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The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell

November 2nd, 2007, 07:19 PM
WOW - what a great book! I've only just started Chapter 7 but what I've read so far is pretty amazing. This book really confirms what I've come to believe - that "punishment" training just isn't right. The author has based her strategies on the wolf pack and gives really good examples of how humans can adopt the same behaviours to change our dogs' behaviours.

I really like where she's coming from.

Has anyone else read this book? Any comments?

November 4th, 2007, 10:39 AM
I read this book because I knew Monty Roberts supported her... I found it very disappointing to say the least.

It was about authoritative alpha wolf pack nonesense that has been disregarded for a long time. All of these alpha beliefs come from studies done on wolf packs in the 1940's... These were done with captive wolves and they were not from the same pack (they'd been trapped and lumped together from different packs). But on top of that, we take observations amongst wolves and think it apply's to dog-human relationships??? We aren't just jumping from one genus to another, we are now jumping species.

I remember her constantly saying that ignoring your dog when there is a seperation is how you assert leadership. So until your dog "submits" by lying down on its side, you are to ignore him (and this is for life, you never stop this:rolleyes:).... Or that by eating a cracker before your dog eats he/she will know you are leader. And there is no tugging because the dog may realize he is stronger than you (and here she demonstrates her lack of well-roundedness because her suggestion is to play ball/retrieve - uuhhh not something that turns on every dog).
Her chapter on "dog-dog aggression" was very frustrating for me. She uses flooding and attempts to use a "positive association" after that which was ridiculous (she handled this case very poorly IMO).

I will say that she takes a non-aggressive approach to being dominant (which is better than some) but I don't find her ideas to be original, insightful or effective.

November 4th, 2007, 12:44 PM
I read almost to the end of the book - and I, too, found some very odd instructions. The eating a cracker while the dog is watching you seems to be to be a little off the wall but some of the stuff I think is pretty good. I do leave and return from my dogs with no fuss, no bother and I do wait for a minute or two until I acknowledge them - this isn't an alpha thing, it's just what I do - mostly because I want to be able to walk away and close the gate without dogs crashing to get out and when I come in I often have groceries or whatever to put down - then I acknowledge the dogs.

I disagree with the "no tugging" with your dog too - I've played tug with both my dogs and they and I enjoy it - ergo - we keep doing it.

I didn't realize she was taking her examples from "tamed" wolves... egad... Dogs do have a pack instinct though and when working with dogs, that has to be considered. I am rethinking the separation anxiety she mentioned - she noted that the dog is worried because it thinks it is Alpha and destroys things in frustration - worry about it's pack... That may have some merit but it will take me a while of observation and thinking to either accept it or reject it.

The author's persistence in mentioning calmness is a good thing...

When I was about half-way through the book I was starting to skip pages and jump ahead - and I did lose some of my enthusiasm for the book about then too - but it does have some good points in it. The problem is for a new dog owner, how to know the good points from the bad.

I did notice she frequently states that when she goes to a new dog for a session she "impresses the dog with her Alpha status" but she never says how she does this... hmm

October 29th, 2008, 04:17 AM
I know that this thread was started like a gazillion ages ago, but I was on google, and I found it again, and I was just posting o say that it was actually this thread (on google) which lead me to the pet forum. :rolleyes:

Also I wanna say, I am all for Jan Fennell and her work:thumbs up

February 4th, 2009, 03:26 PM
Jan's methods are great. I have taken both her foundation and advanced courses. I have been helping dogs come to peace in the human world for three years and it just amazes me every time I see the dog just stop and relax. If anyone is interested Jan will be teaching courses in the Northeast US in April 2009. Info is on her website.

Louise Pay
February 14th, 2009, 04:47 PM
This is a great book. Jan Fennell helps dogs, and their owners all over the world. If you have a dog please read this book.

April 8th, 2011, 06:41 PM
Well well, talking about Jan Fellen heim?
Curiosly I have finished yesterday... :D (hip hip hurrey for Morty Roberts and his son Tony!)


I allways have hear that the moment of playing is when we sometimes see

some educational problems. For example: when the dog is coming showing a toy in his mouth I knew that isnīt inviting me for to play, he show his toy like his trofeu, his grate medal like "I want to play with this ball now! Because I'm the alph and now it's to play now!"

One think wich I have read in the book of Jan Fellen, is when one dog are playng to the get the ball she says if the dog don't return the ball it's a sine of grate audacity.

In this situation what we do? We fake that we don't want to play or just take the toy from his mouth and stop the playing like who is saying "that's enouth!"?

By the way, she says to for never enter in draw games because the dog could think that he is the boss and he is the strongest one? But

April 8th, 2011, 09:15 PM
Really OLD POST........

April 12th, 2011, 06:34 AM
It's not old, she has make a new edition recently sow the topic is recently again.