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Through a Dog's Eyes: Understanding Our Dogs by Understanding How They See the World

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,021 ratings  ·  122 reviews
A stirring, inspiring book with the power to change the way we understand and communicate with our dogs.

Few people are more qualified to speak about the abilities and potential of dogs than Jennifer Arnold, who for the past twenty years has trained service dogs for people with physical disabilities and special needs. Arnold has developed a unique understanding of dogs' cap...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Spiegel & Grau (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,292)
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Jean Gill
What a treasure for a dog-lover! A rich mix of anecdotes, teaching suggestions and thoughts on current research, based on twenty years' experience training golden retrievers and labradors as companions for people with special needs.

The opening chapter describes Jennifer Arnold's personal circumstances and the background to her life's work as founder of Canine Assistants, one of the USA's largest canine service associations. This personal context is the basis of the whole book and I found the aut...more
This is a fantastic book - I'm a veterinarian with a special interest in behavior, and on an almost daily basis I find I have to battle against information that trainers such as Cesar Milan employ - dominance methods do NOT help in the vast majority of cases, and can often make many problems worse. Yes, he does say some common sense things that make sense (such as the importance of exercising your pets), but many of his methods are based on old research of wolf packs that were artificially forme...more
If you own or are planning on getting a dog, or if you just want to learn quite a lot about this familiar species in an entertaining and emotionally charged set of stories, you must read this book. It has great advice for training, and in particular training that doesn't involve excessive shame or rely on physical violence. But even if you have no dogs or already have well-trained dogs, there are the stories of dogs and the invaluable impact they have had on the lives of the humans who knew and...more
My rating - 2 1/2 stars

The good: The book is by an experienced trainer, espouses the current thinking in dog training using positive reinforcements as advocated by experts, debunks the BS that is dog whisperers false ideas on alpha dog and dominance, and gives a lot of great insight for regular dog owners.

The bad: mixing and matching references to research without recognizing which is good science and which is bunk. The chapter on ESP - really??? That inclusion of this chapter could make some re...more
Jan 10, 2012 Ratforce added it
Shelves: nonfiction, dogs
For a unique perspective on dog training, try Through a Dog’s Eyes. It is written by Jennifer Arnold, who has a long history of training assistance dogs and is based on a show that Arnold filmed through PBS. She wrote this book as a direct challenge to current dog training styles that emphasize dominance and fear and instead calls for training methods that are focused on mutual respect and understanding of a dog’s mental and physical abilities. It is part memoir, part non-profit operation manual...more
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
‘Our dogs never grow past the point of seeing us as their universe. Is it any wonder we adore them?’

We have had our dog for just about two years now, and she is our first dog. Although I write this review myself, I say ‘we’ because she is certainly a member of the family - she is my dog and my husband’s, (and also very fond of my in-laws too!) We have been through puppy training with her, and gone to a beginner’s training class too, and have learned many useful tips along the way. There are alwa...more
"We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment." Jennifer Arnold provided a wealth of information that really helped me see my dog in a different light. As she notes, so much of what dogs do is about soliciting information, and the habits and quirks my own dog exhibits are attempts to interact with me to get more information about a particular situation. For example, my dog will sometimes bark excessively, though he...more
Dec 26, 2013 Angie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog lovers
Recommended to Angie by: myself
Shelves: audio-book
Jennifer Arnold is clear, concise, and very organized in her in-depth research of dogs and the reasons for their behavior. Yes, I sobbed at different parts that I found utterly endearing or heartbreaking, and laughed at others, and came to appreciate my own dogs so much more than I've ever done before.

I also got the answer I've been searching for in my frustrated relationship with dogs as a cat person. No, I don't have to shout to get my dogs to cooperate. No, I don't have to get mad at how unru...more
I really enjoyed reading this book, from the human tragedy of the first chapter to the very succinct guidance on specific dog cues (as she calls 'commands') at the back.

I do sense a real desperation amongst many authors of books on dog psychology and behaviour who fundamentally want to scream at the public "PLEASE, please, please don't do what Cesar Milan does" but you don't sell more product than he does that way. There was a little of that here.

It's also quite a mishmash of 'how dogs and peopl...more
This was a really thought-provoking and magnificent book that opened my eyes even more to the magical and intriguing world of dogs. As I am about to become a veterinarian (currently in University), this book played a significant role to my academic career as it taught me that dogs are far more intelligent and sentimental than the majority of people think they do.
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars and I strongly recommend it to people who already own dogs, but even more to those who don't. Most animals -b...more
I loved this book because I was able to learn more about the amazing world of dogs. I have had three dogs and I know for a fact that each dog had a different personality so this book supports my feelings that dogs have personalities and feelings just like people only they are more sensitive and much smarter than we give them credit for. I have learned to pay attention to my dogs when they raise an alarm and I work harder with the dog we have now to try and understand her and communicate better w...more
Sep 15, 2010 Janet rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: pets
Dogs are bright, loving splended creatures who deserve to be adored for exactly who and what they are--dogs. This book highlights their traits and the fact that we as their people have the responsibility for their well being. They in turn, will see to ours. As George Eliot said, "We long for an affection all together ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment."
Karen Sather
I'm loving this one! It makes me think about (and love) my dog more. Did you know that a happy dog wags more on the right side of it's body, and if it's scared or agitated it's tail wags more to the left? Just a tidbit from the book. This was written by the founder of Canine Companions who train assistance dogs and their owners. Remarkable creatures. I recommend this to all dog lovers.
I picked this book... okay I picked this book cause I liked the cover (I'm a graphic designer sometimes I have a hard time avoiding the whole "don't judge a book by it's cover) ALSO, I will have a fur baby in about 5 weeks. It has been 15 years since I have had a puppy and 5 years since "my baby" (as I called her) passed away. I am nervous about getting a dog, I've never been great at training my puppies, because my 12 yr old self just didn't have the patient and handwork attitude that I feel I...more
Written by someone who trains dogs to do what their people cannot. Focused on positive training, this beautiful book about how dogs view the world around them and how we can build trusting, teaching partnerships with them that enable them to do some pretty astounding problem solving.
Mary M
Sweet book by a woman who has trained service dogs for 20 years. At first I was worried it wouldn't give me the goods (i.e., how to train my own new-to-me beagles), but in the end it did. Great insights, touching stories.
Every dog owner should read this book! Gives great insight into the minds of our dogs, and has lots of great training tips on teaching new behaviors!
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
‘Our dogs never grow past the point of seeing us as their universe. Is it any wonder we adore them?’

We have had our dog for just about two years now, and she is our first dog. Although I write this review myself, I say ‘we’ because she is certainly a member of the family - she is my dog and my husband’s, (and also very fond of my in-laws too!) We have been through puppy training with her, and gone to a beginner’s training class too, and have learned many useful tips along the way. There are alwa...more
First Line: "Early one cool September morning when I was sixteen years old, I jumped out of my bed, headed for the bathroom."

I admire the author for taking several difficult live events and allowing them to inspire her to create a very worthwhile organization. She runs a non-profit that provides service dogs to people with a variety of emotional, mental, and physical disabilities. She wrote this book as a direct challenge to current dog training styles that emphasize dominance and fear. She does...more
First I have the utmost respect for this author and her organization. However, this book was not what I expected and for that, an extreme disappointment to me. This author has so much more to give the reader with her experiences that she did not need to spend most of the book quoting research and providing scientific evidence (although interesting and insightful, I bought the book to read about her organization and training experiences and stories). In addition, I really felt with all the resear...more
I've been a dog trainer for many years, generally using lupomorphic methods based on some apparently flawed concepts of wolf pack psychology. "Through a Dog's Eyes" takes a different look at the way dogs and humans connect, and about the emotion-based behavior of our canine friends.

Jennifer Arnold, founder of Canine Assistants (a service dog organization), talks about the dogs in her life, the triumphs and the mistakes she made in teaching dogs to work with those in need of a service animal, and...more
Cody Brockel
What a great book for dog lovers! Jennifer Arnold has quite a bit of experience with the canine species, and her insights are wonderful. Not only is the book very informative as a peek into the psychology and behavior of our furry friends, but the appendix actually has instructions for training as well. And what a bonus that is, coming from someone who has made a career out of loving and training dogs. This is one of those books that I think all dog lovers should pick up. It is a very easy read...more
Bad news first: the publisher probably should have hired an audiobook reader. Arnold has a nice quality to her voice, but the enunciation and delivery grated on occasion--lots of rises and falls, losing the place in the middle of the sentence, and pronounced "integral" as "intrickle," although these are petty issues. The content so far is rather interesting, but I could have skipped the bits about telepathy and ESP. I love her commitment to gentle and positive methods, and her firm belief in the...more
I was able to read the book in it's entirety with an open mind and heart to see our canine companions through a different set of eyes.

While not all the information is globally verified it was certainly worth the read and consideration that a dog actually does think and given choices can make decisions accompanied by proper training.

Jennifer Arnold, founder of the not-for-profit Canine Assistants, shares her passion for her fellow human being in need and coupled it with her passion for our canin...more
My favorite read of 2010. Great book about dogs and wonderful stories of how they help those who need "Canine Assistants". Jennifer Arnold offers some science with her personal insight from years of training all kinds of dogs the most complex tasks. The book is really a very interesting autobiography sharing her life's work. She is a fascinating person. I found the anecdotal stories inspiring and uplifting. Interestingly enough more and more scientific studies are proving that dogs DO have feeli...more
Some may read this book and think Jennifer Arnold's ideas about dogs having emotions is simply crazy. Those of us who love them, know that dogs feel very deeply and only want our love...and to be fed. Ms. Arnold does a great job of using examples from her life and the lives of those around her to argue her beliefs. I'll warn you, I made it through Soldier Dogs with a couple sniffles. I was practically sobbing during the first cd. This book is NOT for the weak of heart; however, for those who bel...more
I didn’t think a book about dogs could be so infuriating. The ultimate problem with this book is that she presents good science along with utter crap and treats them equally as long as they coincide with what she believes anyway. Do dogs understand the concept of fairness, or do they stop responding when you stop rewarding them? Do dogs have ESP, or are they just really well attuned to small signals (especially after tons of dedicated training)? I’m going to be using examples from this book in m...more
Melissa Sodano
This book was so much fun! It approaches dogs through a psychological point-of-view, explaining dog's behaviors based on their minds. As a dog-lover, I found it absolutely fascinating, and it really made sense out of some of the peculiar things we see dogs do, as individuals and as a species. For those of you who are into the personality-type indicator, the Enneagram, you'll be fascinated to know that a similar personality-type organization exists for dogs. There are anecdotes about dogs that wi...more
Jennifer Arnold so correctly states: "It is all incredibly simple if we just take responsibility for being the 'smarter' species and stop expecting our dogs to behave in ways that are beyond their abilities." She displays an in-depth understanding of, and love for, dogs in Through a Dog's Eyes; I highly recommend this book for anyone with dogs in their life. My only complaint about this book is that several times studies were mentioned, but no sources cited. I realize she didn't set out to make...more
Amy Smith
At first I was a little disappointed with the book, but I felt that it improved as it went along. I could tell that writing is not her primary profession. Her stories and anecdotes were the strongest parts of the book. I was interested by the research and factual information she covered, bit I felt like it has been done much better by others. Often I felt like I was reading a book report she had written and was left wanting more information, more in depth explanation, and more citation. But agai...more
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