Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Language of Dogs by Justin Silver with David Donnenfeld-Review and Author Interview

How is your relationship with your dog? Do you understand his behavior and what he needs? How are his manners? If you want to improve on any of these topics, it might be a good idea to read Justin Silver's new book, The Language of Dogs.

In the book, Justin and his co-writer & business partner, David Donnenfeld, share their first-hand knowledge about dogs so the average pet parent can easily train a dog to be on its best behavior, be social, and be safe. These guys know their stuff; their full-service dog care company (also named The Language of Dogs) offers training, walking, and pet-sitting services. Dogs are their life. You may also recognize Justin from the CBS show Dogs In The City.

The Language of Dogs isn't a dry how-to. Since Justin is also a comedian, his humor comes through in his writing making the reader feel like one of their buddies is helping them to get their dog to behave. At the same time, he is able to convey the importance of training a dog properly. He explains the terms he uses in training so the reader can follow along without confusion. He then gives step-by-step instructions on how to train different behaviors. Near the end of the book, Justin touches on some common behavioral issues and discusses how to handle them with the training techniques he explained previously. He gives real world examples of dogs he has actually trained, making it even more understandable.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the directions Justin gave. I felt like I could read the book, then use the training tips on my dog without having to reference the book at every step. It was sensible and cohesive. There were also some phrases that really stuck with me. My favorite was when he pointed out that "Boredom is an enemy for both dogs and kids." You can add cats to that as well! If a pet parent doesn't give their pet enough to do, the pet will find something for themselves. You can bet it won't be what you want them to do.

Another great phrase Justin wrote was "Keep it fluffy." In other words, don't feel so uptight about training your dog. Be enthusiastic and have fun.

I got to speak with Justin after I finished the book. I was hoping to hear that there was going to be a book tour, but there is not. He's quite busy with the dog care business, which leads him to live a bi-coastal life-some time in New York and some in Los Angeles.

More than once he described his abilities to train dogs as a gift. He seems to be humbled by the fact that he does what he loves and is good at it. He doesn't have formal training, but his clients don't mind. He has skills and abilities that work, plus an attitude that keeps him open-minded about changing techniques if necessary. He told me that he has had clients with PhD's in animal behavior. When the theory that they know so well doesn't work, they go to him (sometimes a bit skeptical). The thing is, they need someone with a "touch", someone with real-world experience. When he is successful with their dogs, he feels validated.

You can check out Justin and his business at You can also find him on social media by searching for IamJustinSilver on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I was given a copy of the book The Language of Dogs at no cost from Fetching Communications & PetPR for my honest review. All of the thoughts reflected here are mine.