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Book Review: The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell

Updated on November 7, 2010

Barking, lunging is often due to fear

 cautious canines, adry,
cautious canines, adry,

The book that changed many lives

The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears
The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears

So many behavioral problems in dogs result from fear, but fear-based problems can become worse if treated incorrectly. This booklet provides a step-by-step dog training program of desensitizing and counter classical conditioning. It can help you solve minor dog problems and prevent serious ones, whether your dog's fears include the vacuum cleaner, people with hats, or the stranger at the door. Covered are the oh-so-important details related to identifying exactly what triggers your dog, creating a step-by-step treatment plan, monitoring your progress, and why you need to treat the fear and not just your dog's reaction to the fear. This book is on the "Top- Ten" of Dogwise's Dog Training Book Catalog, and has helped thousands of dogs and their owners around the country.


There are not many detailed step by step books out there explaining how to solve common behavioral problems in dogs. The Cautious canine, by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Patricia McConnell may look like a little book, but its contents can be a big help for owners of cautious dogs. I have personally used Patricia McConnell's advice from this book to apply the techniques on one of my dogs and then started using it to solve behavioral problems in my client's dogs. I highly recommend it to owners seeking a solution for their cautious canines.

A cautious dog, is simply a dog that is fearful of its surroundings. While being cautious, may mean the dog will be extremely alert on walks, startling at every sight or noise, it can unfortunately also mean a dog that turns fearful aggressive towards people or other dogs. Owning a cautious dog that feels the need to act out defensively when confronted with a stranger can be a big problem.

Often such dogs are confused for being aggressive, while in reality all they are doing is acting out of fear. They simply go into fight mode when they feel there are no escape routes. Lunging towards people that frighten them is really a big bluff. These dogs notice quickly that when they lunge, the person leaves and therefore they feel like they have accomplished something.

Once this behavior pattern is repeated over and over it gets stronger and stronger. The fearful dog therefore starts to use it each and every time it encounters something that frightens him or her. The owners at that point are quite desperately seeking help but do not know how to approach this problem. A dog trainer or dog behaviorist may be consulted, or if the owner is low on finances, he may try to solve the problem itself.

Patricia McConnell's book ''The Cautious Canine'' may come to the rescue if dog owners are willing to put into practice her valuable advice. No behavioral problems will fix themselves on their own and the owner will have to put some effort in them. While there are no guarantees your dog's behavioral problem will solve using her techniques, it is worth trying them. I have obtained great results so far. The only problem I encounter is when owners are not willing to put enough time and effort into continuing them.


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    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      We have a dog that is "shy" as described by the rescue people.I'll have to look this book up at the library.