As you guys have probably picked up by now, I’m obsessed with reading dog training books. And I have a brand new one to share with you today!
Decoding Your Dog, which came out a couple weeks ago, was compiled by experts from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, edited by Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. John Ciribassi, with Steve Dale. The book’s tagline: “The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones.” Sounds good to me!
Early in the book, the authors wrote:
Because of our physical limitations, people will never be able to ‘speak dog’ and dogs will never be able to speak our verbal language. Therefore, we need to develop a language to help us communicate effectively with our dogs. That language is called training.
Each of the book’s 14 chapters covers a specific topic (aging, for example) in depth with the goal of helping dog people develop that common language.
I was super interested in the chapter called “Aggression Unleashed: Do Dogs Mean to be Mean?” Because Lucas is so reactive, I’m sensitive about the “aggressive” label. We know what he’s really like, irrespective of his triggers, so I always bristled when people called him “aggressive.” I wanted to know what the ACVB said about this type of behavior.
The chapter starts with a discussion about why dogs can become aggressive. In a section called “Facts, Not Fiction” they outline some of the most common misunderstandings about aggression (Should I punish aggression to nip it in the bud?) and combine studies conducted by veterinary behaviorists with super practical advice. Plus, they explain all the different types of aggression and causes from the dog’s perspective – explaining why they do what they do – with the goal of instructing the reader how to work with their dog in a way that protects and strengthens the human-canine bond.
In the aggression chapter, I loved this line:
Remember, aggression is not a training problem but rather a problem of how the dog perceives what is happening to her and how she responds to that perception.
It circled back around to that idea of a common language, and it provided realistic, science-based, practical strategies for working with an aggressive dog.
Overall, I’m enjoying Decoding Your Dog, and I’ve gotten a ton of super useful information. What I particularly liked about this book was that every piece of advice was backed up with scientific evidence.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with a dog, but I think it’s particularly important for those of us who promote positive reinforcement. Throughout the text, the authors tackle all the myths associated with outdated training theories and explain – citing scientific evidence – why a positive approach is the most effective. I love having additional, research-based information at my fingertips to promote positive training!
Have you read this yet? Are there any problem behaviors you’re interested in solving with your pup? Leave them in the comments, and I can share some insights from the text!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post through the BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network. I was given a free book and compensation; however, I only share information that I think would be valuable to you guys!