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

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,362 Ratings  ·  137 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
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Spiegel & Grau (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Jean Gill
Mar 05, 2012 Jean Gill rated it it was amazing
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
May 18, 2013 Stacey rated it it was ok
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
Nov 29, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: vet-med-animals
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
May 13, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 22, 2011 Ingrid rated it really liked it
"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 it was amazing  ·  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
Nov 18, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2013 Antonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephanie McGarrah
Oct 26, 2015 Stephanie McGarrah rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, woof
Well, it starts with a Gandhi quote so I almost didn't get past the first page, but I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I'm not reading this book for its crappy philosophy on human life. I live with dogs and have been looking forward to adopting one soon, so I'm trying to learn more about them, how they interact with us weird ass humans and how I can communicate with them better. I appreciated the stories about training service dogs and the chapter on dogs and ESP, but it just wasn't v ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Leslie rated it liked it
A gentler way of teaching our dogs to be helpers and good companions. I am interested in the subject lately because I want to work with my Australian Shepherd as a service dog for me, since I'm losing the high range of my hearing. This book has some interesting theories about how dogs process learning and about how humans and dogs have interacted for thousands of years. I was already applying many of her strategies because of my dog's behavior but I picked up some interesting tips, especially wi ...more
Apr 21, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
When we got our older dogs many years ago, I read every single book I could get my hands on about how to train a dog. And every single one had a different strategy that contradicted all the others. Because of that, and the fact that many of them had a basis in the "Dog Whisperer" brand of dominance theory, I feel like I seriously screwed up my dogs.

Now I have two new puppies coming in the next couple of months and while I feel more experienced since those early years, I want to give them the ca
Eric Moote
Apr 12, 2015 Eric Moote rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Overall: great insights into the mind and heart of a dog, which can open the door for a better relationship between you and your best friend.

I picked up this book because I wanted to know about some physical characteristics about dogs (eye sight, hearing, etc). And although those topics are covered in the book, the far more interesting topics were personality, reasons for behaviors and insights to the dog's mind through first hand testimonies. The personality break down was hilarious because I
Apr 01, 2016 Sienna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
I've read a lot of dog books. I always learn something but this is one of the best ones I've read. It really opened my eyes (which were already pretty open) to how much humans & dogs can communicate & do depend upon one another. I love the idea that we have been developing together as species for thousands of years. How intriguing to think that we may even owe our ability to put so much of our brain into language because dogs have senses like smell & hearing more than covered.

It brea
Feb 10, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing
This is the dog book I have been waiting for!!! For years we've been taught we have to dominate our dogs and I never understood why. Finally we have an author who has years of experience working with and researching dogs who tells us we don't have to! this is an emotional journey. Dogs do indeed have emotions and deserve the proper treatment and respect. She doesn't just tell us that this is the way to work with a dog but explains WHY it should be done and how important it is. It feels like such ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Bana rated it it was ok
I suppose it's a good cursory look at canine psychology, but there are other more in-depth reads that I've found more helpful. One thing that bothered me throughout was the fact that "special" behaviors - like aggression - were tacitly mentioned and in a few cases, resulted in euthanasia due to owner ignorance (like the time she was bitten by a dog who she later learned was put down for his aggression). To the author's credit, she puts the blame squarely on the owners' shoulders, but there wasn' ...more
Sep 08, 2014 Jackie rated it it was amazing
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
Karen & Gerard
Mar 20, 2012 Karen & Gerard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, animals
What a wonderful book this is! Jennifer is the founder and Executive Director of Canine Assistants, a service dog school. She knows dogs and shares great stories about great people and their dogs. You will find out why dogs have wet noses--bet you don't know! I loved this book! "A good dog is a tired dog!" So, go out there and walk your dog and especially, love your dog--they love us!
(Gerard's review)
Sep 15, 2010 Janet rated it really liked it
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."
Nov 22, 2010 Jill rated it it was amazing
purchased this book after hearing Jennifer Arnold talking about her work and the book on an NPR program. I am so glad that I did! Every person who has dogs or plans on having a dog needs to read this book. Jennifer Arnold made so many points about dogs that I never would have thought of or learned elsewhere. The back of the book has a lot of great tips on training your pups. It is a keeper on my perma-bookshelf.
Karen Sather
Sep 28, 2011 Karen Sather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 08, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it
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
Oct 02, 2014 Cyndie rated it liked it
Shelves: animal-vet-books
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
Jan 07, 2012 Mary M rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 21, 2010 Margo rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 10, 2016 Mommooshka rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable read and very informative about dogs, physically, behaviorally, and emotionally. It was a nice blend of personal anecdotes, scientific studies, and physical facts about dogs. Highly recommend for all dog owners as well as those who love all animals.

The author's non-profit organization Canine Assistants, where they train and match assistance dogs to kids and adults with disabilities needing assistance was fascinating and inspiring. A very worthy organization for anyone looking to m
Jun 12, 2011 Jessi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Sep 09, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok
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
Oct 05, 2010 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animal-rescue, dogs
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
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