‘Making Animals Happy’: Book Review

by | Jul 24, 2017

In addition to learning hands on from people who work with dogs, there are also so many great books out there. Like any person or any book, we don’t need to agree 100% with their beliefs or with what is in a book. We do, though, need to seek out information that opens our minds and hearts and gets us to think and see the different perspectives out there and see how we can grow.

One book that makes a lot of incredible points and gives different perspectives is Making Animals Happy by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson. It’s not that I agree with everything in the book, but this book talks about basic principles that I don’t see talked about much, but can have the greatest impact on changing how we treat dogs and all animals. Most people out there are focused more on obedience training methods, but don’t really get at such foundational concepts even though once you experience these thoughts you realize they are basic yet so much more important.

I love the first chapter that is about what animals need to have a good life and be happy in terms of what they need to have a good mental life. It really makes you think and puts things into perspective. Five freedoms they need are listed and they are all important and impact each other, but the two freedoms that are the most difficult for us to provide are the freedom to express normal behavior and the freedom from fear and distress. As mentioned in the book, normal behavior for dogs would be to roam many miles a day, but this isn’t allowed or acceptable in most places. And providing freedom from fear and distress in dogs is complicated in the way that we don’t truly know all of the different emotions dogs experience and don’t always know what they are experiencing and when. In addition, the various environments dogs are forced to experience to fit into our human way of life causes fear and distress.

So, I highly recommend this book as the various perspectives it gives about different animals is all truly relevant and gets you to realize how much there is to consider and learn. Like with any great book, I read this book over from time to time as I always pick up on something every time I read it and some of this is because I have grown and can better take in the information. Reading books like this over and over also reminds us of basic concepts that we need to be reminded about. We over complicate dogs and don’t always consider what they truly need to have a good mental life.

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