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by Brenda Aloff (See other books by author)

Publisher: Distributed by Dogwise Publishing
2005 Paperback , 370 pages
ISBN: 9781929242351
Item: DTB856

Summary: Ever wish you could talk to your dog? With this bible of canine body language you can learn to read him! Well-organized, loaded with photos and detailed explanations, it helps you interpret your dog’s emotions and, indeed, thoughts.

Price: $39.95 Add this item to my cart.

Expanded Description:

A Dog World Top 12 Training and Behavior Book - 2010!

Winner of the DWAA Maxwell Award for 2006, Best General Reference Book

Your dog is “talking.” Are you listening?
More important—are you WATCHING? Dogs are attempting to communicate with humans as well as other dogs all the time. It’s up to us to learn how to interpret their native language—the language of body movement, facial expression and proximity to things and other beings.
Canine Body Language is an exhaustive photographic documentation of dogs in their day-to-day activities: dogs alone, dogs together, dogs in the water, dogs having fun, dogs that are stressed and dogs in relation to human beings. In addition to the incredible photographs, author Brenda Aloff gives the reader detailed descriptions of what is happening in each photograph so that you can build your canine vocabulary.

Never look at dogs in the same way again!
• Learn how to analyze what you see when observing dogs to prevent problems or improve behavior.
• Follow the helpful photographic sequences and text to learn how to identify the subtle changes in canine body posture that tells you what a dog is thinking.
• Develop a profound appreciation for the intelligence and adaptability of dogs.
• Great for professional dog trainers! Use it to teach students important behavioral cues.

What dog trainers are saying about Brenda Aloff’s Canine Body Language
A great tool for the dog professionals. A truly valuable work which will be used as a reference for my clients, as well as the behavior staff at the Marin Humane Society. Brenda’s comments on canine communications are as valuable as the excellent images that form the bulk of the book.
Trish King, Behavior and Training Director of Marin Humane Society, author of Parenting Your Dog

Once I started reading it, it quickly became apparent that this book should be mandatory reading material for virtually every dog owner. Brenda’s description of the canine language and the contexts in which they occur is very well documented.
Ali Brown, author of Scaredy Dog! Understanding & Rehabilitating Your Reactive Dog

Author Brenda Aloff is a professional dog trainer specializing in problem behavior. A large part of her practice consists of dogs that have been referred to her when traditional training techniques have failed. She works with owners on re-socialization of fearful and aggressive dogs as well as teaching puppy socialization, competition obedience, conformation, tracking, back-packing, musical freestyle, and agility classes at Heaven On Arf Behavior and Training Center in Midland, Michigan. She is a member of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and The Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, Trainer’s Forum and several other breed and training organizations. Brenda travels all over the United States giving talks on canine aggression and learning theory.

What reviewers are saying...

“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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Customer Reviews
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Every dog owner needs a copy of this, November 28, 2005
Reviewer: Dianser
I finished this book last night. Today I'm going back over it. The pictures of real, non posed dogs are so helpful in understanding the behaviors that are being described. I have 3 GSDs and I'm having FUN watching them now that I have an idea of what they may be saying to each other. It is a book that I will keep handy and refer to often. The author's extensive knowledge and understanding of canine behavior is evident from the first page. One thing I like about Ms Aloff is that she does not talk down to her readers. She uses the 'big' words that accurately describe the situation. She doesn't 'dumb it down'. I love the photo essays. There are several that illustrate complex behaviors. There is just so much information in the book. Additionally, there is a quiz in the back so you can see if you really have learned anything! It is a treasure trove every dog owner should have.
Great book; poor editing, December 4, 2005
Reviewer: Mary Shannon
After 50+ years around dogs, I'm thrilled to have a book that explains their behaviors and helps me communicate better with my canine friends. On the other paw, if you can possibly wait for the second edition, do so--this edition has elements that are confusing. Either it was prematurely published with the manuscript still in the editor's inbox, or the publisher needs a new editor! Content and photos are five paws; editing zero.
Every Trainer Must Have, December 20, 2005
Reviewer: Robi - Ohio
What a great book. I reviewed my Christmas Present early and couldn't believe the photos. They capture everything that often happens before you can register it in real time. This will be a reference book for me when talking to dog owners about their dogs.
Editing correction needed, December 27, 2005
Reviewer: Helen Read
Received this book for Christmas, Have read it through and it is only Boxing Day. What a job to put his book together. well done. Excellent book and of great value to me; but some correction needed for accuracy in the editing. Tight lead means dog has ditched their owner - what a good way to say it.
Corrections needed:-
See top of page 38 reference to photos 7.9 & 7.10 should be 6.9 & 6.10.
See page 41 2nd paragraph should be in photo 7.1 not 8.1. Next sentence Here,In photo 8.2 should be 7.2.
Page 63 2nd paragraph 1st sentence should be photo 13.7 not #7 as printed.
Pg 238 Last sentence is incomplete and repeated on top of next page.
Pg 300 Last sentence belongs at bottom of next page.
Still a great book

Helen Read
This is a 'Must Have' For Any Dog Owner or Pro!, December 28, 2005
Reviewer: Gina Hayes
The photos alone are worth any dog owner/professional buying this book! There are many articles on Canine Body Language and what dogs are saying, but this is the most comprehensive tool on this subject. By doing such a spectacular job with the photos, Brenda has made reading dogs an easier task for anyone, from novice to experienced. I felt that even us 'old-timers' could learn from this book and use it as an educational tool for our clients.

Beyond the photos, Brenda's description of how dogs interact with each other and humans provides common sense knowledge that anyone in the dog world should know. Understanding why dogs look away from each other will certainly dispell a few myths. She has certainly taken the time to provide a comprehensive resource that has not been seen before.
I cannot recommend this book more highly.

Gina Hayes

International Association of Canine Professionals
Wow -- Informative Book, January 31, 2006
Reviewer: Caryl Wolff, www.DoggieManners.com
So much of dog behavior happens so quickly that it's often difficult to register what's about to happen, what's happening, or what's just happened. This book freezes it, photographs it, and explains it -- and shows how similar body postures or positions can mean different things depending on the context in which they occur. Despite some minor flaws, I would highly recommend this book to all dog trainers and dog owners/guardians.

In my personal library are hundreds of dog books. There is a small section that is reserved for the best ones. Canine Body Language has just joined that section.
Not what I hoped for, February 10, 2006
Reviewer: GA PH.D. clicker
I was disappointed with this book in several regards.

The quality of the printing is poor and it looks like the book was made with a photocopier.

At first it seemed to be catalogue of dog behavior (perhaps the foundation for an ethogram). The actual contents are not scientific, though, and the interpretations of behaviors seem anthropomorphic, and subjective to me (e.g. I doubt the concept of calming signals).

A more systematic, better documented, and factual approach to this subject would be interesting. Particularly if comparisons were made between different types of canines, e.g. feral dogs vs. domestic- herding dogs vs. coursing dogs, etc.
Have Calming Signals? You WANT this one too!, March 27, 2006
Reviewer: Tami Hawes
Okay, there are some editing errors. They can be a little confusing when they involve the photos but can easily be figured out. Brenda in her introduction even explains why some of these errors happened - her editor broke her arm and a friend looked things over. Brenda is in the process of fixing these in the next edition.

This is a MUST HAVE book for anyone who is interested in what their dog is communicating. This takes Turid's Calming Signals to the next level. The descriptions of the photos are helpful and the explanations of why some of the behaviors are multi-purpose enlightening.

I found myself pausing after each section and wanting to observe my dogs to see what I had learned. Even going back and looking at photos taken recently of group outings with a mixture of dogs I was seeing many of the same behaviors in the dogs. Very cool! Also enlightening to learn what I thought was a very relaxed dog gathering had a lot of signals being thrown around. Wow!

This is a book that you'll be referring back to often as you observe your dogs interacting with other dogs.

Thanks Brenda!
An Excellent Resource!, July 21, 2006
Reviewer: Cara, Austin Dog Trainer
I absolutely love this book! Although I don't agree with the author's interpretation all of the time, this book constantly has me thinking critically about our understanding of canine body language. It is also an amazing compilation of photos that you just can't find anywhere else. I highly recommend it to trainers or to owners who want/need to learn more about what their dog is saying.
Great read!, September 7, 2006
Reviewer: Mary Karner
Wow! This is one of the best dog books I've read in some time. Very informative & engaging. This is a BIG book, and I've devoured it in no time. It's truly made me observe the dogs around me in a whole new way, continually deciphering the hidden meaning behind their body language & behavior. You can't go wrong with this book!
Excellent guide just needs better pictures., September 11, 2006
Reviewer: Wes Anderson Indianapolis,IN
The only reason I didn't give 5 paws is the production quality.
When it said 'see the pupils' I was trying to find the eyes in the picture;-)
But the lower picture quality only affects a few of the discussions of the eye and face signals. The book is a great start on reading canine body language, however it’s limitation is the same as any book on the subject-i.e. it is static. I would recommend reading this book and complement it with something like THE LANGUAGE OF DOGS DVD SET by Sarah Kalnajs.
Outstanding, February 15, 2007
Reviewer: Teayl Johnson
Outstanding book. Filled with alot of pictures capturing dogs communicating through body language. Each picture came with a written interpretation of what the dogs were communicating to humans or other animals.
Great book for beginers, March 14, 2007
Reviewer: L.Hamaluk
I had attended an aggression seminar where the instructor had incouraged us to read more on the body language of our best friends andrecomended this read. I enjoyed the fact that it came with pictures because sometimes it can be hard to understand what to look for in just something that you have read. I think for a beginer that is just learning about body language in dogs, this is a great book to begin with!
Great for intructors!, June 20, 2007
Reviewer: Elizabeth Coburn
Very valuable for canine professionals no matter what part of the industry you are in. This books has prompted me to start my own collection of dogs interacting so that I may learn more. Would love it to be in color, and would pay for it!
Great Book, November 23, 2007
Reviewer: Cathy Shapiro
This is a great book for anyone interested in dog communication. The pictures and the descriptors are very thorough and easy to understand. This is especially helpful if you have a multi dog household. I've been able to defuse situations just by watching body their body language.
Best Book on Canine Language, January 10, 2008
Reviewer: Cheryl Schaeffer
This should be the bible for anyone wishing to learn to speak the language their dog speaks. I volunteer in a dog shelter and this book has made a world of difference. I've learned to mimic the language of the dogs and make strides with dogs. This is even more important for dog owners.

I can't recommend this book and this author more highly. It is outstanding!
Amazing Packed with Everything, January 20, 2008
Reviewer: Barb Mattson
Brenda Aloff is one of the best trainers today.

I don't care who you are, professional or pet lover or pet owner, this book belongs on your coffee table. It deserves a place on the top 10 best dog books ever written.

It will compliment any dog intelligence you may already have, and will enlighten those who tune in to their dog(s). Let me suggest that this book will make an excellent gift for giving or receiving. Add it to your wish list if you have not purchased one or two by now.

My book will be dog-eared in a few weeks after reading and re-reading.

Thank you Brenda Aloff for this excellent and invaluable reference book!
Well Done!, August 6, 2008
Reviewer: Vicki B
Despite a few typos, this book is really wonderful. It's written with a gentle humor and the information is invaluable for anyone who cares for a dog they way they should be cared for and that's by educating oneself in all things canine.
FANTASTIC RESOURCE!!, February 23, 2009
Reviewer: Anne C.
I've been using this book over and over again while observing classes and even while watching dogs in parks and on TV and find it to be a fabulous resource for ANYONE that owns a dog and wants to really see what they are saying!

Highly recommended for shelters, rescue folks and instructors.

I find myself referring to this book almost every time I interact with a dog to answer 'questions' I've asked myself!
Lots of pictures, October 21, 2010
Reviewer: DogCatcher
I bought this book because of the large library of pictures. It's a great teaching tool to have examples at the ready of subtle changes. If you familiarize yourself with the book it will be of great use but there are a lot of photos and commentary to wade through. It's like a research paper.
A Great Reference Book, December 1, 2010
Reviewer: K. M. H.
This is an excellent book. The pictures are all black-and-white and several are quite blurry, but they perfectly capture the dogs' expressions and Brenda Aloff explains those expressions in a detailed and clear way; she has a great eye for seeing small details and showing them to the reader. I highly recommend it.
LOVE it!, November 17, 2012
Reviewer: Martha Gonzalez
This is a book I plan to go over again and again because I'm sure to learn something new everytime I open it. It's an extremely helpful book in understand dogs. The pictures were all great and there were plenty to look at. I especially loved the author showing us picture by picture what was happening. This is great for training your eye to see the subtleties of dog language. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn more about what dogs are saying.
Very educational, August 29, 2013
Reviewer: Susan M.
I wanted clear illustration of the body language I've previously read about, and this book certainly didn't disappoint. The photos are well chosen and show behaviors clearly, and the accompanying explanation is informative without being overwhelming. I absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in gaining insight on the finer points of canine body language.

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