Review–On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals


I dream of having the kind of dog that trots by their owner’s side not fazed by any distraction–think Lassie or Rin Tin Tin; those dogs were always at the ready to do anything their owner asked of them.

It is only a dream for me, and a far distant one at that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my two rescue dogs, Brody and Layla, but they are the definition of the word neurotic.

Think I’m over-exaggerating? Has your dog every freaked out over tinsel? Or growled at a trash can? Mine have, and continue to amaze me with their various quirks-just recently Layla has decided to walk along windowsills.

Why? Only she knows for sure.

Whether your dog is as quirky as mine or is of the Lassie variety, Turid Rugass’  book, On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals,  is a great resource to better help you understand and communicate with dogs.

I, for one, am desperate to communicate with Brody and Layla and let them know that life and people are not as scary as they think, which is the very reason I bought this book. It was a very refreshing change from the other training books that say things like “if your dog is afraid don’t coddle them, you will reinforce their fear.”

I tried the not-coddling path;” I had even (almost) built up resistance to their “please help me” stares. But the ignoring of their obvious distress made me feel awful and didn’t answer my real question: How do I let my dogs know that they don’t need to be afraid?

That question was the reason I purchased the book.

It is not a training manual; it does not show different ways to discipline/sedate your dogs into a calm state. It’s a language manual showing ways to “speak dog.”

The text is clear and concise with color illustrations and examples of the signals and ways that humans can mimic the canine language and how it can be communicate interspecies.

Yes, licking your nose and yawning looks pretty foolish to the other humans in your life, but the signals work!

I tried them on my dogs and a dog at work (mainly the sideways approach and the yawn) and watched the dog perform different calming signals back.

That makes the book worth the $10 I paid for it, hands down.

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