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How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication

By Stanley Coren
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Book Details
  • Author: Stanley Coren
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Published: 2001-04-17
  • Edition: Illustrated
At long last, dogs will know just how smart their owners can be. By unlocking the secrets of the hidden language of dogs, the author, a psychologist, allows us into the doggy dialogue and makes two-way communication a reality. For the first time, instead of receiving an incomprehensible mash of mixed human signals, man's best friend will be treated to the proper use of dog language. Finally, effective communication can take place between canines and these "strange tall dogs" who have mystified them for so long. Building on research into the simplified language of "baby talk" (that nearly universally recognized "motherese" with which mothers speak to their infants), the author provides insights into the structure and form of the simplified language that many dog owners use to communicate with their pets. A better understanding of this language, "Doggish," is the key to improved two-way communication. The book provides not only the sounds, words, actions, and movements with which we can effectively communicate with our dogs, but deciphers the signs that our dogs give to us. By giving us the information we need to interpret the wagging of their tails, the flapping of their ears, the movement of their bodies, and the lapping of their tongues as much as their barks, the author allows us into their rich world of communication, giving dog-lovers the skills they need to improve their relationships with their pets. As every owner will admit, dogs have an uncanny ability to respond to nuances of human speech. Although actual conversation of the sort Lassie seemed capable of in Hollywood mythmaking remains forever out of reach, research and observation show that a great deal of real communication is possible beyond the giving and obeying of commands. This book explores the limits of dogs' language abilities and charts the possibilities. It gives owners the key to interpret correctly not only information but emotional states. With easy-to-follow tips on how humans can mimic the language dogs use to talk with each other, it provides a surprising and fascinating window into the world of dog communication, why they speak and what they talk about. Drawing on substantial research in animal behavior, evolutionary biology, and years of personal experience, the author demonstrates that the average house dog can differentiate between 60 and 140 words, though some research suggests that dogs can hear many more and also pick words out of sentences and respond to them. This work examines people's beliefs about the ability of their dogs to communicate and contrasts those with the scientific reality. As the author shows us, the gulf is more narrow than many people think, and the rewards of bridging it are endless.

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