Asheville dog expert and author Kim Brophey thinks we make a mistake when we treat our dogs like pets and wants to correct the situation. That’s why she wrote “Meet Your Dog.”
In 249 color coded pages, Brophey explains why she thinks we have been viewing dogs incorrectly. Then she lays out in detail her science-based system for interacting with our dogs as they really are, rather than as we think they are, or think they should be.
Brophey is the owner of The Dog Door dog behavior center and store in downtown Asheville, but that is just a small part of her credentials as a canine behavior expert. She has spent years studying dogs from a scientific viewpoint, and actually earned a degree in applied ethology, which is the study of the behavior of animals kept in homes, farms or zoos. Her studies led her to conclude that conventional dog “training” methods fail to take a dog’s true nature and genetic hard wiring into account. Brophey’s system is called Dog L.E.G.S.®. The letters stand for Learning, Environment, Genetics and Self, the components that combine to create each dog’s unique identity.
“Dogs are dogs, not little people,” Brophey emphasizes. They will do what they were bred to do, even if the job they were bred for basically doesn’t exist anymore. Sight hounds will still chase, herding dogs still herd, and guard dogs still protect, even if they don’t have to.
The LEGS system has been adopted by the Asheville Humane Society (AHS) because it promises to help them create more successful adoptions by reducing the number of adopted pets returned to the shelter due to behavioral problems. LEGS helps AHS better match dogs and adopters by, for example, placing active animals with adopters who have active lifestyles. The LEGS system also helps AHS provide realistic expectations to potential adopters about how a particular dog might/might not fit in with their family and lifestyle.
In addition to AHS, Asheville’s Canine Social Club has joined with Brophey in the formation of the National Dog L.E.G.S. Association. The group hopes to promote the wider and faster adoption of this new way of looking at human-dog interaction.
“Meet Your Dog” is divided into color-coded chapters that even an editor can understand. After introducing the overall LEGS concept, Brophey explains each component part in greater detail. Chapter Two, edged in yellow, covers Learning and Chapter Three, edged in green, covers Environment. Chapter Four, the longest, is edged in red and clearly covers ten groups of dogs. For each group, Brophey discusses heritage, function, genetics, and a key concept motivating its behavior. Readers will be given new understanding and new, actionable insights into why their dogs do what they do.
Brophey will have a book signing at Malaprops Bookstore/Café on Wednesday, June 13 at 6pm. If you really want to meet your dog, go.