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For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend Hardcover – August 29, 2006
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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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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 Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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I think we all know the face of a dog that is ready to attack but can you tell the difference in one that is mad or scared. The pictures in this book really show the difference. Do you know what a happy or sad dog looks like well again these pictures show you how to see your dog in a new way. Wouldn't it be great if we could understand our animals better? This book is really worth reading if that is something you want to do.
I know after reading this book I am more concerned about how I look to my dog. As Miss McConnell speaks about how our dogs spend a great amount of time watching us because they are better students of reading expressions on faces than we will ever be.
I am working on training a young dog and have had trouble with recall or come sometime. Miss McConnell, said that facing a dog straight on is a signal in the dog society to stand still and for us to turn slightly side way and to smile or open mouth slightly and call them. WOW what a difference. The dog bounded to me every time I did this.
There a more hints on how to understand your dog and a great story of McConnell's life on her sheep ranch and in her practice that make this an interesting read.
It's a very complicated matter and I think Patricia does pretty well getting into it. In the beginning, she presents both sides of the issue. In fact, for me, the first 30 pages were tough to get through because one is made to visit all the arguments among various scientists over the years. Eventually, she launches fully into making (I think) a solid case that they do have emotions. The writing style is captivating and thought-provoking. At the end of the book, she opens the question back up, not whether dogs have thoughts and emotions, but to what degree are they similar or not to our own. And you as the reader are invited to arrive at some of your own conclusions.
If you're the kind of person that loves dog documentaries for both their science and pure cuteness, I think you'd find this book quite fascinating and informative. And you just might look at your pooch and other canines in the neighborhood in a whole new light!
This woman is so wise in the ways of dogs. Without becoming anthropomorphic (you'll get the reference shortly after you start reading), McConnell shows and tells you what facial and body expressions different dogs are telegraphing and what these signs usually mean they will do next.
Every dog lover needs to read this book.
This book contains tons of information on new research in animal behavior and neuroscience. I think the most important take-home is that to solve behavioral problems in dogs, you first have to identify the emotions behind the behavior. Is it fear, anger, or frustration? Much aggression in dogs, contrary to common belief, is actually driven by fear. Peeing on the carpet? Also likely due to fear (separation anxiety, for example). Punishing the dog is not going to rid your dogs of the fear; moreover it's going to increase fear: making the dog fear you. I think a loving, successful relationship is not about the dog obeys you absolutely; it should fulfill both parties of the relationship.
The book incorporated face reading from Paul Ekman's research. It's striking how similar facial expressions are in people and dogs. And given misunderstanding happens all the time in our species (remember times when you look bored and the other just kept talking?), it is granted that dogs are misunderstood everyday everywhere. The cost, though, could be deadly. Hundreds of thousands of dogs are put down every year, often due to biting. Occasionally people die tragically from dog attacks. Lots of these attacks could be avoided if people are aware of the emotional states of dogs from reading their faces and bodies. I just watched a Youtube video of a German Shepherd biting a reporter on the face because he was looming over the dog and trying to pet it all the while the dog felt threatened and looked uneasy.
For the love of dogs, I hope more people (dog owners or not) understand the thinking of dogs. To understand dogs is also to understand our evolutionary heritage, our "primitive" parts of the brain, and how to be more patient and sympathetic with the whole world.
The book is very moving, I could relate so much to Patricia's descriptions of our love to our dogs. I thoroughly enjoyed every page! Thank you!
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For the Love of a Dog was an amazing and eye-opening read.Read more