03/01/2004 at 01:00 AM EST
THE DOG LISTENER What is your dog telling you? England's Jan Fennell, 55, who has worked with dogs for over 30 years, says she understands their thoughts in The Dog Listener. She spills Snoopy's secrets to PEOPLE.
UNDERSTAND DOG MOTIVES When Rover chews the furniture while you're away, then slobbers all over you when you walk in, it doesn't mean he misses you. "He's saying, Thank God you're not dead/" says Fennell. "The dog panics if he believes he's responsible for you. He's on duty 24/7."
BE THE BOSS Ignore your tail-wagging pooch when you first come home. "People find this one very hard," Fennell says. "But you need to walk past your dog and wait till it calms down. It's showing the dog you're the leader."
GIVE HIM SPACE Her dog Barmie was so shy that he would hide under tables. "I resisted the temptation to shower him with love and affection," Fennell says. Instead, she let Barmie set his own pace, and even when he began approaching her, Fennell wouldn't touch him. After about a month, he came out of his shell.
EAT FIRST Dogs are pack animals whose leader gets first crack at the grub. So let Rex watch you eat before feeding him. "He is in fact a wolf," Fennell says. "He may be little and shaggy, but he's a wolf."