Apr 28, 2009

The Other End of the Leash

Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
by Patricia McConnell

This book has been on my TBR so long (years) I can't even remember where I first heard about it. I never could find it anywhere (always missing or checked out at the library), until a few weeks ago I discovered a copy at a library sale. Ecstatic. And the read was wonderful. The Other End of the Leash is about the human-dog relationship, especially in regards to communication and training. McConnell, an applied animal behaviorist who helps people with problem dogs (mostly cases of aggression) explains how even though we can be very close to our dogs, many things inherent to the nature of canines and primates (ourselves) can cross the wires and cause continual misunderstandings. The message you are trying to send your dog may be the opposite of what he thinks it is (for example, dogs may not perceive hugs as gestures of affection, but dominating or even threatening). She shows how understanding the natural way dogs perceive and interpret our behavior, and changing it so that the message comes across clearly, can greatly facilitate harmonious living with canine pets. A fascinating book, one I'm hanging onto for reference when I ever (the child is begging) get a dog of my own.

I read this book for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge

Rating: 4/5                    246 pages, 2002


  1. Sounds good. I wonder if our dog read it - she trained us very quickly.

  2. Isn't it the best when you randomly stumble upon a book you've been looking all over for?

    Sounds like an interesting book--our dog is pretty well trained, but I wish she could speak sometimes. You think you guys will fold and get a dog? They really are great but *can be* a pain to train. I'm guessing you'd be a natural, though!

  3. Oo, sounds interesting! I have been guilty of hugging my family dog, even though she is plainly not interested in being hugged. Maybe I should read this to drive the message home to myself.

  4. Fabulous book, isn't it! It went straight to my shelf of Very Important Books. I follow Patricia McConnell's blog too, and enjoy it a lot.
    Go on, get a dog of your own, you know you want to :)

  5. Bermudaonion- Ha, ha! There's another book out there written from a dog's viewpoint about how to train people to do whatever you want- I can't remember the title right now, though.

    Trish- I'm flattered by your confidence in me! Sadly, many of the things I read loads about I'm not very good at doing. And right now I don't want a dog because I know that although my husb and kid both want one, guess who will do the walks, scoop the poo, feed it, clean up the messes, take it to the vet, etc?? Yours truly! And I don't need that much more responsibility right now, when I'm really crazy about cats, not dogs.

    Jenny- Hugging's not the worst thing you can miscommunicate to your dog! Definitely read the book, it will open your eyes.

    Mrs. J- I didn't know she had a blog! I don't know if we'll get a dog yet... I really prefer cats (less work!)

  6. gotta say--I did get lucky with the cat/dog situation. Because I came into the marriage with the cat and my husband with the dog, I do all the cat stuff and hubby does all the dog stuff. Cats are *definitely* lower maintenance than dogs!!

  7. Jean: Thanks for the kind words about The Other End of the Leash. Although writing can be difficult (and lonely), I loved working on it and more than that, love hearing from people who have read it. It's in 12 or 13 languages now, and I can't tell you how amazing it was to receive the Chinese version in the mail one day (with the 'front' on the 'back' and the pages 'backward'). Made me think even more about what it is like to be a dog and see the world from a completely different framework!

    It is wonderful how books connect us. I'll continue to check in on your site, I love hearing about great books, am an obsessive reader. Anyone read The Beautiful Jim Key? Nonfiction... and amazing!

  8. Trish- Less maintenance but just as much love (in their own way)!

    PMcC- I'm honored by the visit! Thirteen langauges- wow. Now I realize why it was so hard for me to find a copy- no one who gets ahold of your book will want to let it go! (even the library borrowers, it seems). I never heard of the Beautiful Jim Key but now I'm curious, and looked it up. Was this horse like Clever Hans?

  9. I'm with Bermudaonion. I think my dogs got to it first.

  10. Ooh sounds good. With other books about dog care I've read I know that we humanize dogs way too much and as such probably mess a lot of their training up along the way. But it's so hard not to treat them like a child!


Comments are screened due to spam.