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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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"Good reading for dog lovers and an immensely useful manual for dog owners."
"Vivid anecdotes and keen insights...A wonderful book...[that] exudes wisdom and passion throughout."
"Excellent...Warm and informative, [this book] teaches us to bridge some differences and to honor others."
From the Inside Flap
"The Other End of the Leash shares a revolutionary, new perspective on our relationship with dogs, focusing on "our behavior in comparison with that of dogs. An applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer with more than twenty years experience, Dr. Patricia McConnell looks at humans as just another interesting species, and muses about why we behave the way we do around our dogs, how dogs might interpret our behavior, and how to interact with our dogs in ways that bring out the best in our four-legged friends.
After all, although humans and dogs share a remarkable relationship that is unique in the animal world, we are still two entirely different species, each shaped by our individual evolutionary heritage. Quite simply, humans are primates and dogs are canids (like wolves, coyotes, and foxes). Since we each speak a different native tongue, a lot gets lost in the translation.
"The Other End of the Leash demonstrates how even the slightest changes in your voice and the way you stand can help your dog understand what you want. Once you start to think about your own behavior from the perspective of your dog, you'll understand why much of what appears to be doggy-disobedience is simply a case of miscommunication. Inside you will learn
- How to use your voice so that your dog is more likely to do what you ask.
- Why "getting dominance" over your dog is a bad idea.
- Why "rough and tumble primate play" can lead to trouble-and how to play with your dog in ways that are fun and keep him out of trouble.
- How dogs and humans share personality types-and why most dogs want to live with benevolent leaders rather than "alphawannabees!"
In her own insightful, compelling style, Patricia McConnell combines wonderful true stories about people and dogs with a new, accessible scientific perspective on how they should behave around each other. This is a book that strives to help you make the most of life with your dog, and to prevent problems that might arise in that most rewarding of relationships.
"From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
3 months ago so I need HELP! Patricia is so down to earth and tells it like it is.Read more