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Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones
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Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  45 reviews
More thanninety percent of dog owners consider their pets to be members of their family. But often, despite our best intentions, we are letting our dogs down by not giving them theguidance and directionthey need.Unwanted behavior is the number-one reason dogs are relinquished to shelters and rescue groups.

The key to trainingdogs effectively isfirst tounderstand why our dog...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Community Reviews

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Cyndie
Jan 18, 2014 Cyndie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All Dog Lovers
Recommended to Cyndie by: American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
This book was all I hoped for and more.

As a veterinarian, finding training books to recommend to clients is very frustrating. Some training advice is downright dangerous (see Cesar Milan) and many books have enough significant inaccuracies to prevent me from endorsing them (an unseemly number of training books make unnecessary and potentially dangerous feeding recommendations.)

This book echoes all the current science and focuses on safe, positive reinforcement techniques, appropriately emphasiz...more
Debra Brunk
I was looking forward to reading this book once it was published - I even ordered it early. But I was disappointed. I learned a few things, but much of the book seems to be written for folks who either don't have dogs (yet) or who have dogs and have never bothered to spend much time with them. Solutions for problem behaviors seemed to fall into two groups: 1) give the dog a food toy or spend all your time with the dog, or 2) call a veterinary behaviorist. For the former, they don't address how t...more
Keely
I really felt like I got a lot out of this book being a first time dog owner. I have had family pets as a kid, but never was the primary care giver until now. I really enjoyed learning about dog behavior and have been applying a lot of the training techniques with great success. I recommend this to anyone who truly wants to understand their dogs behavior and even learn a trick or two in creating a well balanced and happy relationship with their pet. :-)
Nancy
This is an excellent book for a new dog owner or anyone considering becoming one. I enjoyed it as a thorough review of basic training and veterinary care. It applies to the vast majority of pet dogs.

However, Veterinary Behaviorists do not provide answers for people who have truly aggressive or very strong working dogs. They never advocate aversive training methods or tools for managing such dogs. There are rare times when expert use of these methods can save a dog from euthanasia. I understand...more
Stephanie
This is a good, down to earth training guide for anyone unfamiliar with dog behavior or a first time dog owner. This book was written by a team of veterinary behaviorists and offers a more scientific approach to understanding a dogs behavior and creating a desirable behavior. The chapters are organized by specific behavior, so it is easy to research the information you need to know. However, the first few chapters about dog behavior in general are very informative for everyone to read.

There were...more
Heather
This book was written by veterinary behaviorists, who understand both a dog's psychology and it's anatomy and natural behavior. These are the guys that dog trainers learn from. They are called "diplomates".

This book is filled with good tips on dealing with specific issues, like how to introduce children to dogs, and how to teach them the proper way to interact with dogs. And how to deal with fear and aggression in dogs, and even otherwise mundane but highly difficult things like how to get your...more
Denis Vukosav
“Decoding Your Dog” written by a group of authors from American College of Veterinary Behaviorists is quite a comprehensive guide for dog lovers and owners that on its 350 pages offers a variety of tips about training and caring for these beloved pet animals.

The authors have divided their book into 14 chapters which covers topics from choosing the dog that will be best match for you and vice versa, advices how to learn these smart animals everything they should know, how to train them, how to so...more
Meredith
For beginners only. This is really a series of essays from different vets and as a result you end up with an incohesive manual for dog owners. My favorite WTF was the essay on choosing the right dog. Basically, don't adopt an adult dog from a shelter unless you are sure it is a well behaved well adjusted dog. Um, no matter how well the shelter evaluates the dog you don't know 100% what you are getting! and so then what is to be done with adult dogs that don't fit this description? Listen, I thin...more
Sherrie
An excellent, down to earth book about coping with and training your dog. This is written primarily for the new dog owner, or an owner who has little expertise in training. (ie many of us) In reading the reviews, I found that the lowest ratings seemed to be from people who were expecting a more advanced approach, which I can appreciate, but this book was on my level. My only real criticism was the continual suggestion of consulting a Veterinary Behaviorist. I'm sure there are many in cities and...more
Jenny
Jan 09, 2014 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014, dogs
Decoding Your Dog offers articles from veterinary behaviorists that help dog owners choose a dog, train a dog, and diagnose problems that a dog may be having. It is clearly written, and charts present what dog owners should and should not do about various issues. A review is presented at the end of each section.

I read 2 sections: one on noise sensitivity, which affects my dog, and one on obsessive-compulsive behavior, which affects another dog I know. The most interesting take-away was that beh...more
Dereka
Did I hold the book? Yes. Did I turn the pages? Yes. Did I read here and there from various chapters? Yes. Just enough to know that we have gone wrong in just about every aspect of dog raising. This is a book for people who are contemplating getting a dog but haven't yet done so. And probably won't if they read the book carefully. We just muddled through and now have a lovely 8 year old dog who is essentially well behaved with one serious flaw. I won't say more.
Rosebud
This is a great book for someone getting a new puppy. I also liked that it discussed how to work through issues you can have with a pet. We have wonderful dog in Dakota. The one issue she has of licking her paws was even talked about in the book, and it paralleled what our vet said. I also like that this book emphasizes positive reinforcement rather than some of the more tortuous training methods a lot of people recommend.
Elizabeth Schlatter
Super helpful and well-written book about dog behavior. I'm a new dog owner and this publication explains a lot about why dogs behave certain ways and how to try to prevent or at least minimize behaviors that are unhealthy or destructive. They offer lots of behavior modification tricks but also don't shy away from prescriptive solutions -- the authors seem very keen on not letting dogs suffer unnecessarily. Also great advice on how to train with positive reinforcement and enjoy your dog. It's a...more
Margaret
A well written and illustrated common sense approach to dealing with dog behaviors: puppy socialization, leash training, separation anxiety, etc. (I didn't read chapters that aren't relevant to our puppy experience.) The authors are veterinary behavioral therapists. They eschew negative reinforcement in favor of always carrying a pocket full of dog treats. If you don't agree with that approach, you're out of luck.
Marcy Graybill
I was kind of disappointed with this book. I had good some good information, but instead o telling us their recommendations on behavior modification, they recommended to go to a Veterinary Behaviorist. Which is a fine idea, if you have one in your area (the closest one to me is a six hour drive away.)
Kat
This book explained a few behaviors I couldn't quite understand with the dogs I've owned, and gave some insight into how to better interact with my present pooch. It still didn't reveal why she sneaks on my bed and plops her 50 pounds of doggie mass on my head as soon as I fall asleep.
Francesca
A must read for any dog owner. Each chapter is written by a veterinarian behavioral scientist (who knew there was such a specialty) and they cover it all, especially how to eliminate problem behaviors with positive reinforcement rather than punishment. It explains so much about how our canine companions perceive and navigate the world of humans.
Regina Foo
Obtained this copy from NetGalley in exchange of honest review.

I got my doubts cleared in this book about tail wagging dogs. Are they in friendly state or aggressive state? The fact is that we should look at the entire dog to read their emotions.

Another doubt is, dogs in submissive stance doesn't mean they're feeling guilty (especially when they did something wrong). Often we see owners punished their dogs after the wrong-doing was happened perhaps hours ago. In this book, we're able to learn ho...more
Abby
Perfect compendium of salient dog-rearing advice from behavioral veterinarians. I'd give a copy of this to every new dog owner! The book includes essays on a range of important topics, such as house training, canine body language, separation anxiety, aggression, and so on. Would that more dog owners could read it! I am confident that the welfare of dogs in this country would improve if they could. May not be as in-depth as the deep dog nerds may want, but it's the ideal place to start for new do...more
Stephie Valencia
Jan 23, 2014 Stephie Valencia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Rich people with a lot of time on their hands.
Decoding your Dog certainly explains common dog behaviors just like the title states. It does not however, provide any substantial insight into preventing or changing the issues. This is a great book to read if you don't mind the same solution to every dog problem being to just hire a veterinary behaviorist. Turns out I don't need a book to do that, just thousands of dollars.
Cheri
This book might be useful for a novice dog owner who has never even Googled behavior training. Written by veterinary behaviorist so it seemed that the solution to too many problems was to contact a veterinary behaviorist (which simply isn't possible in many parts of the country...). I would have prefers a slightly more advanced guide from such well-trained authors.
Jess
As a first time dog owner (I've grown up with dogs but this is my first as an adult away from my parents home/inside animal), I found parts of this book to be really helpful. I think they left out some things that I would have liked them to cover. From anxiety to nail clipping, the authors really give a great explanation.
Lisa
This a great book if you are thinking about getting a dog, are getting a puppy and it will be a pure bred dog. The book is less useful if you have an older rescue dog.
Julie Edwards
Good book of info

Pretty good info for the average dog owner. Highlights many common problems and possible solutions. I will recommend this book.
Alexandra
A breath of fresh air to read a well researched and intelligent book on dog behaviour and training, in a very digestible format. Excellent read for any dog owner
Leslie Wiewel
Good read. Lots of helpful information. Being written by different authors - some chapters where more detailed and helpful than others. I love the notion of owners sifting through this book, but I question if they will do so - it is a bit cumbersome. It is a good and valuable resource
Marilyn
There are many different ways to train a dog--I don't agree with all the recommendations given in this book but learning to read a dog's body language was very helpful.
Hilary
Lots of good information, would be great for someone who doesn't know much about the topic. I really liked how terms were defined and everything was summed up at the end of each chapter. The one thing I didn't like was there was a blatant plug at the very end for a specific brand of dog food which I felt they could have left out. Instead they should have emphasized the important ingredients and nutrients in the food that made it special.
Valarie
I wish I'd had this book 12 years ago. Reading it actually caused me a lot of anguish because I now believe that my heart-dog, Sunny, suffered greatly from phobias and separation anxiety which were not treated. He was my first service dog, I was only 16 when I got him, and because he was with me so good and was so well-behaved, I didn't see the signs or know to recognize them. Sunny passed away at age 13 in October 2013. I miss him constantly. Another thing this book taught me is that Ryver, Sun...more
Zoe
This book was helpful in preparing for my new puppy, but repetitive at times. I skipped a few sections that don't apply to me (yet), but I imagine that if I experience behavioral problems with my puppy this will be a valuable resource!
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Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

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“The dangerous consequence of the dominance myth is that owners try to physically dominate their dog in an attempt to change the dog’s behavior. This “solution” is likely to cause the exact opposite of the result they want. A recent study by veterinary behaviorist Dr. Meghan Herron found that confrontational techniques are, in fact, more likely to escalate aggression, resulting in more dog bites to owners.” 0 likes
“The Biology of Animal Stress, prenatal exposure to elevated levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, can set puppies up to develop abnormal brain chemistries, specifically, an abnormal regulation in the pathway between the hypothalamus in the brain and the adrenal glands (glands that produce stress-related hormones), called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. HPA axis abnormalities can lead to anxiety, fear, and even aggression problems as adults.” 0 likes
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