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In a Dog's Heart: A Compassionate Guide to Canine Care, from Adopting to Teaching to Bonding Paperback – January 1, 2013

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In a Dog's Heart: A Compassionate Guide to Canine Care, from Adopting to Teaching to Bonding + Through a Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs by Understanding How They See the World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; Reprint edition (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812982452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812982459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Editorial Reviews Review

A Letter from Jennifer Arnold

Dogs are fascinating to me. That’s a good thing since working with them is my career. Twenty years ago, I founded a program called Canine Assistants and began teaching service dogs to work with people who have physical disabilities. We now have around 120 dogs with whom we are working at any given time and over 1,000 dogs already placed with recipients around the U.S. (and in five other countries.) My husband, Kent Bruner, is the staff veterinarian for Canine Assistants and he, our 9-year-old son Chase, and I live on the farm that is the program’s headquarters.

I started the program because I used a wheelchair for several years, due to the effects of an auto-immune disease, and I know first-hand how difficult even the simplest tasks can be when your body doesn’t do as it’s told. I’m also a lifelong animal lover so combining my own struggle with my great passion made sense.

Every day that I work with dogs, my adoration for them increases. I spend a great deal of time thinking about why dogs are so willing to help human beings. Is it because we feed and care for them or is it because they love us--often more than they seem to love themselves? The latter is closer to the truth I believe. A friend of mine recently said, “Dogs are the last truly nice guys on the planet.”

Loving and appreciating dogs as I do, the popular concept of having to dominate them physically and emotionally in order to “show them who is boss” breaks my heart. In fact, is based on a flawed understanding of canine genetics. Dogs do not understand the “mind games” this methodology employs. It also brings out the absolute worst in our own species. I am committed to helping people understand a better, kinder way to live and work with dogs.

I am certain that understanding and communication are the keys to a better relationship with our canine companions. In 2010, I wrote a book called Through a Dog’s Eyes that explains what we know, through both science and anecdotal evidence, about how dogs perceive the world. I explain why I teach dogs, not train them. It was a start.

Now, I have written a book called In a Dog’s Heart, about what our dogs want and need from us and why it’s important that we give it to them. In this book, I write about some practical things like food, veterinary care, exercise, and selecting a dog. I also write about breed bans, aggression issues, and guardianship vs. ownership.

At times I am straightforward to the point of bluntness about the wrongs we are doing to our dogs in the name of training. In some circles, I’m already being criticized for what I have written. I wish I could tell you that the unpleasantness doesn’t bother me a bit. I can’t. I am all too human. But, it won’t stop me. I owe dogs too much to be silent. We all do.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Praise for In a Dog’s Heart
“With insight and compassion, Jennifer Arnold guides us through the inside of a dog’s heart and teaches us how to build a relationship of love and trust on both sides. This guide is as practical as it is wise, a keeper book for ready reference.”—Susannah Charleson, author of Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog

Praise of Jennifer Arnold’s Through a Dog’s Eyes
“A perfect balance of science and observation, this book . . . is a worthy tribute to our canine friends.”—Publishers Weekly
“Charming.”—The Washington Post
“Arnold’s voice is assertive with experience. . . . Her storehouse of anecdotal evidence is telling and entertaining, and her demolition of various alpha-model and negative reinforcement teaching techniques is thorough and lofty.”—Kirkus Reviews
“There can be no doubt Jennifer Arnold knows her stuff when it comes to training dogs.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Vivid, memorable, moving . . . This book’s message is simply the truth.”—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

For the past twenty plus years, it has been my privilege to work with dogs. I am the Executive Director of Canine Assistants, a school where dogs are taught to help children and adults who have physical disabilities, epilepsy, and other special needs.

I have come to believe that dogs are among God's greatest creations! I also believe that we have a responsibility to treat them with respect and kindness. Force and intimidation have no place in working with dogs.

I wrote Through a Dog's Eyes in an effort to give my fellow dog lovers more information about these fascinating creatures. And, in so doing, I hope to correct some of the more damaging myths being put forth by some popular dog trainers. Dog lovers have been badly mislead by some and it isn't fair to dog or owner.

I cannot bear seeing dogs treated unfairly and I believe with all my heart that I owe them my very best efforts to correct the situation. My 8 year old son summed up my feelings beautifully when he awakened me at 5 am the day the book was released shouting "Mom, Mom! Wake up! Today is the day we start fighting of the dogs!" I would add only "and the people who love them!"

Customer Reviews

'In A Dog's Heart' by Jennifer Arnold is a very special book.
C. Wong
If you have never owned a dog, but are considering getting one, I highly recommend this book.
David L Hutchins
This book will help many, many people give their dogs better chances to help.
K. Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Davis on October 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really think most anyone would benefit from reading this book. If you already understand about dog behavior, bonding with a dog, ways that dogs benefit humans--then this book will reinforce and support what you know, making that knowledge more sure. But, most people do not know these things. They and the dogs they have or don't have are paying high prices for what they don't know.

I shed a lot of happy tears reading this book, because she includes stories of dogs who do wonderful things. And you know, most dogs will do wonderful things for their people if they get the chance. This book will help many, many people give their dogs better chances to help. Dogs love to help. It gives their lives special meaning and makes them very happy. The book explains how to tell your dog how much you appreciate the help.

Help is not just trained behaviors. There are so many things dogs do for us that go beyond training. Happy, upbeat, positive training is important to do with any dog. Heck, you're training the dog one way or the other, because the dog is learning from every experience. It helps both the dog AND YOU to learn desirable behavior in positive ways.

There is so much in this book. If you love dogs, read it. If you are thinking about getting a dog, read it first. From the first minute you meet your dog, everything you do matters to that relationship and to how the dog will do. So be prepared!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By KnC Books on September 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are at least as many books on raising dogs as there are on raising children, and undoubtedly as many points of view. There are scores of television shows and Internet sites professing to have the "secret" of success in teaching Fido what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do.

So what makes "In a Dog's Heart" any different? What makes companion animal trainer and dog rescuer Jennifer Arnold the voice we should listen to?

She starts with one simple premise: treat "man's best friend" like a friend. Dogs have evolved and grown alongside mankind for thousands of years. Their wants and needs are parallel to our own - to be physically well, to be safe, to know friendship and love, and to be content in their lives. And as dogs help us find these things for ourselves, as friends we should help them do the same.

Arnold points out that much is made in current dog training of the "pack mentality" of the dog's wolf ancestors. The theory is that our dogs must be taught their place, with we their owners as the "alpha" canines. Arnold shows (and research supports) that dogs are not wolves, and even if they were, a pack is not a group of unassociated animals fighting for dominance. A pack is a family unit; the alpha pair are the parents, and the pack works together to supply its needs. Think about it - a group of animals continually fighting each other for dominance would not last as a unit for long in the wild. And they won't last long in the home either.

Arnold gives us helpful pointers for understanding our dog's behaviors from the dog's perspective. He just wants to be well, and safe, and loved, and happy. He simply lacks the vocal ability to tell us how that can happen. He acts out his worries and fears (like many of us humans do as well).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"In a Dog's Heart", Jennifer Arnold, author and founder of Canine Assistants, an organization which trains service dogs, discusses the A to Z of dog ownership (or guardianship, as she occasionally says), informing us on how to best care for and train our dogs, and through numerous anecdotes, what they in turn have to offer us.

She discusses everything from how to pick out a puppy to take home with you (or what to look for if instead adopting an adult dog), proper nutrition and veterinarian care, how to see the world through the dog's eyes, how to correct and modify their behavior as needed, and even when it's time to say goodbye and let your pet go. In the appendices, she gives step by step instructions on how to train your pet and/or modify your pet's behavior on a wide variety of subjects.

She advocates a gentle approach, and is not a fan of many of the techniques espoused by Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer", although she does not doubt his sincerity or love of dogs. Their differences in approach are somewhat analogous to the two schools of thought of raising children, between "tough love" and a softer parental approach. I've been around dogs most of my life, and I see benefits to both sides explanations and techniques, although I'm probably a little more in Ms Arnold's camp, both for dogs and children. :-)

Surprisingly, I learned a great deal about dogs in the book. For example, one of the appendices lists things that are toxic to dogs, such as apples, grapes, and many other fruits. I never fed fruit to any of our dogs that I can remember, but when I was a boy, my siblings and I used to sneak our poodle a lot of "people food" under the table, without our realizing that some of our food could have been harmful to our pet.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tracie VINE VOICE on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am way too much of a softie -- as many animal lovers are. Well, I made the mistake of starting to read this book in a public place in my small town. That was a HUGE mistake. The first chapter of the book is stuffed with stories that made me cry like a crazy person. There were stories of dogs with cancer, dogs saving human lives, dogs abused. Honestly, I was so embarrassed. But the book is good and interesting, and I didn't particularly want to put it down (and it did not help that I had my 10 month old rescue puppy by my side).

Generally speaking, this book is a well written book about responsible dog ownership. The author clearly loves dogs and clearly knows a lot about quality dog training. Although I nearly put the book in the trash after she stated Purina, Royal Canin and Iams were all highly trustworthy, recommended brands of dog food. She kept praising Purina. I actually bought a bag of purina puppy chow to feed my dog when she came home from the shelter -- only so I could mix it in to transition to the high quality food I got her. I was shocked by the ingredients in Puppy Chow. This dog expert is advocating people feed their dog "Whole grain corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soybean meal, egg and chicken flavor, barley, animal digest...." Ew. The author actually lost a *lot* of credibility with me at that point. Maybe Purina is a sponsor of her Canine Assistants program and so she *has* to praise them -- I don't know. But it was very odd and very out of sync with the rest of the book.
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