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The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs Paperback – April 29, 2003
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The Other End of the Leash begins with an eloquently simple premise: "All dogs are brilliant at perceiving the slightest movement that we make, and they assume each tiny movement has meaning." With that in mind, all of Dr. Patricia McConnell's recommendations for communicating with your canine make immediate sense. Don't we all automatically bend forward when coaxing a dog to come and play? Break eye contact when we wish to avoid a confrontation? While these instinctive behaviors are right on target, a number of other habits aren't so positive, and McConnell helps us break them with both humor and common sense.
Chapters are categorized by senses such as sound, sight, and smell; specific pack behaviors such as dominance and play also merit their own sections. McConnell uses the same humor and patience she recommends with dogs on her readers. Whether she's referring to maggots as "a value-added commodity in canine economics" or ruminating on attempts to verbally cue her dogs to exit the house one at a time, her wise and gently self-deprecating book brings training--of both dogs and humans--to new levels. Jill Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
It matters greatly that people who love dogs understand enough about them to provide a good environment, writes McConnell (Feeling Outnumbered? How to Manage Your Multi-dog Household) in her thoughtful exposition on improving human-canine communication. An animal behaviorist and adjunct professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, McConnell offers sound advice for dog owners: Pay attention to your own behavior. Believe me, your dog is. Drawing on anecdotes from her professional practice (she specializes in canine behavior problems), research into the work of other dog trainers and personal experiences with her beloved Border collies, the author explains how a dog might be misinterpreting signals from its owner. For example, although humans express affection through hugs, a dog may feel threatened by them. McConnell also provides tips on how to play safely with dogs (she recommends games of fetch rather than rough-and-tumble wrestling) and how to get them to do what you want (the best way to get a dog to stop demanding attention is simply to break off visual contact). She has harsh words for trainers who tell owners to establish dominance over dogs by behaving aggressively to them when they are young, and also for owners of puppy mills. These dog factories, she says, create damaged animals and unsuitable pets. This is a helpful guide for pet owners by a specialist who clearly loves her work. B&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
After reading McConnell's book (then checking out her website and youtube videos), I can see what of our behaviors exasperated the challenges and temperament of our previous dog. I consider myself a "dog person" (grew up with golden retrievers) and non-archaic in terms of my knowledge of pets, training and K-9 behavior. Nevertheless, I was astounded at how much this book taught me. Full of digestible research made accessible through real-life stories and examples (think Malcolm Gladwell meets dog behavior enthusiast), this book gave me both practical knowledge and poignant insight into the way we consider human-dog (and human-animal) relationships. I feel so much more prepared to choose a dog, socialize it well and exercise its brain and body through clear communication in the household. I also feel more empowered to ready our daughter by talking about the nonverbal cues of dogs and how she can be a loving owner without smothering a new puppy.
I recommend picking up McConnell's The Puppy Primer, which we purchased at the same time as more of a "how to" guide to the first days at home, but DO NOT SKIP THIS BOOK. It gave so much more of the "why" behind the recommendations of the author in training and its an enjoyable read for experienced and novice dog owners alike!
For example, from her PhD research, I found out that when a dog, in training, is running away from you, you need to stop it first with one drawn-out, soothing sound like "Whooaaa". Then, to get it to return, use a series of stacatto sylables (including the cue) or claps. Great trainers, whether of dogs or horses, know this. Now I do too, as well as much more.
It's mostly about how dogs perceive and interpret human body language. I've always been a natural at reading dogs, but never gave much thought to how they read us. I learned quite a bit from it, like how dogs respond much better to subtle signals than to words, and how our mixed signals and words are frequently confusing to them. She teaches us to become consciously aware of the nonverbal signals we are sending, and start using ones the dog understands. It really works!
The writing style is quite good; it's informal and engaging, repeatedly ranging from factual to practical to humorous to emotional.
I found most of the ethological stuff about wild primates and canidae to be extraneous material in a dog book. But there's not a lot of it.
It's an enjoyable and informative read. If you love dogs and inter-species communication, you'll enjoy this book. Understanding and using more nonverbal signals will help a lot with the training and enjoyment of your dog.