The Other End of the Leash -- Patricia McConnell
I have been doing lots and lots of reading where I'm not working or driving anymore. I haven't been recording the books here as I otherwise normally would, and truthfully, if I didn't get a start on it I wouldn't get around to it (much like my journal-ish posts) so the next few posts will most likely be of the bookish persuasion.
I find that dog literature is a difficult section of the library or bookstore to navigate. Much like parenting, the gamut has been covered for every style of selecting, raising, training, rehabilitating, and understanding our canine friends. Oftentimes, in my experience, I find that much of the literature is dumbed down to "Learning 101"and while I can appreciate the information presented in a syntax that is accessible, I don't enjoy reading on the levels of an 8th grader when I'm looking for real insight or solid information. Couple this with the previously mentioned spectrum of literature available and one faces the difficult task of finding an author with similar views and values AND who writes on a level and in a style that is digestible and enjoyable. It's not an easy task and has required some research. Our luck started with finding The Other End of the Leash which has lead us to much more material in the vein we were searching for. With our recent emotional, monetary, and time investment with dog training, it's no wonder that Darling and I are both on the lookout for literature to enhance our knowledge and backup our efforts, the interest in the subject matter should have made itself apparent on this blog long ago.
Written in a style not unlike the pop psychology work of Malcolm Gladwell that I read last year (Blink, The Outliers) McConnell presents personal stories as an Applied Animal Behaviorist, sheep hearder, and dog trainer to illustrate and single out behavior traits, and then backs them up with well researched scientific data. This she presents in a work which acts as an information bridge between the two worlds of scientific journalists/phd types and the general dog loving public. The premise of the book is to further understand the ways in which canines and primates are both similar and different. Understanding ourselves (at the other other end of the leash) as a species and the patterns by which we and other primates physically and emotionally respond to stimuli and comparing that data to the ways in which canines receive and process data, and communicate in their own right. It was both an easy and fascinating book that I read in 2 days. A membership to the Brooklyn library and the reference section in the back of this book has Darling and I in a reading frenzy. For dog lovers, owners, and enthusiasts--it comes with a recommendation.