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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.
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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!
Just as I am fascinated about how people interact with each other, I am very curious about the unique relationship between humans and dogs. This book draw's on Dr. McConnell's background in psychology and animal behavior. I believe that her background makes her an authority on the topic of how canines and humans communicate with each other.
As other reviewers have noted, this is not a book on how to train your dog. However, I believe that this book should be a pre-requisite to dog training. It provides a foundation on WHY certain methods work and why others are ineffective. There are so many myths floating around about dog training and people love to create sound bites and quick tips out of all of the available information. Context is key.
One of the tactics discussed is how to get a dog to go the direction you want it to go. Dogs look in the direction they want to go. Humans tend to prefer to face the dog which is actually perceived by dog as encroachment of their space and typically makes the dog want to back up. While on Christmas vacation, we had a puppy that was insisting on sleeping in Mom's favorite arm chair. Instead of charging up to the dog and speaking at him when I wanted him to get off the chair, I walked up to him, turned away from him, and pointed to the floor. With my body and my hand pointing in the direction I wanted the dog to go, it was like magic! I didn't even have to use my voice to communicate my command. The family was amazed! This is just one example of how understanding what my body language means to a dog enabled me to develop a simple and effective method of communication.
I actually liked the author's personal stories about her working dogs and their different personalities. While others may feel these are irrelevant to the overall book, I think they enhance the book. In my opinion, any type of behavior analysis only benefits from more real-life examples.
Please get a copy of this book for yourself and for any dog owners you know. Understanding what you are really saying to a dog is the first step in creating effective communication which leads to a more rewarding relationship.