Review: Clever Dog – The Secrets Your Dog Wants You To Know

Not sure about your neighbour’s advice to show your adolescent Husky who’s boss by sitting on him? Wondering why rubbing your puppy’s face in her own urine isn’t stopping her peeing in the house? Sarah Whitehead, MSc and dog treat advocate, takes the myths and weirdness out of dog training in her bestselling book.

Clever Dog: Secrets Your Dog Wants You To Know is a common-sense reprisal of the human-canine relationship, informed by extensive research and Sarah’s 20 plus years’ experience as a canine behaviour counsellor. Hers is a fascinating field, and essential today, when pet dogs are so common and yet so often misunderstood.

Sarah is a master of understanding the real – often goofy – causes of doggy behavioural problems.

It was apparent from Chapter One that dog training – and popular beliefs about dogs – has been as off-target as early 20th-century child discipline, and sometimes as damaging. Electric collars, for example, can have serious effects on a dog’s mental health (see Chapter 8 for Zeus, the Agoraphobic Afghan Hound). In 13 chapters Sarah dispels myths of social dominance and ‘pack mentality’, walking us through case studies of common issues ranging from separation anxiety to aggression, to a collie who kept jumping into her owners’ gas fire. 

Beyond pointing out misguided training methods with intelligence, compassion, and humour, Sarah is a master of understanding the real – often goofy – causes of doggy behavioural problems. In each case study it’s fascinating to accompany her through meeting the canine, encountering the problem, discovering the cause, and setting up thoughtful solutions.

Clever Dog makes it clear that understanding our dogs is as important as going to the dentist. Dogs will make that clear to us, too! The book helps us build strong relationships with our dogs and opens our eyes to new interpretations of canine behaviour.

This awwwwww-inspiring read is valuable for anyone wanting to expand their world.

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