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The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In The Dog Listener Jan Fennell shares her revolutionary insight into the canine world and its instinctive language that has enabled her to bring even the most delinquent of dogs to heel. This easy-to-follow guide draws on Jan's countless case histories of problem dogs—from biters and barkers to bicycle chasers—to show how you can bridge the language barrier that separates ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 20th 2004 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2001)
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3.87  · 
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 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dogs
Things I like about this book: Use of positive and dog friendly methods instead of intimidation or physically hurting the dog. The things described in the book are basic polite dog behaviour things.

Things I don't like about this book: Fennel concentrates way too much on dominance. Dominance theory has been disproven with later studies of wolves and feral groups of dogs. There is no strict or unchanging social hierarchy between them. The things Fennel describes in amichien bonding do work, but fo
Last year I adopted a little sheepdog from a shelter, and he's one of the most caring and clever creatures I've ever met. He's given me hope and unconditional love when I've needed it the most. However, he came with considerable baggage from his puppyhood: the early months spent neglected and possibly abused, followed by being shunted between different shelters, didn't make for a very optimistic or trusting outlook on life. Things that I had taken for granted with dogs that I'd had previously - ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I loaned this book to a friend with dog troubles. She gave it back to me explaining that she couldn't finish it. The book was just too large. She was just too busy to process it all.

This is ironic as Fennel's methods easily blend into ordinary daily person <-> dog interactions and are very simple.

The problem is that the book is 4 times larger than it needs to be. Her methods could have been explained in about 50 - 100 pages with plenty of room left over for some illustrative anecdotal acco
I recommend this book to dog owners all the time. If you want to simply and effectively understand how your dog thinks and how to fit that knowledge into your expectations of dog as pet, then read this book. It will show you how to help your dog 'be good' and unburden your dog from having to be what your signals would otherwise likely make him/her - top dog... a role a dog in a human environment simply can't handle, and one we humans simply don't want!
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Part memoir with numerous case studies from her practice as a dog trainer and part training guide, this book provides the basis for Fennell's Amichien training. I loved it.
Y.K. Willemse
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Practical and extremely helpful.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs
I first read this book back in 2001, when the original came out. (Such was my infatuation with dogs, that I would read a dog training books when I didn't have any of my own.) I loved it, and recommended it to everyone I knew who'd gotten dogs. (There is a chance that I earned a "pushy" label during that time.)

Ten years later (two months ago), I adopted two dogs from our local shelter and immediately requested this book from the library. It is as insightful as ever. Jan's ideas work. One of the t
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion this is the best book on dog "training" currently available. Jan Fennell talks about what is really important to dogs and how to be a non-confrontational leader in those situations. When my business partner and I tried her techniques with our clients, we saw amazing results in very little time. I whole-heartedly recommend this book to all dogs owners and everyone who works with dogs.
Tami Roof
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I know it's pathetic, but at one point I cried reading this book. I was reading a part in the book explaining the behavior of a dog and it just hit a soft spot. Very good training book for any dog owner.
Lynn Pribus
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very similar approach to Cesar Milan's. An older book from the UK with few reviews. Her gimmick is to be the alpha wolf in the pack, which pretty much translates to Milan's pack leader.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, non-fiction
Some good advice on raising a calm and responsive dog, surrounded by unnecessary anecdotes that I mostly skipped.
I really tried, but couldn't make myself finish this book. I appreciate that the author wanted to use humane methods (which is why I gave an extra star), but her entire training philosophy is based on Pack Theory which has long been summarily debunked. Besides the fact that captive wolves that have to form a pack behave dramatically different than wolf packs in the wild do, domesticated dogs are like wolves only to the same extent that humans are like chimpanzees. Many of the behaviors discussed ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well written with a language that flows easily from page to page. Although Jan Fennell's dog training technique is not detailed in this book, she still reveals enough for me to understand that my own approach to dogs has so far been completely wrong. An eye opener for a dog novice, who clearly needs to read more of Jan's books.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book. I have recently homed a rescue dog with various issues and this has helped so much. It is written as her various experiences not a “do this do that” but the underlying message comes through in all cases is that of the human leader and Amichien bonding. Whilst your problem may not have been specifically there, you can draw from lots of the experiences.
John Holliday
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply brilliant....veryeasy to read because its well written, the information and methods work, some are hard but by reading the book you see how they work, whythey work and how they benefit both your dog and you.....i wouldrecommend it to anyone....
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I strongly recommend reading this book if you are a dog owner!
Tracy Cooper
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jan Fennell saved my dog’s life.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The reality is that any fool can wind up a dog: it takes a genuine dog lover to create a happy and contented pet”
Catherine Maloney
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly easy to read and very useful.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Categorically unsurpassed, this revolutionary method is simple but effective. A must read for all dog owners!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to all dog lovers and owners, who want to gain an understanding of how their canine friend communicates and acts in the way that he/she does. With a foreword by legendary and highly renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts, one knows instantly that Jan Fennell’s advice and study of canine behavior is going to be spot on. Learning the language of you
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting book, but I would recommend Patricia McConnell or Nicole Wilde for a more complete training method.
I like the fact that she uses only humane training methods, but I question her emphasis on pack leadership being the root of all behaviour problems.
Read this book if you are interested in dog training, but read Wilde and McConnell as well.
Oct 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a big dog
When we decided that we would take on the responsibility of a dog, my mother in law sent us this book from England. It sat on the shelf until we eventually rescued a four month old Chocolate Labrador who was already weighing in at 47 lbs. Charlie started out fine, but it became quite obvious that he was going to need some pretty serious training. I picked up Jan's book and started practicing her preach right away. The theory behind her book is the wolf pack mentality and how a dog must know it's ...more
Natasha Acres
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really interesting book for those that have dogs that don't fit in with your idea of the perfect pet!

We have a 'spirited' (at best) or 'hyperactive' (at worst) border collie that has given us plenty of fun but also plenty of concern. He fits in well at home but anything out of the norm (like visiting other people) makes him pretty manic.

I read this book in the hope to see if I understood what makes him tick and it's given me a really good insight into dog behaviour. Its simply written
Nov 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I'm an avid dog lover and had decided to start dog sports with my Border Collie and German Shepherd, so I devoured every "dog" book I could get my hands on. This book, to me, was a horribly written rip-off of many of the better known authors in this genre. If you want a good book on interacting with your dog, or better understanding your relationship with your canine companion, check out Dr Patricia McConnoll's For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend or her first ...more
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: instructional
What a simple and effective dog training system! If you're adding a puppy to your household, read this before you get your dog. I think if you implement this training system from the very first with a young dog, you -- and your dog -- will have great success.

Unfortunately my new dog is a 22 month old rescue dog that has had a hard life. We have a lot to overcome, and I think Farley would be crushed by some of the training techniques. He is a very nervous, insecure dog, and I don't want to jeopar
Ami Kismet
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book is very good for beginning dog trainers or non-professional dog owners. It lays the groundwork for paying attention to a dog's body language and being aware of the signals you are sending out to the dog. The advice was very good because it focused on positive reinforcement instead of punishment, and it is a really easy read. As I said, it lays the groundwork for a very successful relationship with dogs. However, I do recommend further reading and research. My main issue is that she mad ...more
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was extremely helpful! I think a lot of people mistakenly think Jan Fennell is a "dog psychic" or "dog whisperer" when in reality she has just studied wolves(of which dogs have descended) and dogs them self to create a logical, humane way of treating your dog. I only wish I could get my husband to try it, as I think it would be more effective, but am hoping if I can get my children to particpate we will still see results. I have seen some already in our puppy. I would recommend to any ...more
Aug 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Excellent outline of how to communicate with dogs, including working on several problem behaviours. However, I would have loved a bit more detail in each case study, some felt a bit like Step 1) I meet a dog with a behaviour problem Step 2) I use my magic skills of ignoring the dog to make the dog view me as its leader Step 3) I teach the owners to also ignore the dog Step 4) The dog is cured!

I would recommend this book to anyone who is adopting a new dog because it contains fantastic ideas in t
Dec 22, 2008 added it
We adopted a 5 year old dog this past summer and he has some "issues". He is coming along fantastically and this book has helped more than I can explain.

It does an excellent job of looking at life from the "dogs perspective" in a way that humans can try and understand. It is a must read for any pet owner that is looking to give their pet the happiest and most well adjusted life possible. This book is very helpful for any type of behavioral problem you may have but is also an excellent book for
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend reading this book to every dog owner. Out of all the reading I did, this is the one book that helped most.
The ideas developed by Jan Fennell, her method, proved very effective with my own Akita for instance.
Gentleness, understanding, communication and leadership are the base of any good relationship with our furry friends, and this book give you the keys to achieve that harmony.
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