Reprinted with permission of the author, Susan Fox
Excerpts from original article that appeared in ATRA Aire-Mail, August 2008

I’m Hannah McMain and I’m Piper Fox’s cousin and best friend. Most importantly, I’m also an Honorary Member of the Fox Clan! I’ve been inducted into the family and even have my very own Fox toy. What I want to do here is help Piper out with book recommendations for her article. You see, I know books cuz I used to devour them. The ones I really wanted were the ones that my Mom made sure were way out of my reach. Those are the really good reads. The ones that tell ALL our secret ways – you know, like why we do the stuff we do and how to learn all about us as a species. I wanted these books cuz then I could impress everybody, but Mom said I didn’t need these cuz I already know these things and the hoomans don’t. She said us dogs were the smarter ones. Well, I’m off to play with my Fox toy and I leave you with my Mom, Kat, to tell you about her favorite books.

If a Dog’s Prayers Were Answered, Bones Would Rain From the Sky:
Deepening Our Relationships With Dogs by Suzanne Clothier

This is a wonderful book to read. It’s been a while since I’ve read it but I will always remember the feeling of a deeper understanding for my Airedales. This in turn resulted in a better relationship with them. I realized that I had to ease up on being adamant with training methods and to be more flexible; to be more of a “friend” than an alpha being; to be more benevolent and understanding. Suzanne teaches us to see from the dogs’ point of view and how they figure us out. She plants the seed of a benevolent and trusting relationship. It is an epiphany to experience and brings a whole new aspect to the relationship between us and our dogs. Underneath all her stories and experiences lies a special understanding between the two species – us and dogs.

The one story I remember and will always take with me is the story of Angel. She was a dog that would bolt and run if given the slightest opportunity. The way Suzanne worked with this dog opened my eyes up to that benevolent and trusting partnership and understanding that I had forgotten about. In the world of common and popular training methods that seem to be the standards of training, she brings an inherent aspect of a connecting spirit from the core of our being that has been tossed to the way side far too long. It allows training from the heart...not the mind...that makes for a trusting and benevolent partnership, which in turn makes for deeper relationships with our beloved Airedales.

The Other End Of The Leash:
Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

For the Love Of A Dog:
Understanding Emotion In You And Your Best Friend

and all books by Patricia McConnell.

I own and have read all books by Patricia McConnell. She reinforces what I’ve learned from Suzanne’s book. Patricia’s stories are wonderful and she makes it clear how we are on the other end of the leash. It is eye opening to realize how the dogs perceive us. We tend not to put ourselves in their paws hence we don’t see ourselves the way they do. That makes for an all around better understanding of our relationships with our dogs. There are plenty of advice and methods and stories to draw from in all of McConnell’s books. I started out with The Other End of the Leash and quickly devoured all her other books. I couldn’t get enough. But I can say that both authors have forever instilled in me a wonderful understanding that is beyond words to explain. I now see “both” ends of the leash and I have come away from these readings a much better leader in this Pack I belong to. Both authors serve to add that very important aspect of understanding and connection to the training methods out there. It makes the partnership and relationship whole.

That’s my take on these books. I’ve read other books but these two authors are the only ones I would highly recommend. Their work is the foundation that all training should be based on. You’ll be in for a treat with these readings.

Kat McMain
kmcmain@bellarmine.edu

Did you know that you can get these books on Amazon.com and a percentage of your purchase will be donated back to National Airedale Rescue?  Just click here and start shopping!

Happy reading
Piper Fox

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Each year several hundred Airedales find their way into rescue and begin new lives.  Because of the generous support of donors like you, National Airedale Rescue, Inc. is able to assist with the financial needs of Airedale rescue organizations throughout the United States and Canada each year so these great dogs continue to find loving homes.  We appreciate your donations!

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