Thursday, January 23, 2014

Learning to Speak Dog With Help from "Decoding Your Dog" #DogDecoding

One of the hardest things about living with a dog is that we don't speak their language and they don't speak ours. Wouldn't it be nice if our dogs could talk to us? It's a fun thought, but in reality this just isn't going to happen. While dogs are very smart animals, they don't have the ability to speak our verbal language.

Don't worry, there is hope to learning how to better and effectively understand and communicate with your dog. A team of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (Debra F. Horwitz, DVM, DACVB and John Ciribassi, DVM, DACVB, with Steve Dale) have just published a new and enlightening book called "Decoding Your Dog".

Learning to Speak Dog #DogDecoding

Let's face it, every dog is different and many of them have "issues", just like people. My dog included. Shiner's issues include aggression, anxiety, and obsessive behaviors. All of these topics are covered in Decoding Your Dog, so I couldn't wait to dive in and learn more about why my dog does some of the things she does.


Aggression

Shiner has had issue with food and toy related aggression for several years. I learned from this book that it's called "resource-guarding". She shows no aggression towards me, but will give a warning growl if the kids go near the things she feels are valuable to her. It's as though she's worried that they are going to take them from her. She eats her meals in the laundry room by herself and is only allowed toys when there are no kids around. 


One thing I learned in the Aggression chapter of Decoding Your Dog is that taking away these items from your dog can actually make things worse. The reason she guards these items like this is because she is worried that they can be taken away at any given time. And I have done just that quite often. Needless to say, I will be working on making a few changes to the way I handle these situations if they ever arise. For the most part, I try to avoid them all together. 

Decoding Your Dog book review #DogDecoding

Anxiety

My dog, along with many other dogs out there, has some minor anxiety issues. She seems to be most affected by thunderstorms or being left alone. Shiner's anxiety is not as bad as many other dogs', however. I have met dogs who have jumped through glass windows because they were left at home alone. 

The chapter on Separation Anxiety was also enlightening to read. It includes the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety and contains tips on how to cope with it. The authors also debunk a lot of myths related to separation anxiety in dogs. 

Obsessive Behaviors

After reading through the chapter on Compulsive behaviors, I realized that Shiner's obsessive licking is again much more manageable than some of the things that other dogs might do. I think her licking may actually be a "repetitive behavior" and not a true compulsive disorder. This chapter clarifies the difference between all of the obsessive behaviors in dogs. 

Learning to Better Communicate With My Dog

The chapters above are just a glimpse at what's included in Decoding Your Dog. What I really like about this book is how it gives real examples and scenarios, contains easy to read charts, debunks myths, and reviews each topic at the end of every chapter. 

Decoding Your Dog - dog behavior book written by veterinary experts

I have not read every chapter yet, as I find this type of book to be more of a reference personally. Although I did find it surprisingly hard to put down once I started reading different topics. While reading the book, I had a lot of moments when it felt like a light bulb was going off in my head. I have no doubt that people who read this book are going to understand their dog much better afterwards. 

Which is awesome because behavioral problems in dogs are one of the main reasons they end up at shelters. By learning to communicate with our dog, we could be saving their life and making it an enjoyable one too. 

Does your dog have any behavior issues? Please share in the comments!

This post is sponsored. Through the BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Decoding Your Dog, but Pawsitively Pets only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers and all opinions expressed here are the truth!

39 comments:

  1. That sounds great. Speaking of glass Pip tried to that many moons ago and that is when we gave up. She was always with us after that. She did get better when she was older but only marginally so. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. I was reading about velcro dogs in the book too Molly. Glad she was able to at least get a little better with her anxiety as she aged.

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  2. Sounds like a great book. My main behaviour problem is that I like to jump when we have visitors. but mummy and daddy know this is partly their fault for not being firmer with me

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    1. Shiner likes to jump up on my mom sometimes when she is happy to see her. Sounds like you are pretty well behaved Misaki :)

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  3. That sounds like a worthwhile read.

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  4. Wow I could definitely use the info in that book!!
    Mika guards her food bowl, and I thought it was the right thing to do but frequently picking up her bowl and then giving it back etc.... To show her it was ok, she doesn't show aggression with me around her bowl, but the other dogs in the house.
    Lexus, she has anxiety issues and obsessive behavior. She won't pee without doing a thousand circles first....most dogs do circles but she literally does a thousand of them!!!!
    And she has a bad habit of licking...and licking...and licking....
    Great post!
    ((Husky hugz frum da pack"
    "Love is being owned by a husky"

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    1. I'm sure this book would be a great read for you then. And regarding the circling thing, I just read over at Sugar the Golden Retriever's blog that dogs do that because they like to be aligned to the earth's magnetic field lol...

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  5. Miss Ann, is there a chapter in there about reactivity? If so, then we need this book! This was a great review...I like that you say each chapter is something different and thus it can be used a resource guide.
    Thanks!
    Oz

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    1. I think they do talk about that in there Oz. I was reading some parts and thinking of you. One section was talking about how you only have limited ways to protect yourself, especially if you are on a leash. There really is so much great info in here. I'd recommend it. It might help your mom understand your actions better so she can help you overcome your reactivity.

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  6. Thanks for a great post, Professor Shiner. I think we need this book, to understand moi is not easy I know, but the staff should learn it :o)

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    1. You are just so full of knowledge Easy, it's no wonder why it's not so easy for the staff to understand you!

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  7. Sounds like a really good book. I'm going to look into it!

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  8. Nice review. Sounds like an interesting and good read :)

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  9. So, has anyone written a book on how to talk to your cat?
    I'm glad the puppers have a book but we cats need some understanding too...

    Noodle

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    1. MOL - I'm sure they have Noodle! Maybe Jackson Galaxy has written one or something. If not, I'd bet you would make the perfect candidate to write one!

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  10. Thanks for sharing. Kamana used to destroy things, like rip up plastic bags. He loves chewing, so we have lots of toys for him to chew (he knows now what to chew up and what to leave alone). He has really bad anxiety, especially when it's windy. I don't know what to do about that, but perhaps the book would enlighten me.

    One weird thing is that he actually likes someone standing with him when he eats.

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    1. I think this book is great if your dog does thinks that you just don't get... it really helped me understand a dog's point of view and how they see things.

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  11. Thanks for sharing all this interesting information Ann, especially Aggression

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  12. We just read 2 chapters and love examples. Surely a great guidelines for a dog parent. Golden Woofs

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  13. No issues with me, but my sisters have some ;) I have heard this is a great book, maybe I should buy it for Mom, but not for her to help me, just my sisters.

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    1. I am going to be reading more of it when I get some time because it felt like I was learning so much! Even in just the introductions!

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  14. That does sound interesting! I can speak dog pretty well, but I can never understand those French Poodles.

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    1. Oh yes, I'm afraid I don't know much French either ;)

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  15. From what you shared it sounds like a great reference book in not only understanding your own dog, but other dogs one frequently comes in contact with. I know someone who could really benefit. I must forward your post to her. Thanks for a great review.

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    1. Yes Cathy! I was thinking of how helpful this book would have been when I was working as a technician.

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  16. That sounds like a good book! The Mom wishes there were on for cats, MOL. :)

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  17. That book sounds brilliant, Shiner sounds very much like Mollie xxoxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

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    1. Interesting Mollie. Glad to know she isn't the only one :)

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  18. Sounds like a lot of good information, I am interested in the barking while on the leash. Nala used to do that and I thought it was because she was the smallest, but Biddy does it too now....sometimes it is excitement at the other dog or person, but sometimes I can tell she is scared...working on this. Ps. Love Shiner's reading glasses!

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    1. I was reading something in the book that a dog may try to protect themselves in certain situations (like being on a leash) with the "bravado" of barking. Make themselves seem tough to scare off threats since they can't run away from the threat on a leash. Good luck to you on working with it with your dogs!

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  19. Hmmmm! Sounds interesting! I wonder if there is one for decoding your cat? ;)

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  20. sounds like an interesting read! my one dog licks his paws a lot and I don't know if it's allergies/itchiness or compulsiveness. and the other has some anxiety. might be a good read for me to learn more about them!
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

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    1. I meant to link to it, but I have written about Dogs and "OCD" as my own dog has the same licking issue.

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  21. thiz sounds like an awesum book shiner....now if ewe could just get yur mom ta understand if EWE red it two HER !!!! de second bulldog that bee round well bee fore uz trouterz arrived all ways had issues with chewin hiz feets...just the front...til they bee raw....he did this til him wuz given a racquetball then him chewed on it or carried it round in hiz "flew" ...he looked like brando in de godfather !!!

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    1. Yes, Shiner used to do the same thing to her paws. Thankfully, she is much improved with that issue these days.

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  22. WOW. I've seen this book floating about lately. It sounds really good!

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  23. This book sounds great. Our beagle Cricket has some of the same issues that Shiner does....resource guarding of toys and food mostly. We don't have kids to worry about but she can be aggressive with the other dogs. She also seems to have OCD sometimes....she gets fixated on things like her ball. I would love to have more insight into why she does these things and how to help correct them.

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    1. I remember you talking about those things before Janet. I'm not sure if Shiner would show food aggression with other dogs, but I would imagine so. She's just not that into sharing her food I suppose.

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