How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication

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9780743202978: How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication
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One of the most famous and beloved experts in dog psychology shows us how to communicate with our canine companions. This is the only book to show us what dogs are trying to tell us, not just how we can control them.

Parlez-vous Doggish?

At long last, dogs will know just how smart their owners can be. By unlocking the secrets of the hidden language of dogs, psychologist Stanley Coren allows us into the doggy dialogue, or “Doggish,” and makes effective communication a reality.

Drawing on substantial research in animal behavior, evolutionary biology, and years of personal experience, Coren demonstrates that the average house dog can understand language at about the level of a two-year-old human. While actual conversation of the sort Lassie seemed capable of in Hollywood mythmaking remains forever out of reach, Coren shows us that a great deal of real communication is possible beyond the giving and obeying of commands.

How to Speak Dog not only provides the sounds, words, actions, and movements with which we can effectively communicate with our dogs, but also deciphers the signs that our dogs give to us. With easy-to-follow tips on how humans can mimic the language dogs use to talk with one another, original drawings illustrating the subtleties of their body language, and a handy visual glossary and “Doggish” phrasebook, How to Speak Dog gives dog lovers the skills they need to improve their relationships with their pets.

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An invaluable language manual for people who need to communicate with dogs, How to Speak Dog is far more than a simple training guide. Author Stanley Coren discusses at length the evolution of language in many species, and focuses as much on body language as he does on verbal communication. This is a man with his own theories on language development--when disagreeing with Chomsky or Darwin, he backs up his arguments with plenty of thorough, firsthand experience.

Separate chapters devoted exclusively to interpreting the movement of tails, ears, and bodies are fascinating, and can often provide surprisingly quick insight into canine behavior. There's a tremendous difference between showing affection and showing dominance, and humans have a strong tendency to misread our dogs' behavior and reward them in exactly the right way to ensure the continuation of frustrating behavior. Coren maintains that dogs can often learn far more words than we give them credit for--certainly, we've all seen pooches go bananas at the words walk and cookie, but he also suggests we watch for learned behaviors from certain words. Perhaps office gets your spaniel waiting by the door, or baby results in your terrier checking in on your child's location--you may just think it's cute, but actually, it's a sign of your dog's linguistic ability.

Whether you own a dog or two or work in the field of animal care, this manual will be a most informative read and is sure to have a positive effect on the relationship between you and man's best friend. --Jill Lightner

About the Author:

Stanley Coren an international authority on sidedness, is professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Born to Bark: My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog (2010), among other books.

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