BOOKS: The Heartbeat at Your Feet

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2013:

The Heartbeat at Your Feet:
A Practical, Compassionate
New Way to Train Your Dog
by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
(4501 Forbes Blvd., Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706), 2012.
180 pages, hardcover or e-book. $32.00 in either format.

The Heartbeat at Your Feet is advertised as “the first book to
reveal how you can fully understand and communicate with dogs and how
you can easily eliminate any behavior problems based on new information
about animal behavior.”

I don’t agree. There are many excellent dog training books.
But no matter how many books one reads, some dogs are a cinch to train,
while others are problematic. Merely reading and even memorizing
training manuals will not erase the effects of years of abuse and/or
neglect, and turn a scared dog who barks uncontrollably, digs up the
yard, and lunges at neighbors into a model show dog.
Author Lisa Tenzin-Dolma styles herself a “canine
psychologist” in promotional materials for The Heartbeat at Your Feet,
The Dog Helpline, which she founded, and the International School of
Canine Psychology, of which she is director. Tenzin-Dolma is author of
a previous how-to about dogs, Adopting A Rescue Dog, and has worked
with a variety of dog rescue charities.
Tenzin-Dolma is probably at least as well-known, however, as
an author of self-help books, and books about tarot and “healing
mandalas.” She also promotes herself as a singer/songwriter.
Under the hat of dog expert, Tenzin- Dolma offers helpful but
conventional training information and insights into dog behavior.
A chapter about body language and communication will help those
who know little about canine behavior. Yes, dogs do become depressed,
mostly when separated from their families or when they lose a canine
partner. Shelter dogs are often depressed.
Tenzin-Dolma discusses the usual training topics such as leash
walking, house training, whether to adopt or buy from a breeder, and
sit/stay. She does a nice job of discussing canine behaviors such as
food guarding, nipping, and growling then how to handle them. She
reminds the reader that the way to shape a dog’s positive behavior is
through rewards, not punishment. There are times to tell a dog “no,”
and to use sharp words and/or leash corrections to discourage
misdeeds, but positive reinforcement is the basis for all humane
compassionate dog training.
The Heartbeat at Your Feet has no pictures or sketches that
might help a new owner to comprehend a training technique, but ample
case studies from personal experience are provided.
Concludes Tenzin-Dolma, “Sharing your life with a dog(s)
should be fun.” Her final chapter is about games for owners and dogs.
An exercised dog is a happy dog.

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