Despite coevolving with dogs for thousands of years, we have only scratched the surface of understanding how canines learn, think, and feel. Using her many years of experience and the newest research, Stilwell (It’s Me or the Dog) has compiled an excellent primer on how these animals experience and process the world around them. The book is divided into two parts: the first does an excellent job explaining dogs’ senses, while the second outlines the meanings behind canine body language and vocalizations. Crucially, Stilwell explains why punitive training doesn’t work and actually damages the connection between human and pet, while positive teaching increases the bond making for not only a more balanced dog but a deeper connection. She goes on to debunk the dominance theory. Importantly, Stilwell explains how breed differences can affect learning. For instance, a hound will be more likely to be motivated by scent than a pug. The book is richly illustrated and includes a number of training tips. VERDICT This is an excellent introduction to dog behavior and encouragement, appropriate for all readers.

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