Through a Dog’s Eyes

Through a Dog’s Eyes by Jennifer Arnold

  • Read this book before you get a dog.
  • Read this book first before you choose a training method.
  • Read this book immediately when you take in a new puppy or dog.

Spare yourself and your four-legged friend harsh training methods. Jennifer Arnold once thought methods of dominance and negative correction were necessary, but her dogs at Canine Assistance taught her otherwise.

For twenty years, Jennifer Arnold has adopted, raised and taught service dogs for people with special needs. She has learned to “teach” dogs to make choices not to simply “train” them to follow commands. Using kindness and encouragement, her dogs do amazing feats of thinking, take life saving actions, and provide their recipients with devotion and love.

Arnold advocates for humane and kind treatment of dogs. And her lifelong love of dogs and keen observation of them inform each chapter with authority. She clearly understands the difficulty our canine friends have in figuring out what we want them to do and has developed a working method for letting dogs think over complex tasks. Given choices, Arnold’s dogs show how much they want to please and how fast they can think on their feet.

The sharp differences between dogs and wolves make it clear that vying for dominance over dogs is simply misguided and a gross misunderstanding of both dogs and wolves. Dogs already know our human status as leaders. Like toddlers, dogs don’t need people holding them down or using choke or shock collars. Dogs look to people to show them what to do. Stories and examples illustrate these points and offer alternative solutions.

Dog lovers will enjoy seeing the world from their dog’s point of view. This book notes the sensory super powers of dogs. Research snapshots inform readers of the following facts, dogs see motion far better than static scenes, and dogs have far superior smell, hearing and night vision.  The chapter Do You See What I See? compares dog and human sensory abilities. What dogs lack in visual perception (their night vision is better than ours) they make up for in hearing and smell. “Height also affects how and what dogs see.”

The fact that dogs don’t like loud music or loud noises because their hearing clearly brings them distant information, rates as important information for dog lovers. Canine sensory abilities put them in the super hero zone, sniffing tumors, predicting human seizers, helping people open doors, safely guiding the blind across city streets, and leading search and rescue teams.

In the chapter, Personality Plus, Arnold covers an often overlooked and highly important topic. Dogs and dog parents (dog owners) personalities must match. Referring to Dr. Samuel Gosling’s research on canine personality: affection, emotion, energy level, and intelligence, Arnold has found that a dog and its dog owner need to have similar personalities. But Arnold doesn’t stop there, she cites research and personal observation how individual dog temperament and character assessment promote a good fit for dog and human partners. Under Arnold’s direction, Canine Assistants came to use several types of evaluations of each dog’s personality.

Through a Dog’s Eyes offers clear insight plus a one-page chart on how to assess both dog and human personality. On a scale from 0 to 28 each individual falls into four main overarching categories: Analyticals, Drivers, Amiables and Expressives. This book offers sound methods for getting the right dog personality for you and your family.

Choice Teaching, a method Arnold successfully uses to prepare Canine Assistant dogs, fills an entire chapter. She details how to employ this method with specifics on what to do. Plus she summarizes this Choice Teaching method in Appendix A. Charts provide spoken cues, physical cues and teaching tips. Given the fact that dogs lack vocal cords and cannot speak in human words, patient teaching brings the best results. And Arnold shares inspiring true stories of the choices and the “thinking” Canine Assistants dogs do.

Through a Dog’s Eyes offers a giant step forward in the humane treatment of dogs as feeling and thinking beings. No doubt about it, required reading if you have a dog or are thinking of getting one.

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