Are you a dog lover? I have to confess, I’m not just a dog lover, I’m a dog over-lover! I tend to treat our dog Baxter like a doting grandparent would treat a grandchild, spoiling him, catering to him, buying gifts for him, and basically giving him whatever he wants. The end result is that, while he does love me back, he also tends to run roughshod over me! In an effort to learn how to be a better leader to Baxter, I went in search of some dog training help.
Which led me to Dr. Patricia B. McConnell’s book, The Other End of the Leash, Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, a treasure-trove of practical advice for anyone who wants to improve their dog training skills. Dr. McConnell explains that as benevolent leaders we should expect our dogs to be polite and patient, rather than pushy and demanding.
Dr. McConnell advocates taking a closer look at our own behaviors and how they are interpreted by our dogs, rather than solely focusing on our dogs’ behaviors. She explains that by communicating with our dogs in a way they’ll understand, we can bring about the behaviors we desire and improve our relationship with them.
As an Applied Animal Behaviorist and dog trainer, Dr. McConnell pairs her advice with research and examples showing exactly how she arrived at her conclusions. Her writing style is entertaining and her compassion for animals shines through. She includes plenty of humorous and touching stories about her own dogs and the animals she’s encountered in her research.
The Other End of the Leash includes many practical tips to guide us in helping our dogs understand what we want from them and, perhaps more importantly, helping us understand what they need from us; i.e., benevolent leadership. I’ve already put several of Dr. McConnell’s tips into practice with Baxter and have noticed a positive influence on him. He’s stopped jumping on me and is more respectful of my space. It shows that our dogs truly are happier and more secure when we set boundaries for them!
Dr. McConnell has written several books about dog training and behavior which are available on Amazon and through other book retailers. And, if you’re interested in a super-condensed version of Dr. McConnell’s wisdom, she also has a booklet entitled How to Be the Leader of the Pack … And Have Your Dog Love You for It, which only takes a few minutes to read but contains her key principles of dog training. I highly recommend these books to anyone who, like me, perhaps loves their dog a little too much! I’ll keep you posted on Baxter’s (and my) progress!