I received my last two books today (no seriously, they are my last because I have no money left in the ‘buy books’ fund) and they are Turid Rugaas’ “On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals” and Brenda Aloff’s “Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide”. And I only bought them because they were both 50% off on Dogwise because they were shopworn. (Except that they both seem to be in perfect condition to me so score!)

Rugaas’ book is very short with lots of pictures. I have already learned all these signals from other books but it’s nice to have them all in one place as a short go-to guide. The thing that is irritating me about the book is how she has stories about dogs who have dog-dog problems. These dogs come to meet her and her ‘magic’ dog who gives them calming signals and then 10 minutes later this dog is running around with 10 other dogs, happy as can be. I guess living with a reactive dog means I come at this from a particular place but really – if your dog has issues so severe you are taking him to see a behaviourist, chances are your dog is not fixed from one meeting with a well spoken, clearly enunciating dog.

I’m looking forward to looking through Aloff’s book. I already have her photographic guide to aggressive dogs which has been helpful. When I told Dana, my agility instructor, that I was getting Aloff’s book she told me that the owner of the dog daycare she works at got the book so the employees could learn more and then she invited me to come watch the dogs at the daycare one day! I’m really excited about that because now that I understand dog language better I find it fascinating to watch.

I did a bit of training tonight with the gang. I admit that I am lazy about doing regular training but I want Bosco to learn the basics and of course Maia has to get equal time. Bosco and I worked on eye contact when I said his name, ‘doggy zen’ (not taking treats until told ok), and me handling his paws in preparation for nail clipping. Maia and I worked on her head bob, her 2o2o contacts for agility (we use the bottom of the stairs) and also handling her paws. Dana can clip Maia’s nails no problem but I would like to get to the point where I can do it as well.

Funny moment of the evening: Bosco was playing with a squeaky Cuz and he kept bringing it over to me to throw it for him. He dropped it on the ground but lost sight of it and decided that my mandarin orange, unpeeled and sitting on the coffee table, was a good substitute. Funny boy!

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