Things your Dog

  • Title: Things Your Dog Wants You To Know
  • Author: Laura Vissaritis
  • Publisher: Penguin Australia 2015
  • Description: What is it that your dog is trying to say . . . and are you listening? Expert dog behaviourist Laura Vissaritis (with able assistance from her bull terrier Chester) introduces Dognitive Therapy, an approach that teaches you how to understand the world from your dog’s point of view.

Insights into the canine mind combined with practical advice to solve common problems will help you bond with your dog in a whole new way. Your dog will be happier, healthier . . . and better behaved. If you want a smart dog, you’ve got to be a smart owner!

My Review: I bought this book because it has a dachshund on the cover, no really, as well as having a dachshund on the cover, I am interested understanding the behaviour of our dogs, especially Barney, our very special dog, who, most of the time is an enigma to us. He is literally the weirdest dog I’ve ever met. And the barking, seriously whats with all the barking?

One of the funniest things with Barney is that he never seems to have any idea of what he is supposed to be barking at most of the time. The other two dogs, Charlie and Rosie will bark at birds, noises, a lizard skittering past and Barney joins in like a normal dog would, but he is usually facing the wrong way, sometimes facing a brick wall, or simply staring off into the sky randomly barking, which we find hilarious. It’s like he knows he’s supposed to be barking with the other dogs, but he doesn’t know how to play the game. He regularly scratches the carpet over and over again, darting all over the rug as though he is trying to dig all the way to China, and when the doorbell goes he goes psycho and scratches at the wall beside our front door, taking off paint and now scratching the gyprock out.

So, what to do?

Saying NO, does nothing, picking him up is dangerous as he wiggles around like a lunatic and cannot be held, trying to nudge him back from the scratched wall with a foot, has resulted in our legs being bitten a couple of times. But he is cute and by far the cuddliest dog we’ve ever had. And smart, he organises all the begging for food, knows exactly when its dinner time, brings the water bowl out when its empty and drops it at our feet, and knows every single time – even when we cannot see anything – that there is something under the lounge. He will bark incessantly until we retrieve the mysterious item – and then he puts it back under there and barks till we get it out again. Such a fun game.

Both the younger dogs, Barney and Rosie bark constantly at visitors, which is frustrating, as they don’t just bark once when visitors arrive, they bark every time the visitor moves, over hours of a visit. WHY? I want to know WHY???

Charlie is the golden dog and other than the occasional poo in someone’s bedroom, he rarely puts a paw wrong.

In Things Your Dog Wants You To Know by Laura Vissaritis has page after page of gorgeous dogs, accompanied by a piece of sound advice for humans who want to know a little more about what their dogs are thinking, and a speech bubble comment from each dog. The author goes into a little more depth throughout the book, with the ‘Common Problems’ like, Socialisation, Digging, Anxious When Alone, Phobias, Aggression, Pulls on Lead, and Jumping Up. Included are beautiful glossy pages with even more beautiful dogs, cleverly photographed by Alex Cearns that capture the spirit of this strange beast – the dog and I find myself coming back again and again to flip through the pages.

Laura, a qualified dog behaviourist formulated ‘Dognitive Therapy’, a ‘philosophy of training that respects the unique dog-human relationship and focuses on the desires and needs that dogs and humans share, such as social cohesion, affection, acceptance, respect and, most importantly, leadership.’ To Laura, ‘dog training is not really about dogs, it is about people, and advocates thinking from the dogs perspective.

So, since flicking through Laura’s book, originally bought as a quick Christmas present, has sparked some ideas of how better to relate to our furry family, who mean the world to us. Am I surprised at the speech bubble coming from the three dachshunds in the book? No.

  1. ‘But I don’t really like other dogs.’
  2. ‘I’m all ears.’
  3. ‘I only do it because I know you’ll make me if I don’t.’


Visit Laura’s website to read ‘The 11 most Asked questions’ about ‘What’s my dog saying?’ Its a great read.

Buy Here: Penguin Australia / Booktopia / Boomerang Books / Dymocks / Amazon (eBook)


Laura V!about/cyx2

Author Bio: Laura Vissaritis (B.A., Post Grad Dip Ed., Melbourne Zoo., Cert III Dog Behaviour and Training NDTF) is Australian born qualified Dog Behaviourist and Trainer based in Melbourne. An expert in behaviour modification of aggressive dogs in particular, Laura has successfully helped countless owners and their dogs across the world.

Read more at Dognitive Therapy 



AWW2016I’ve read this book as part of the 2016 Australian Women Writers challenge. To read more about it – click HERE. To read about why I joined click HERE.



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