Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: El Dorado County, CA
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Books on dogs: what I'm reading (lengthy)
With the addition of Bella to our home, I find I have three very different animals to look after, live with, train, etc. and I need to learn how to manage the new dynamics. I have contacted a behaviorist/trainer who I'm hoping will come to our house to help me out, but thought I'd kick-start my learning with some good quality dog literature.
Today I read "On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas. It's very short (that's how I read it in one sitting! LOL) but has a lot of meaty information in it about how dogs communicate with each other and us, and how we can communicate with them. Two things I learned... 1. One of a dog's signals to another dog that he means no harm is to curve away from the other dog and not approach straight on. So when we leash walk our dogs and head straight at another person with a dog, we are forcing our dogs to be rude to each other, and perhaps come off as aggressive. If there's room to do so, better to step aside and make the on-coming dog feel as though you are curving away a bit. 2. Yawning is a big way dogs telegraph/communicate calm--they do it in response to stress, to defuse a situation and communicate that things are OK. The author used yawning and stretching out while not making eye contact to help a dog overcome its fear of trains passing by its house. The dog picked up on her body language and that of its owners (coached by the trainer) and within a few weeks was calm and OK when the trains passed by. I think this would be a wonderful technique to use with dogs that are phobic about fireworks or thunder.
At any rate, a worthwhile read. Next up: "The Cautious Canine" by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD.