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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ€TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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If Only They Could Speak: Stories about Pets and Their People Hardcover – June, 2002

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The countless joys and rewards as well as the frustrations and failures of pet ownership are explored by an author who examines the complexities of the human-animal dynamic from both points of view. From the dog who is more apt to chew his master's slippers than fetch them, to the cat who would rather pounce than purr, determining why even the most loyal and lovable pets display inappropriate behavior is the goal of renowned animal behaviorist Dodman, a proponent of behavior modification based upon a thorough understanding of an animal's inherent personality traits and species characteristics. Sharing case histories culled from his extensive caseload of distraught pet owners desperate to discover the cause of their pet's perplexing actions, Dodson advocates strategies ranging from dietary changes to pharmaceutical remedies. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


A truly landmark book....chock full of valuable lessons that will help every pet and pet parent -- Marty Becker, DVM, Good Morning, America Veterinarian

I love Dr. Dodman's work. -- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

This is a "must read" book for anyone interested in the behavior of dogs and cats—and people too! -- Stanley Coren, author of How to Speak Dog and The Intelligence of Dogs

[R]equired reading for anyone who even thinks about getting an animal...skillfully written, very exciting, and highly entertaining to read... -- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393051005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393051001
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas H. Dodman is a world-renowned animal behaviorist and the best-selling author of the immensely popular The Dog Who Loved Too Much, The Cat Who Cried for Help, and, most recently, The Well-Adjusted Dog. He has appeared on Oprah, the Today Show, Good Morning America, 20/20, and CNN, among many other television and radio programs. He is a professor and the director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By rabsparks on June 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of four other books on dog and cat behavior and founder of the Behavioral Clinic at Tufts Veterinary School, has once again demonstrated why he's a leading authority on dog/cat behavior. "If Only They Could Speak" chronicles several stories on dog and cat behavior pulled from the clinic's lengthy history.
The reader gets to see the "case" from start to finish, and in doing so comes to an understanding as to the necessity for treating serious behavioral issues from a behavior modification as well as a pharmacological approach. But the author's style keeps the book moving from chapter to chapter. Aptly subtitled, "Stories about Pets and Their People", Dr. Dodman presents each case in such a manner that the love between the pet and its owner is not given a backseat to the issues at hand.
It is unlikely that any pet owner will fail to recognize one or more of the problems related in "If Only They Could Speak". Dominance, separation anxiety, and aggression problems are handled with Dr. Dodman's normal aplomb and compassion. And while the problems are serious, disrupting the owner's household and day-to-day life, Dr. Dodman offers helpful information which should go a long way to helping the owners and dogs resolve their problems. Dr. Dodman's writing style makes for a fast and enjoyable read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Geri LaJoie on January 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for anyone contemplating getting a pet of any kind, and even those who have had pets all their lives will learn much from this latest treasure from Dr. Dodman. No one comes close to having his depth of understanding of animal behavior, and most especially, of how it is profoundly affected by the relationship of animals with humans. The beautifully-told stories in this book, at turns inspirational and heart-wrenching, will cause much reflection in readers. I thought I already understood how my feelings and behavior could affect my pets, because, after reading Dr. Dodman's book "The Cat Who Cried for Help" I sought him out to solve what other vets had written off as an impossible situation between my two cats. Dr. D. with endless patience never gave up on my cats--or on me!--and his compassionate understanding resulted in a happy ending for Peri, Dax & me. But in reading this book, I learned much about my own behavior that I could see created and contributed to perpetuating the problem (Dr. Dodman, the soul of kindness, very nicely didn't point it out at the time!)So, if you care about animals, have animals, or are contemplating getting animals, get this book today--it will make a world of difference to them, and to you. (Thanks again, Dr. D.!!!)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Delynn M. Siemsen on August 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim, since I own two neurotic miniature Dachshunds. I was captivated from the first paragraph of the preface. Dr. Dodman writes eloquently, with wit, compassion, and common sense about the pitfalls we fallible humans fall into when it comes to interacting with our beloved pets. Most importantly for me was the reassurance it gave that there are millions of dedicated animal-lovers who know that animals are not "just pets." They have feelings and emotional needs, too. Thank you, Dr. Dodman, for a wonderful read, and a confirmation that there lots of cherished doggies out there!!!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Afan of Sitagyl Manor on May 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed "The Dog who Loved too Much" (which might have been better titled "the Dog Owner who Loved too Much") so I picked this book up for more engaging stories of animal behavior and problem resolutions. My interest was further piqued by the chapter heading, "The Pit Bull from Hell". As the owner of a 9 year old pit bull, I have to say that Mr Dodman does not really "get" pit bulls. It's probably because the people who tend to have pit bulls cannot afford fancy schmancy animal behaviorist sessions.

Mr Dodson seems to imply that aggression against people is something normal in pit bulls, just lying beneath the surface of even those "cupcake" pit bulls he mentions in passing. I have lived in a densely populated urban neighborhood where pit bulls are popular for over 30 years, and I have never felt threatened by any of the local pit bulls including those used for dog fighting. I have been menaced by rottweilers, a rott-GSD mutt, and GSD mixed breeds running off leash in a local park.

The author describes a somewhat naive young man who tries to adopt a pit bull at a shelter but is directed to a pit bull breeder (WHY? with so many pit bull puppies ending up in shelters everywhere!) The dog he acquired seemed to be a product of careless dog breeding, but we are told nothing of the breeder. The animal developed a decidedly atypical aggression towards adult humans, probably a genetic error compounded by the ignorant owner's lack of understanding of dominant dog behavior.

I'm surprised that Mr Dodson didn't take this opportunity to point out the extreme importance of training puppies not to exhibit food aggression, as I did with my little pit bull.
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By OrcWhl on June 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read books by Dr. Dodman before and I've enjoyed his easy-to-read story-telling writing style. With my interest in animal behavior, I found the book a good diversity of compiled cases from his work and very similar to Pam Johnson-Bennett's "Hiss and Tell". The stories are simple but have great meaning especially to owners that may not be familiar with their companion animal's behaviors. This is not a book to help you solve or analyze your own pet's behavior problems (for that I'd recommend something from Patricia McConnell or some of Pam Johnson-Bennett's other books). One slight possible miss understanding is the subtitle "Understanding the powerful bond between dogs and their owners" since some of the stories feature a cat instead of a dog, but the book is primarily canine animal behavior case studies that Dr. Dodman had encountered. There are some nice documents in the appendix that pet owners or those interested in animal behavior may find useful such as a Dominance Aggression survey (if performing, I recommend extreme vigilance of the dog since many of the criteria suggested could put an owner in a dangerous situation if the dog is indeed aggressive) and common behavior problems with the typical breed associated with it. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone curious about companion animal behavior or pet owners curious about other owner's experiences.
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