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Canine Body Language
What is it about? Never before has canine body language been so thoroughly documented with photographs and text. Hundreds of images in this almost 400 page book illustrate the incredible variety of postures, behaviors and situations that the typical dog either manifests or encounters in his day-to-day life. There isn’t a dog trainer or behaviorist who won’t learn something new in this incredible volume, and there isn't a dog owner who won't welcome the new insights they will gain into the behavior of the family dog.
Winner of the DWAA Maxwell Award for 2006, Best General Reference Book
More about Brenda- Brenda is a professional dog trainer specialising in problem behaviour. A large part of her practice consists of dogs who have been referred to her when traditional training techniques have failed. In addition to working with owners on re-
socialisation, fearful and aggressive dogs, Brenda also teaches puppy socialisation, fundamental to competition obedience, confirmation, tracking, backpacking, musical freestyle, and agility classes at Heaven on Arf Behaviour and Training centre, in Midland Michigan.
When was it published? 2005
Who published it? Dogwise Publishing
Illustrations- Hundreds of black and white photographs.
APDT CHRONICLE OF THE DOG
“Aloff has written one of the first really comprehensive books on dog body language. She is building nicely on the foundations laid by experts such as Abrantes and Rugaas. I would say this book is going to be of particular interest to owners, dog professionals such as groomers and pet sitters, and novice trainers. I like the overall layout of the book and the fact that Aloff uses a lot of pictures to demonstrate her points. I particularly admire her ambition in undertaking such a daunting project! This is a timely topic and, to my knowledge, there was no other book on the market that could even come close to this at the time it was published. It has a lot of very useful information, and is a useful book for reference. There are many ways a book on body language can be ordered; the order Aloff has chosen is a useful guide for most people interested in dog body language. She has categorized the various body language signals into six sections: Expressions of an Emotional State, Calming & Negotiation Signals, Neutral & Friendly, Space Invaders, Predation, and Play. She has a final section named “Quiz,” in which the reader can test and improve their knowledge. Each section begins with commentary. She uses plenty of actual photographs to demonstrate the postures she is discussing, and most photos have a useful list of the specific body language features that make up the overall posture. Unfortunately, the photographs are of mediocre quality, at best—many of them are not even useful. To be fair, some of the photos are really great; however, in a book demonstrating body language, all of the photos should be good enough that the features being discussed can be seen. Within the sections she also has a variety of tips, which are enclosed in a box. She categorizes the tips according to their purpose. Many of the tips are useful and serve as clarification for the actual postures. My preference would have been to stick with the “paradigm tips” and leave out the “training tips.” This is not a training book, but a book on body language, and the training tips are not comprehensive enough to be of much use. Unfortunately, the editing of this book was very poor. Aloff uses capitalization very inappropriately; I understand that she is trying to emphasize certain concepts, but the capital letters disrupt the flow of reading to the detriment of the book. A good editor would have pointed this out. Additionally, there is awkward phrasing, unfinished sentences, mis-numbering of photos, inconsistency of formatting, and text overflow away from the photo which is unnecessary. I hope that these niggling problems are corrected in the next edition of this book. A glaring omission is that there is either no mention or just a brief mention in passing with little to no explanation of numerous important behaviors which dog owners and professionals should be aware of. Some of those missing behaviors are: mounting, T-position, agonistic pucker, grab and hold, muzzle punches, piloerection, and others. In the play section, there’s a picture of a dog mounting another dog; this would have been a perfect opportunity to mention mounting, but it is completely skipped over with a comment about the dog taking the “predator role.” To my knowledge, mounting is not a part of the predation sequence, at all! Aloff’s writing style is free-flowing and light. It’s amusing to read her descriptions of the interactions between the dogs, and makes for a very pleasant and fun read. I do, however, wish she had refrained from interpreting the dogs’ intentions and thoughts. I am a proponent of describing the behavior rather than intention. Behavior, all by itself, speaks volumes! She also liberally uses a term that has come into vogue lately—“hind brain”—which I’ve also heard described as “the dog is not operant.” Aloff, like many others, falls into the trap of using a neuro-explanation which is far more complex than this usage indicates and doesn’t really add to the book or our understanding of the behavior. This book has a lot of really great qualities and a few problems. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and recommend it. I would love to see Aloff revise the book for the next edition —correct the editing problems, replace the unacceptable photos, leave out the subjective commentary, add some behaviors and turn this into a more scientific endeavor.” Susan Smith
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