We love our dogs and do our very best to provide a home and an environment that will make them happy. So why are so many showing signs of stress?
Theoretically, a dog has nothing to worry about; his food and shelter are provided for, and he is not exposed to external dangers that threaten his survival. But dog behaviourists have never been in so much demand as they try to rehabilitate dogs who are showing undesirable behaviour – becoming over-dependent, frightened or even aggressive – as they try to adapt to the lifestyle we are imposing on them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In Listen to Me!, behaviourist Tricia Hollingshead focuses on the domestic setting and the everyday interactions between the dog and his family, which include:
• Greeting rituals
• Attention seeking behaviours
• Going for walks
• Meeting other dogs
• Encounters with strangers
Using close observation, backed up by extensive experience of interpreting canine communication, she shows us how to pick up on vital clues that tell us how a dog is feeling. By gathering evidence in this way, we can make small but important changes in the way we behave with our dogs. We can give a dog space when he needs it, we can become more sensitive when we show affection, or change our routine to avoid back chaining and the build-up of stress and anxiety. Simple things – but they can make a major difference to a dog’s mental wellbeing.
Illustrated with some 200 top-quality colour photographs, which will help you become expert in picking up emotional clues, Listen to Me! provides ground-breaking material which will have a significant impact on the way we treat our dogs.
Tricia Hollingshead is a behaviourist who has spent a lifetime working with dogs in their domestic settings. She has her own home boarding/rehabilitation business which has given her the opportunity to observe a wide variety of dogs, and discover how they adapt, negotiate and find ways of coping with modern life.