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How to Speak Dog:
An invaluable language manual for people who need to communicate with dogs, How to Speak Dog is far more than a simple training guide. Author Stanley Coren discusses at length the evolution of language in many species, and focuses as much on body language as he does on verbal communication. This is a man with his own theories on language development--when disagreeing with Chomsky or Darwin, he backs up his arguments with plenty of thorough, firsthand experience.
Separate chapters devoted exclusively to interpreting the movement of tails, ears, and bodies are fascinating, and can often provide surprisingly quick insight into canine behavior. There's a tremendous difference between showing affection and showing dominance, and humans have a strong tendency to misread our dogs' behavior and reward them in exactly the right way to ensure the continuation of frustrating behavior. Coren maintains that dogs can often learn far more words than we give them credit for--certainly, we've all seen pooches go bananas at the words walk and cookie, but he also suggests we watch for learned behaviors from certain words. Perhaps office gets your spaniel waiting by the door, or baby results in your terrier checking in on your child's location--you may just think it's cute, but actually, it's a sign of your dog's linguistic ability.
Whether you own a dog or two or work in the field of animal care, this manual will be a most informative read and is sure to have a positive effect on the relationship between you and man's best friend. --Jill Lightner [via]