Through a Dog’s Eyes

| April 12, 2013 | 0 Comments
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Through A Dog's Eyes -

Hard to resist this Golden’s eyes!

About the Author

Jennifer Arnold -

Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold is the Founder and Executive Director of Canine Assistants, located in Milton, Georgia. Founded in 1991, Canine Assistants is a non-profit organization that teaches service dogs to assist children and adults who have physical disabilities, seizure conditions, or other special needs. Jennifer first recognized the need for this program when she was 16-years-old and diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Understanding the need for physical assistance and companionship, Jennifer pursued the development of a service dog program. She also began working to enhance her knowledge of the extraordinary relationship between humans and animals and how they could best work together. She is the creator of Choice Teaching, a positive reinforcement methodology based on creating a special bond that allows dogs and their human partners to trust and understand one another.
Jennifer is the New York Times bestselling author of Through a Dog’s Eyes, published by Random House in 2010, and the subject of a PBS Special of the same name. Her second book, In a Dog’s Heart, was released to critical acclaim in October 2011. She has been featured in The New York Times, London Times, People, Mademoiselle, Family Circle, Atlanta Magazine and various other publications and has been seen on numerous television programs

Jennifer Arnold’s book, Through a Dog’s Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs by Understanding How They See the World,caught my eye after reading Trainng from a Dog’s Eye View in Retriever Life. You can ask Toni if I’m a big fan of trying to understand others’ perspectives, including that of our furry friends. If I could better understand what dogs are thinking and seeing, then I could not only take care of them better, but also train and bond with them better. I couldn’t wait to dive in!

From the beginning of the book in the Author’s Note to the end, you can tell that the Jennifer Arnold is very passionate about animals and their treatment. She’s honest and admits that she’s made training “mistakes” in the past (haven’t we all!?) but believes she’s developed teaching methods which she refers to as “Choice” that are more aligned with her beliefs and dog’s motivations.

The first chapter really pulls at your heartstrings as you read about the adversity, love, and determination that the Jennifer experiences early in life and her struggle to establish Cannine Assistants. She learned quickly what a positive impact dogs can have on people’s lives. The following chapters are a mix of real life examples and experiences accompanied by history, scientific research, or prevailing thoughts. For example, she shares how most scientists think that dogs evolved from wolves so in training them we should dominate them to be seen as the “alpha”. Then goes on to explain that there is no need to exhibit physical dominance as your dog knows you’re not a dog and already knows you’re the boss as you get to do anything you want (the definition of alpha). Other scientists believe that dogs are similar to human toddlers so suggest “training” them as you would a child of that age. Dogs are not wolves and not children so we shouldn’t treat them as such and/or expect them to behave like them. The author had a nice blend of “science” and data along with heartwarming stories. For those of you interested in the science aspects, you can view the PBS Special which premiered in April 2010.

Each chapter in the book focuses on a particular characteristic of a dog, e.g., senses, cognition, emotion, personality, language, etc. I found the chapter on senses very educational as she walks us through sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell to share how dogs are more or less sensitive than humans and why. The key thing to take away from this chapter is “Trust the dog – the dog knows”. If they are indicating that something is different or amiss, it’s likely that something is. Another fascinating chapter talked about personalities and how a dog’s personality is the most important characteristic in making a strong owner-dog bond. Their personality determines behavior which is critical to a successful relationship. Pups at eight weeks are evaluated with a personality assessment (very similar to human behavioral styles) so that Canine Assistants can encourage the best pairing of dog to new owner. However, with all the science, in the end, the dog appears to choose its person. Just like how humans choose friends and people we want to spend time with – much has to do with personalities and behavior.

I will let you discover more of the dog’s perspective when you read this enlightening and enjoyable book for yourself. I definitely enjoyed the real life stories and could read those for hours. The book does offer some training tips at the end; however, for those of us that need more hands on or visuals, I discovered there are some training videos on the Canine Assistants website that walk you through aspects of training.

I was excited to discover that the author released a new book in October 2011, In a Dog’s Heart: What Our Dogs Need, Want, and Deserve–and the Gifts We Can Expect in Return.I’ve added it to my book list and you may see a future book review from me; unless readers finish it first and want to share. We’d love to hear from you.

Category : Book Reviews


About the Author ()

Lorraine has owned Labradors for over 20 years and has bred them about half that time. A good day for Lorraine is experiencing the unbridled joy of her labs greeting her (in the morning, after work, or even after a short trip to the store), witnessing the pure happiness of her labs in the field retrieving or exploring on a hike, and snuggling with (or under) them on the couch at night. A great day is a good day (just described) plus having a litter of puppies around!

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