believe that animals speak, it's a great time to buy this book as a present for a serious dog lover on your list.

It seems obvious to me that Coren takes the controversy seriously; taking it to the people is not a cop out. Rather his singular achievement is to bring a body of evidence, if you will, to pet owners who normally would not be part of this academic jury. While reading How To Speak Dog, again and again I'd find myself exclaiming "Wow, that's Oliver's call to be let in, or so that's what Emmie is saying to Hannah."

After completing my first read, I kept the book on the end table having dog eared (sorry, couldn't resist) the section entitled "Doggish Phrase Book". This Doggish-English dictionary is a must-have for your next visit to the park where Doggish is the language of the land. Stanley, "May I call you Stanley?", has organized the phrasebook by sounds, and by ear, eye, facial, tail, and other body signals. Then for each phrase he provides the human meaning, corresponding emotions and conditions of the dog when the phrase is uttered. Basically, "This is what the dog is saying when you see and hear this behavior.
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