Dog Speak by Christiane Blenski


Our review of a fascinating book about communicating with your dog.

Fri 02 Dec 2016

By Judy

Dog Speak by Christiane Blenski

Dog Speak by Christiane Blenski

Our review of a fascinating book about communicating with your dog.

This book is particularly interesting obviously to dog owners, but also to those who don’t have a dog. Even if we do not keep dogs ourselves, they are often present in our lives whether we want them there or not. As a walker in the countryside I am often confronted in the early morning on public rights of way by dogs that are left free to roam by their owners, presumably to keep intruders away. This can be a very scary experience as the dog approaches you, perhaps growling, perhaps galloping towards you and barking. In this situation it would be very useful to be able to read the signs and most importantly make oneself uninteresting to the dog. Similarly in parks and other public places it is important to be able to teach our children how to read strange dogs. They are not simply large cuddly toys and some or more comfortable with a particular situation (and therefore potentially less threatening) than others.

On a lighter note, when dogs jump up at you –usually when you are wearing good clothes and their paws are muddy(!) - it is somehow quite touching to know that this is a sincere form of greeting left over from their wolf days, when young wolf cubs, just weaned, would take partially digested food from their mother’s mouth.

What struck me about this book is how nerve wracking it must be to be a dog, constantly having to worry about hierarchy and your place in it, in encounters with every stranger, human or canine, that you meet. Having a dog on a lead, while it may make humans feel more in control restricts the animal’s body and mutes its communication skills, this can stress the dog and actually make it more aggressive. It is useful to know for example that shouting at a dog when it barks, makes it think that you are simply joining in with the barking game, or that looking into a dog’s eyes is threatening to it, when for humans this behaviour is often a sign of real affection or positive interest. There are many such useful pieces of information contained in the book. Dogs have so much to offer us and they are great communicators, but we need to learn their language and, also, to understand that we are very important to their happiness because we are part of their sense of themselves, not just a provider of food and shelter. This is a huge responsibility for owners.

The book also contains useful book and website bibliographies.

The Hubble & Hattie imprint was launched in 2009 and is named in memory of two very special and much-loved Westies owned by Veloce proprietors, Rod Grainger and Jude Brooks.
Hubble & Hattie is the home of a range of books that cover all-things animal – be these dogs, cats, horses, rabbits or elephants – produced to the same high quality of content and presentation as our motoring books, and offering the same great value for money.