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How to Talk to Your Dog Paperback – February 4, 2003

3.1 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dog talk is not merely whimpers, growls, sniffs, barks, and howls. According to award-winning author Jean Craighead George, it's in the tail ("the flag of feelings") and ear twists, too. In this irresistible picture book, you'll learn how to speak to your dog in his or her own language. Sniff his nose to say hello, for example. (You don't have to lick back, even though it would please him.) While you'll never be a match for your dog in the sniffing department, you can look deeply into his eyes or you can whimper to show you care. Don't growl or bark, however. ("Although it's fun, it is not very rewarding to bark at your dog. He doesn't understand your bad accent and may twist his head and look at you in confusion.")

Sue Truesdell's splendidly doggish illustrations interact with photos of Jean Craighead George herself--a woman who has been around dogs her whole life. Dog lovers of all ages will run in circles for this loving, funny celebration of the human-canine relationship. For those who prefer cats, investigate the companion title, How to Talk to Your Cat. (Ages 7 to 107) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-An easy-to-read, conversational, humorous, and informative guide that will help young dog owners communicate with their pets. (However, the author warns, "it is not very rewarding to bark at your dog. He doesn't understand your bad accent, and may twist his head and look at you in confusion.") The illustrations depict George interacting with various cartoon canines whose expressive and varied postures, faces, and actions are irresistible in a Jules Feifferesque way. They begin with a demonstration of how to get the dog's attention and show who's the boss. (George is shown on all fours, "tail" in air, nose-to-nose with a yellow mixed-breed in the same posture.) The book then explains tail talk, facial expressions, sniffing behaviors, eye language, and sounds. The author's affectionate understanding of dogs is very apparent, and makes this book one that can be read just for pleasure by any dog lover, as well as for information by any child curious as to what certain actions may mean-or how to stop a dog from doing them. The final picture of George sitting on a park bench with dogs on and around her-goofy dogs, adoring dogs, stolid dogs, sleepy dogs-is a perfect portrayal of good communication.
Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 530 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060006234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060006235
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
While this is a fun book to look at, and addresses a badly needed topic, this book contains some misleading, questionable, potentially dangerous advice. As a person who works with dogs and children, and who spends much of my time cautioning children about keeping away from a dog's face and watching their movements and body language around dogs, both familiar and strange, I cringe at the possible results of a chid following the advice, "Sniff his nose to tell him not to be angry or confused." I would not advise an adult to do that. Waving objects over the head of a dominant dog, as suggested in the text, can also be dangerous. Dogs see children as litter mates and tend to want to correct them as they correct each other, with their teeth. I urge you to approach the ideas in this book with extreme CAUTION!
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Format: Library Binding
This book deserves _5 stars_ except for ONE THING...Jean George assumes children will realize that you cannot use these techniques with a strange dog. I wish this were true, but as a librarian, I was obligated to write my own disclaimer and glue it in the front endpapers. I adore the book (as does my 7 month old puppy!) and the skills really work (especially the kissy noises on the back of the hand), but I think Jean George kind of blew it by not telling children to NEVER EVER PUT THEIR FACES NEAR A STRANGE DOG!
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book for my daughter after we got a new puppy. I was disappointed with the content and illustrations of this book. Almost every page contains a super-imposed photo of the author (a stoutly elderly woman) working with a cartoon dog, demonstrating a training technique. One training technique suggests that a child put his/her face next to the dog's face and touch noses with the dog.

This book is a basic book written to show children what a dog's body language means and how children can communicate with their pet using their own body language.

I was disappointed in the content, potentially dangerous suggestion to put your face close to a dog's face and rub noses, and the illustrations of this children's book.
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Format: Paperback
I opened this dog from the library and couldn't believe the bad advice contained. It's like the lady went down the list of things we told the kids not to do, and said "try them for fun!!"

We have a large dog and a small dog. The play rough together chasing, and tackling, and biting. As others have said, a lot of problems occur between dogs and children because dogs will tend to see children as other dogs instead of other humans.

They attempt to play with them, and sometimes will try to dominate them as if they are other "pack mates".

If you stumble upon or god help you purchase this book. Do not let your children attempt any of the "advice" without your supervision. My advice is simply throw the book away.

It's such a shame to see children's delight with the family pet turn into fear and tears because as Jean George extremely poorly thought out book.
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Format: Hardcover
Do not put your children in danger! They will be if they follow many of the authors recommendations. Please see the review written by Julie Shaw it is right on the money. Ms. Jean Craighead George makes suggestions that if used on the wrong dog could result in a person being bitten. For canine behavior stick with books by Jean Donaldson, Karen Pryor, Ian Dunbar...not Jean Craighead George.
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Format: Paperback
Some of the advice in this book is just flabbergasting to anyone who knows anything about dog behavior. No child should ever think it's okay to get into a dog's face! That is SO dangerous! Parents be warned: Your children may not know better but to follow some of the crazy advice in this book! Don't take that chance! This book is a recipe to get bitten.
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Format: Paperback
Following the advice in this book is a recipe for disaster for children and adults alike. While understanding canine behavior is helpful for dog owners, attempting to relate to dogs as described in this book would land most owners in the emergency room. There are much better books written by authors such as Patricia McConnell about living with and training the family dog using humane, effective and safe methods. If you are a dog trainer, buy this book as a guideline what not to teach your clients.
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Format: Paperback
I am a dog trainer and also very familiar with dog behavior and body language. Jean Craighead George's advice is dangerous. No person should ever put his/her face in close proximity to any dog's face, even if it a trusted member of the family. When I dog puts its ears back and drops its tail it is saying " I am feeling worried and I need space" rather than "..You are my leader". A dog that feels worried and needs space may bite. I am horrified to think children will be given this information. Please do not read this book to your child.
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