Dog Books in Review

Even though there are more cats in American homes, training them is not a priority, since everyone knows they train us to do their bidding.

Dogs on the other hand are willing to be trained and for the most part actually want to know what is expected of them.

With those thoughts in mind, I have found a few books that are worth reading and if you do not want to read them, they will look very impressive on your bookshelf or coffee table.

Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor has been around for a long time (1985) and has been reprinted a time or two since.

This book was not written at first as a dog training book, its beginning was to help people understand one another’s behavior.

Dog training was a secondary thought.

However, since human behavior and dog behavior in many ways follow suit it became a leading dog training book.

This book helps you understand yourself, your cat, your neighbor, your dog and your teenager (yes, that too,) and teaches you effective ways to handle most behavioral situations.

Why is it called a dog-training book?

Simply stated, Karen Pryor teaches positive reinforcement, when trying to change behavioral patterns.

In days gone by, dog training was a forced-based procedure, it was kind of a do as I say or else method, today with the advent of clicker training, positive reinforcement is the norm.

Don’t Shoot the Dog has been said to be one of the most important turning points in showing dog lovers and trainers the importance of positive reinforcement. The author did dogs as well as humans a great service by writing this book.

I can’t promise it will improve your tennis game, but I can promise you that your family and your dog will benefit greatly from the information found in it.

The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, you the dog’s point of view of “you” from the other end of the leash.

In case you haven’t given it much thought, dogs are “body language communicators.”

They communicate with each other mostly through body language and they observe our body language, much more than our words.

To prove this point I am going to quote a line from this great book: ”All dogs are brilliant at perceiving the slightest movement that we make, and they assume that each tiny motion has meaning.”

Did you know that hugging, patting a dog on the head or kissing its nose are threatening signs to some dogs?

This book and this writer make it so simple to understand how our body language can be misinterpreted by a dog.

The Other End of the Leash helps you understand how a simple voice command given with the improper body language can create confusion in a dog’s mind.

This book helped me understand the importance of learning some hand signals for obedience training along with voice commands.

Think about how threatening we must look when standing up before our pet and lowering a raised hand to pet them.

This a very entertaining book along, with giving you insight into what your dog is seeing and why it reacts the way it does at times.

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson according to the publisher of this book “is the best dog book he has ever read.”

This book reminds, you in case you have not noticed recently, there are no “perfect dogs,” just as there are no perfect people. Dogs are just good at being dogs and nothing else.

Some of us treat our dogs as our children, some of us expect nothing short of perfection from our dog’s behavior and then there are some of us that truly realize that our dog is just that, a dog.

The Culture Clash is just that, a clash between our world and that of a dog’s.

It is a misconception to expect that a dog should adapt to our world, follow our rules and behave in a manner which we find acceptable.

The author makes it very clear and in a friendly style that we need to understand our dogs, accept them for what they are (dogs) and meet their needs, if we expect them to fit into our world.

In the Hollywood or TV world of dogs, they are depicted as being almost able to read our minds and be ready at a moments notice to do a heroic deed or two.

That is not the real world of dogs.

Another point to consider and I will admit this is my two cents that I am throwing in is “how many of us buy dogs without checking out the breed and the needs of the breed?

So many people get a dog because it is cute, is currently in vogue or because we are trying to impress someone, without any regard for the needs of that particular dog.

The Culture Clash reminds you to do a little self-examination of your behavior and with that, the possibility of having a good relationship with your pet greatly improves.

These are 3 great books, they are truly worth the time it takes to read them. Each one in its own right is a superb book and you will learn a great deal of good “stuff.”

With the Holidays coming they would make great gifts for the dog lover on your list.