Top positive review
645 of 654 people found this helpful
Helps you to communicate much better with your dog!
on November 6, 2000
This is a simple little book. It's cheap and doesn't look like much, but the content can revolutionize your communication with your dog. It's about dog language, but not about the "big" wolf postures of dominance or submission that many of us already know about. This book is about the wide range of subtle signals (about 28, I think) that dogs use to communicate "please calm down" towards other dogs - or their owners. Because owners stress their dogs a lot, unintentionally. Like when we practice obedience exercises. In the middle of training, the dog starts looking away, yawning or sniffing the grass! Bored? Stubborn? Dominant? No, it's probably sending you signals to ask you to calm down!
I attended a weekend seminar with Turid Rugaas last year which opened my eyes and I know that this works. Since then, and also since looking at video recordings from dog meetings, I now understand that dogs "talk" all the time. When meeting us or another dog, every single move or glance can carry a meaning. The other dog understands, if he has been allowed to "practice" dog language in lots of meetings with other dogs, but we, the humans, the supposed alphas, don't understand. Instead we try to teach the dog OUR verbal language. How frustrating for the dog! Shouldn't we first learn the dog's language?
This is a book that makes you understand that dog language is so much more than where the tail or the ears are. It's about signals that our own pets send to us daily. With this book we can start looking at our own dog and see much, much more than we saw before. We will actually start to understand what our dog tells us. And, even more thrilling, we can use the dog's language ourselves and be understood by the dog! We can use the same calming signals to help the dog for example in a stressful situation.
There is a cultural diffence between the European look on dog training and the American look. In America there is much focus on teaching a dog through reinforcing behaviors, like operant conditioning. Clicker training is very good, and I'm all for it. But when "Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson came, it was considered to be a revolution, because some Americans had actually forgotten that dogs are dogs, with dogs' needs and drives and motivations!
In Europe, we've always been interested in dog behavior. Konrad Lorenz is a good example. Swedish "dog psychologist" Anders Hallgren wrote about a dog's calming signals more than ten years ago, inspired by Ms Rugaas. Unfortunately his books are not spred in the US. Turid is Norwegian and also represents the European way: to look at the dog as a dog and try to understand how it thinks and feels and acts in a pack. So therefore I think that this is a very good book for every single dog owner, but especially (no offense) for American clicker-trainers. This book will make them even better trainers, because it will probably give them an important missing piece in the training puzzle.
I think I can make a promise: If you read this book and use it, you'll never be able to look at a dog again the way you did before. It's a simple little book, but, at best, it's breath-taking!