BOOKS: Your Dog is Your Mirror

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2011:

Your Dog is Your Mirror:
The Emotional Capacity of Our Dogs and Ourselves
by Kevin Behan
New World Library (14 Pameron Way, Novato, CA 94949), 2011.
304 pages, hardcover. $23.95.

Dog trainer Kevin Behan draws from his lengthy training
career to present Your Dog is Your Mirror: The Emotional Capacity of
Our Dogs and Ourselves, his second book.

Behan has spent his whole life around dogs. His father,
John Behan, founded Canine College in Manhattan during the 1930s,
popularized the idea of having dogs professionally trained by
teaching an old dog a new trick each week for the radio show Borden
County Fair, and wrote a book, The Dogs of War, about his
experiences training dogs for the U.S. Army K-9 Corps in World War
II. Post-war, John Behan relocated Canine College to West Redding,
Connect-icut, and renamed it New Tricks for Old Dogs. He continued
training dogs until two years before his death in 1991.
Kevin Behan founded his own training kennel, Canine Arts in
Brookfield, Connecticut, and now trains dogs on a 60-acre farm near
Newfane, Vermont. He has developed numerous theories about dogs,
some well-known and some perhaps oversimplifications of the many
influences on dog behavior. For example, Kevin Behan writes that
dogs are able to sniff out cancer because the victims are “leaking”
energy. According to Kevin Behan “dogs are extremely attracted to
potential energy that radiates from any being.”
Behan also says dogs defend their people if strangers attack
them, and are unsettled if family members roughhouse, because they
are reacting to “ungrounded energy.”
Behan apparently also credits some dogs with learning to tell
time. On one occasion, for example, his alarm clock failed but his
German shepherd nudged him out of bed about when the clock was
supposed to ring.
Some aspects of Behan’s teaching should be of concern to the
humane community. Earlier in his career, he imported German shepherd
puppies from Germany. German shepherds and German shepherd mixes
were at that time the dogs most commonly available from animal
All animal shelters and many veterinarians recommend that
dogs and cats be sterilized, not only to reduce pet overpopulation
but also to improve the animals’ health. Among male dogs, for
instance, neutering reduces the chances of the dog contracting
prostate cancer, wandering, and behaving aggressively. Spayed
females are at a lower risk of contracting breast cancer. Behan,
however, believes male dogs should not be neutered, setting him on
a collision course with the shelter community, including veterinary
and training partners. –Debra J. White

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.