DK全球视觉what’s my dog thinking by hannahy molloy understand your dog to give them a happy life
Foreword I’m a dog geek, for life. As a baby I was bitten on the face by a rescue dog and sat in shock, but never cried. It’s a family joke that I’ve had dog in my blood ever since, because I’ve never found them anything short of fascinating.
I opened my first petsitting business at nine years old, and at 12, earned the right to have my first dog – a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Beano. I have studied and worked professionally with dogs for more than 15 years, and I’ve trained more than 10,000 dogs – and just as many owners.
Since earning an Honours Degree in Animal Behaviour and becoming a fully qualified dog behaviourist, my focus has been on dog language and culture: what we know, what we think we know, and what we don’t know.
Once I realized that dogs can smell cancer, my love for them went supernova. But I also saw that even though these incredible animals could smell disease, humans were still smacking their noses as discipline, holding them by the throat until they submitted, and pushing their butts into the ground rather than asking them to sit. Dogs are sensitive and easy to train, if we just take the time to watch and understand them.
Once you start interpreting dog body language, it’s a skill you never switch off. After reading this book, you’ll start noticing dog “chats” every day. I want to help people step into the world of the canine “detective”.
I hope this book will give you the eye and the insight to dogwatch as a fascinating hobby – and to look at, love, and learn from your dog in a brand new way. What we thought we knew about dog behaviour 20 years ago has changed so much, and one day we’ll know even more.
While this book is an up-to-date compendium of postures agreed upon by the world’s best dog geeks, I for one will never stop asking, “What’s my dog thinking?
Start to think like a dog
In order to start working out what your dog is thinking, it’s important to understand how dogs think – in particular,
the way they communicate and experience the world, and the key instincts and processes driving their behaviour.
How dogs communicate
Dogs constantly talk to us, and each other, with posture and movement and through sounds and scent – whether we notice it or not!
To become a dog detective and understand how your dog thinks, first identify the clues from their postures and sounds, and discover the depth of their world of smell.
We dog body language geeks are always analyzing how a dog stands, what the tail is doing, how the eyes, ears, and mouth look, and lots more.
Each part of the body is like a letter in the dog’s body language; together, they form a posture, or “word”, that’s a snapshot of what the dog is saying in that moment. A fluid, moving sequence of postures gives us the dog’s full “sentence”.
This book is full of postures that are analyzed to help you learn to read your dog – while the “Advanced dogwatching” features will help you to master more complex full sentences of behaviour.
It’s really important to start by simply observing parts of your dog’s body, without trying to analyze them straight away. Each is one piece of the bigger story.
Body Are the body and stance relaxed and loose, or is there muscle tension and stiffness? Is the dog’s posture tall or lowered?
Is their weight placed forwards, backwards, or is it neutral? Bunched fur can also reveal physical and emotional tension.
Try to avoid assumptions; for example, a dog that has rolled over could be either friendly or frightened (see pages 32–33).
Ears Ear position can tell you which direction the dog is thinking about. Forward ears are alert to what’s ahead; pulled-back ears may mean the dog wants to move backwards.
If one ear is forward and one back, the dog is listening to two sources of sound and may be making a decision, while “aeroplane” ears going out to the side are a sign the dog is guarding their personal space or an item.
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