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

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,052 ratings  ·  191 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' ca
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Spiegel & Grau (first published 2010)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  2,052 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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May 18, 2013 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
Jean Gill
Mar 05, 2012 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
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 Stars
I really enjoyed reading this book for meany reasons. One reason is because you get a chance to understand what dogs see and also think about things and how they even react to things. The downfall for me was that I thought I would learn more than what I thought I would of. I guess the reason was because I have 3 dogs and I know how they react to things, but every dog is different. In this book it provided great facts about dogs but some of the facts I already knew form have dogs myself. I
Nov 15, 2011 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 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm looking for a dog now that 10 months have passed since we had to put down our beloved Lab 'Kimosabi' . He was the best dog ever to inhabit this Solar System , but I need a new companion .
This book helped me to understand a dog's emotions and best respond to them .
May 13, 2011 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 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
Karen & Gerard
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, favorites
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 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to on CD. Very heart warming story of a person that train service. If you are a dog person, well worth checking out. Some very helpful tips at the end in regards to training.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I'm so interested in learning about service dogs, so this was a perfect read. Also a great read for understanding a dog and the best way to train them.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
‘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 10, 2011 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
Aug 22, 2013 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 17, 2012 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
Feb 08, 2015 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
Oct 03, 2012 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
Nov 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jun 30, 2013 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
Aug 04, 2010 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." ...more
Oct 29, 2010 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 20, 2011 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. ...more
Mary M
Jan 07, 2012 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. ...more
Cyndie Courtney
Nov 29, 2013 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.
Oct 22, 2010 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!
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a very helpful and insightful book. Toby and I will be doing some retraining using the outlines in this book.
Judi Fruen
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovely book on dog behaviour and training.
Let me tell you how much I loved this book. I LOVED this book, and I wish I had read it when I got it years ago, you know, the to-read shelf is quite the shelf, but I finally picked it up. I have had dogs since I was 8. I wasn't super into training dogs until I became an adult and got my first Aussie. I did obedience with our first puppy when I was 9, and back then the archaic, force dominated, negative punishment, be the alpha, blah, blah was what trainers taught and what was taught to them. In ...more
stephanie suh
If you are a dog person, reading this book will make you become better understanding of your dog or just any dog in sight – in his perspective. This book is written with knowledge and heart by Jennifer Arnold, the Executive Director of Canine Assistants, a school for educating dogs to help people with disabilities, including epilepsy, paralysis of broken spinal cords, and others that prevent them from functioning their ordinary tasks of daily lives . The author specifically emphasizes on the wor ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've lived with dogs all my life. There are lots of wonderful pets, but dogs are truly our companion species. When my wife and I brought a new puppy into our lives, I decided to dive into current literature to see what I could learn to make a happy home for our puppy and for us.

What is good about Arnold's book is very, very good. The discussions about communication, play, and positive training techniques are more than worth the cost of the book. She stresses the often-overlooked fact that, unles
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was bewildered, when during the last days of this Summer Vacation, my rescue dog of 6y suddenly reverted to some of the maladaptive behaviors he showed us 6 months after settling into our home.

Since the philosophy of developing a strong famial and parental relationship with the family dog is one I adopted nearly a decade ago to supplant the limited and misguided alpha relationship, I was looking for clues and strategies. I did not require convincing.

I did light highlighting through the bulk
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