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The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
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The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  3,177 ratings  ·  343 reviews
The Other End of the Leash shares a revolutionary, new perspective on our relationship with dogs, focusing on our behavior in comparison with that of dogs. An applied animal behaviorist and dog trainer with more than twenty years experience, Dr. Patricia McConnell looks at humans as just another interesting species, and muses about why we behave the way we do around our do ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published 2002)
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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth SteinMarley and Me by John GroganA Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce CameronWhere the Red Fern Grows by Wilson RawlsThe Call of the Wild by Jack London
Great "Dog" Books
41st out of 700 books — 1,385 voters
Don't Shoot the Dog! by Karen PryorThe Other End of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnellThe Culture Clash by Jean DonaldsonBefore and After Getting Your Puppy by Ian DunbarReaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor
Clicker Training and Positive Reinforcement
2nd out of 49 books — 34 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jennifer (aka EM)
Jun 07, 2012 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog lovers, esp. Cesar Milan followers
Recommended to Jennifer (aka EM) by: Meg diNicola
This is animal behavioural science, not dog whispering, and it should be required reading for everyone who has a dog, is thinking of getting a dog, or is at all interested in dogs. It's a necessary antidote or at least counterpoint to the "wolf pack/dominance" school of dog training.

The book is structured to compare and contrast primate (including human) behaviours and their underlying meaning with canine (wolf and dog) behaviours. McConnell itemizes and then analyzes the natural behaviours that
I'd read anything she writes. She's a wonderful writer and I can never learn enough about dogs.
4 1/2 for this one..I am desperate to understand how to communicate with my dog and this book sets the stage for that. I'm a snotty academic with a Master's in Anthro. so, I also love the fact that an individual with a background in ethology is describing not only canine behavior but our own primate actions/reactions. I'll definitely be reading her other books.
Celia Powell
This was a fascinating book about the psychology of dogs, but based on a much more scientific approach than Cesar Millan's version of dog psychology. This is not so much a training manual, but part advice, part memoir, part comedy - I found the difference between a primate approach and a dog approach to things so interesting, and Patricia McConnell is a very engaging writer. I loved all her anecdotes about sheep herding. As someone who has owned a dog in the past, and hopes to do so again in the ...more
I learned a few things from the book about my interactions with my dog, but mostly, it is not a very engaging read. I couldn't finish it.

I could not get over the author's short, but frequent, quips to remind us how qualified she is to be writing about the subject at hand. OKAY, we get it! You got a PhD! Let's leave it alone now. Chances are, people already acknowledge your qualifications if they picked up your book...

The other major problem I had with this book is that it focuses too much on the
What a great book, a must for everyone with a dog in their family. McConnell explores how dogs and humans have a lot in common but are separated by our different languages. She explains how you can communicate in a way that any canine can understand, and put that to practical use with your pet.

I like her down-to-earth admissions that even the best dog-trainers sometimes repeat commands and raise their voices, even though they know it doesn't work. It's just a very natural behaviour for primates!
Mar 21, 2008 Anneliese rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who has a dog
this is one of my all time favorite books. i love the way P.M. writes, including anecdotes and then going through to explain the details of what she thinks about it. i think everyone who owns a dog should read this book.
This book came highly recommended as "readable" and "literary" (even on the back cover!). I found it to be anything but. Her use of cutesy comparisons was irritating and seemed to hide whatever useful scientific information she was meant to be presenting. Based on the reviews and my desire to have a great relationship with my dog, I slogged through until ...

The last straw was her description of a trip to southern Texas to record jockeys who spoke only Spanish. After an offensive, stereotyping de
This book is part dog training manual, part dog psychology book, part human psychology book. I learned a LOT from Patricia McConnell. She's come highly recommended by most of the dog communities I'm in and while I've had the book for some time and started it any number of times, I didn't really get around to reading it until just after the new year. If anyone wants to delve more into why YOU act the way you do around your dogs and why your dog reacts the way it does to the often unconscious (and ...more
Nov 18, 2008 Ruby rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: My dog Ruby if she had time....
This book made me wish I lived on a farm with sheep and cows that my dog could herd. I just don't know how practical that is when I have never done anything like it I wouldn't know where to begin but Locke could help me. I thought this book was very good. It made me see things from my dogs perspective. She must think I'm not very polite. This book was the beggining for me. It made me really focus on who my dog is and if she is happy. I hope so. I have found out Ruby is a social climber and a sta ...more
Feb 24, 2008 Jen is currently reading it
In progress but so far everything in this book has really helped me out with understanding how my dog thinks. I learned how to get her to be on a stay, and that's something that we have been working on for a long time! So far this is an easy to apply read and really recommend for anyone who has a dog or is thinking about becoming a dog owner.
Mar 15, 2008 Anita rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone serious about training a dog
For anyone who is serious about training their dog, this is a good book. I did not agree with McConnell's view of man, and her behavioral psychology got a little much when applied to people, but when reading for the purpose of behavioral training for dogs, it is very worth while.
It is one of the most exciting books I've ever read on dog training/behaviour. So exciting that I had to refrain myself to go further and read few pages (if not the whole title) in advance in following chapters; Or yet going backward to previous pages to find back a beautifully written description of a dog expression and check it on my dog's face. Thus it was a very enjoyable back and forth reading that I never wanted to end. When came to the end, I was relieved finding many more insights and wo ...more
The Other End of the Leash is more about communicating with dogs than how to train them. Patricia McConnell masterfully explains how as primates we are consistently unaware of the signals we are sending to our four legged friends. In our defense it isn’t willful ignorance; humans just communicate differently. Things like eye contact, shaking hands and hugging, which are signs of affection among humans, are seen as rude and aggressive to dogs. Similarly we tend to disregard things like blinking a ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It is so weird because I have read so many puppy books, but Charlie is really more dog than puppy now, and it is time i face facts! I no longer have any use on the "how-to" books, and i want a more thoughtful perspective of dog/human interaction which before, to be honest, i couldn't really understand these books until owning a dog.

In this book, the author compares the social structure of dogs as they have descended from wolves to the social structure of humans which
Aug 19, 2008 Nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dog lovers and those interested in animal behavior
Recommended to Nicole by: Sandy from HART
This book was recommended to me by the folks at HART (Homeless Animal Rescue Team). It decribes the differeces and similarities in how primates and canines communiticate and how understanding these differeces can help you train and communiticate with you dog. Each chapter starts off with an antidote from the author's personal experiance as an animal behaviorist and dog trainer followed by an explanation of what went wrong or right as the case may be. This book is well researched and some what ac ...more
Attenzione, NON è un manuale di addestramento, ma una bella lettura se si vuole provare a capire un poco meglio il proprio compagno canino e cercare di convivere con lui nella maniera migliore possibile.

L'autrice è una etologa e ci sono molti riferimenti a testi di altri etologi, primatologi in primis, dato che il libro tende a confrontare il comportamento dei primati con quello dei canidi per farci capire dove sbagliamo e dove potremmo migliorare come umani di un cane, piuttosto che fornire una
I had been struggling with the idea of "training " my golden retriever puppy. I had been reading everything in sight because I wanted to do the "right" thing and in the process have a well behaved dog. It came as a surprise to me that , as educated as I thought I was becoming , problems still snuck in. Ms. McConnel's book completely changed my way of thinking . I now relish the challenge of trying to communicate in a very loving but firm way with my dog. ....just like I would with my children . ...more
Dec 29, 2008 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: dog owners, dog lovers
Written by an applied behaviorist, this book compares and contrasts primate and canine behavior and psychology to give dog owners a little more insight into their companion's behavior. McConnell interweaves carefully referenced scientific studies and engaging anecdotes from her own extensive experience working with dogs (and their owners) to give readers a solid sense of the current state of the field of canine ethology. Extensive references are listed in the back and there are footnotes through ...more
I got this after some trying experiences with my adolescent pooch. I'm a few chapters in and already I feel much more able to communicate effectively with her. We've been working this week on coming when called, and have seen a big difference. She discusses the role of body language in communicating with dogs. Last night as usual Kaia was trying to sniff my dinner plate, while I was sitting on the floor, and I just leaned forward a little bit towards her to assert my dominance and she turned awa ...more
Reading this book will change the way you interact with dogs, and for the better.

We have a ~2 year old pit corso, Ramona, who was sometimes slow to respond to our input, though it was clear that she wanted to please. After modifying my behavior around her based on McConnell's advice, Ramona's response is near instantaneous, cheerful, and confident.

Note that I started, and finished, this book yesterday and am already speaking in the past tense regarding results. Basically, I started with my chan
Jul 23, 2012 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: dogs
A book full of useful insights and advice about how dogs think differently than humans. In particular, McConnell points out how humans like ventral-ventral contact (hugging, kissing, looking into the eyes) as a form of connection, but dogs do not. And so, for instance, if you want to get a dog to come to you, rather than directly facing it and looming towards it, you want to gesture so it can come by your side.

Clearly written, if a bit repetitious at points.
As a lifelong dog lover, and one who just lost the best canine friend I have ever had after 7 1/2 years of companionship and mutual love and respect, I found myself reading this in preparation for choosing another canine companion. What I found in reading this was a greater understanding of the human/canine relationship. I also found that it reinforced my constant assurance of my wonderful Labrador that she was the absolute best dog in the world. She was truly exceptional and is irreplaceable. I ...more
Sep 07, 2010 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: dogs
Another great dog book. McConnell offered very specific suggestions that we can follow (if we take the time) - along with stories from her work with many dogs and animal behavior research. She also reiterated what many others say (e.g. dogs don't speak English), but accompanied that with clear ideas for what steps you can take as a loving dog owner.
Shannon Weynand
Much more than a book about the science of dog behavior, this is a book about a woman who loves dogs with pure intention and unbridled passion. Patricia Mconnell's concern for the general welfare of dogs is an inspiration and a refreshing lesson to equip dog owners in rebutting dominance advocates.
Valuable, different perspective on the human-dog relationship. McConnell is extremely knowledgable about dogs and maintains a curiosity and engagement throughout the book. There are practical tips and fun stories, along with exploration of this interspecies relationship. A lot of confusion between dogs and humans—that most of us, myself included for sure—don't even realize as something confusing (just that the dog isn't doing what I want) stems from how primates communicate and how canines commu ...more
Lisa Jenn
This highly readable book helps dog lovers understand their canine companions from a scientific and evolutionary standpoint. Using plenty of anecdotes as well as formal data, it compares and contrasts dog/canid psychology and social structure with that of humans/primates. Although it's not a training manual, McConnell does present several strategies for better communicating with and interacting with your dog. These strategies aren't intuitive because of the fundamental differences between dogs a ...more
Brian Ross
Thanks to Janine for posting this one on Goodreads!

Loved it - fascinating perspective on our relationships with dogs.
Great mix of research with personal anecdote. The author places human behavior in context with other mammals, and especially primates, using this to do a compare/contrast with dog behavior and development.

The result is great learning about both species, and helps make sense of how and why our inter-species relationships do and sometimes don't work. But I especially like her sympa
Aug 18, 2011 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I find that dog literature is a difficult section of the library or bookstore to navigate. Much like parenting, the gamut has been covered for every style of selecting, raising, training, rehabilitating, and understanding our canine friends. Oftentimes, in my experience, I find that much of the literature is dumbed down to "Learning 101"and while I can appreciate the information presented in a syntax that is accessible, I don't enjoy reading on the levels of an 8th grader when I'm looking for re ...more
L'autrice è una biologa, studia le interazioni tra i primati, e fa la consulente comportamentalista nelle relazioni umani-cani. Cos'è un comportamentalista? E' una persona che aiuta a capire il perché gli animali si comportano in un certo modo, ad esempio perché i cani non sempre obbediscono.
Grazie al suo lavoro, la Mcconnel ha collezionato una serie di piccoli aneddotti che utilizza per esemplificare al meglio le difficoltà di comunicazione tra cani e umani, dovuti soprattutto al fatto che spes
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Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, (CAAB) has made a lifelong commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals. She is known worldwide as an expert on canine and feline behavior and dog training, and for her engaging and knowledgeable dog training books, DVDs and seminars. Patricia has seen clients for serious behavioral problems since 1988, and i ...more
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“Humankind is drawn to dogs because they are so like ourselves—bumbling, affectionate, confused, easily disappointed, eager to be amused, grateful for kindness and the least attention.” 6 likes
“I drove my Border Collies crazy for a few weeks trying to teach them to wait at the door as a group and then go outside one at a time. Each dog could go out the door after I said his or her name, followed by the word OK. As soon as I said “OK,” not surprisingly, all the dogs would get up and move forward, no matter whose name preceded it. I knew it would be hard for them, since they had all learned as individuals that “OK” meant “Go ahead and do what you want.” But I thought that if I were clear and patient, they would learn to move only if they heard “OK” after their own name. After a couple of weeks, I was frustrated and my dogs were confused. Pip was so distressed that she started to stress-whine. Pip gets the connection between a sound and an action faster than any dog I’ve ever had, but she never could figure out that “OK” only related to her if her name preceded it. She’d sit waiting at the door, I’d say “Luke, OK,” and she’d start to move forward and backward, clearly unsure of how to proceed, searching my face for clues until she began to look stressed when I moved toward the door. She practically wrapped her paws over her ears.” 0 likes
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