This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
On Talking Terms with Dogs
While the merits of such gadgets are dubious, the motivation for creating them is very real. There is an undeniable communication gap between dogs and humans, no matter how much we may love each other. The human filters we naturally apply would lead us to misinterpret or simply miss a lot of what our dogs are trying to express.
For me, a new door just opened on the mysterious world of dog-human communication, thanks to Norwegian dog trainer and behaviourist Turid Rugaas. I recently read her wonderful little book On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals (Yvonne, thanks for gifting it to me!) It was a real eye-opener and I am so impressed with it I want to recommend it to all dog owners. Turid Rugaas has done pioneering work in this field, inspired by her "childhood dream about talking to animals." She believes that dogs are conflict-solving creatures, and they use many signals to prevent aggression, and also to calm fear and stress in themselves and those they interact with. By using the same signals, we can solve many common behaviour problems in our dogs and really understand what they are trying to say.
I tried a couple of her suggestions on my sometimes boisterous Kimaya, and they worked beautifully. I'm looking at Lalee with new eyes too, wondering if I've misinterpreted some of her expressions and body language for so many years (of course, my husband believes I have!)
The book is very easy to read and illustrated with many photographs. I think all children of dog-owning families should be made to read it.
I am now going to order another book by Ms Rugaas, Barking: The Sound of a Language. The publisher for all her books is Dogwise Publishing, http://www.dogwise.com/
Incidentally, there is a very interesting chapter on dog "language" in Stephen Budiansky's book The Truth about Dogs.
Click here for an earlier post in this blog on useful books for dog lovers. And if there are any other books you have liked, please share the names with our readers - just post a comment below.