Born to Bark
My Adventures With An Irrepressible and Unforgettable DogBook - 2010
So begins Born to Bark , the charming new memoir by psychologist and beloved dog expert Stan Coren of his relationship with an irrepressible gray Cairn terrier named Flint. Stan immediately loved the pup for his friendly nature and indefatigable spirit, though his wife soon found the dog's unpredictable exuberance difficult to deal with, to say the least.
Even though Flint drove Stan's wife up the wall, he became the joy of Stan's life. The key to unlocking this psychologist-author's way of looking at dog behavior, Flint also became the inspiration behind Coren's classic, The Intelligence of Dogs . Undeterred by Flint's irrepressible behavior (and by the breeder's warning that he might be untrainable), Coren set out to prove that his furry companion could pass muster with the best of them. He persevered in training the unruly dog and even ventured into the competitive circles of obedience trials in dog shows, where Flint eventually made canine history as the highest-scoring Cairn terrier in obedience competition up to that time. (Stan chose not to tell his wife that the highest-ranking obedience dog of that year, a border collie, earned a total score that was fifty times higher.)
The longest-running popular expert on human-dog bonding, Coren has enlivened his respected books and theories about dogs with accounts of his own experiences in training, living with, loving, and trying to understand them. A consummate storyteller, Coren now tells the wry, poignant, goofy, and good-hearted tale of his life with the dog who (in the words of his own book titles) taught him How to Speak Dog and How Dogs Think and whose antics made him ask Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Illustrated with Coren's own delightful line drawings and photos, and interwoven with his heartfelt anecdotes of other beloved dogs from his earlier life, Born to Bark is an irresistible good dog/bad dog tale of this extraordinary, willful pooch and his profound impact on his master's insights into canine behavior as a research psychologist and on his outlook on life as a whole.
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I once had a pair of adult students taking my course, one of whom was a convict on parole who was trying to get a college degree to start a new life, while the other was his parole officer. The parole officer enrolled in my section of the course initially to monitor whether his client was actively working on his education. He also seemed a little upset by the fact that the convict was earning higher grades than he was.
Training an exuberant Cairn terrier pup can be exhausting and, if you lack a sense of humor, frustrating. For the first 2 weeks or so, Flint was a little whirlwind, twirling at the end of my leash. Being surrounded by so many dogs and so much activity revved him up. He wanted to touch noses and play with all the dogs in the class.
If you read the genetic code of a terrier it would say, “bark-eat-bark-dig-bark-chase-bark-grab-bark-hunt-bark-kill it (if it is little, furry, and moves quickly)-bark-growl-bark-tug-bark-shred-bark-ignore sounds from two-footed creatures-bark-bark . . .”
Two people living together for any period of time without having an occasional spat suggests a lack of spirit and independent thinking that would not be admired even in sheep.
in many ways, the average dog’s mind is equivalent to that of a human child age two to two-and-half years. That one insight explains a lot about dog behavior.
Many dog training theories do not take into account the stubbornness and tenacity of terriers . . .
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