Your Dog Is your Mirror

Your Dog Is your Mirror

The Emotional Capacity of Our Dogs and Ourselves

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Argues that dogs respond to human emotions and feelings, rather than words or actions, and explains how this theory can be employed to help dogs behave, as well as help dog owners gain insight into their own, human emotions. By the author of Natural Dog Training.

Perseus Publishing
In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to its owner based on what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions.

Behan was originally trained under the dominance theory by his father, John Behan, one of the first in America to make dog training a career. But he eventually came to believe that what made the modern dog trainable was not the dominance hierarchy but the dog’s ability to work as a cooperative group member in the hunt. This ability then evolved into an emotional capacity that perfectly complements human emotion.

Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.

Book News
Contending that the special bond between dogs and their owners forms a "group mind," a Vermont-based dog trainer Behan (Natural Dog Training) focuses on what the species have in common and how to decode what the evolved behavior of dogs reveals to us about ourselves. He contends that their reflection of our emotions is the real reason that we share our lives with them. The book includes a bibliography and recommended reading. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Introduces the theory that a dog's behavior and emotion are driven by human emotion and dogs can be used to help their owners get in touch with their own feelings.

Publisher: Novato, Calif. : New World Library, [2011]
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9781577316961
Branch Call Number: 636.7 Behan 2011
Characteristics: xxxiii, 309 pages ; 24 cm


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Jun 22, 2013

Good read though I didn’t agree with everything said. Very useful and a top recommendation for people wanting to get a dog. Reader beware.

Oct 15, 2011

Strange, but sort of interesting. I only got half way through before I had to return the book, but I won't bother requesting it again. I love the premise, but found myself wildly disagreeing with some of his basic philosophy (that dogs are emotion only, and have no rationality -- that's not my experience, and it's not what research shows). However, I was hoping to get something useful and usable out of his approach, and though I felt the tendrils of an idea, I didn't have anything to hold on to by half way through the book.


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