Book Review: Reaching the Animal Mind

By Jennifer Lueck

Book Review: Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us about All Animals by Karen Pryor

I’ve read a lot of dog training books in my life, but I’ve never read one that was a page turner… until now. Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor was absolutely fascinating and  really hard to put down! In this book, Pryor explains how she got into the business of training animals (as a favor to her husband) and how she ended up revolutionizing animal  training by introducing event markers (whistle, clicker, light, etc.) to communicate with animals.

She provides a lot of information, but she does it in an almost conversational way. The technical stuff is there, it’s just mixed in with anecdotes of the various animals she has worked with in her 40-year career. These animals include dolphins, whales, a hermit crab, a wolf, dogs, ponies, and even humans! She writes in the first chapter, “My goal is to show you the depth of awareness in many animals, not a special few; to identify the processes that can let you experience real communication with whatever animal is sitting in front of you; and finally, to show you how you can use reinforcement-based technology to reach and communicate with the nonverbal side of the human mind.”

If you’ve ever wondered how they train animals to do the things they do or want to develop a new method of communication with your dog and teach some exciting new behaviors in the process, this book is worth a read.