Posts Tagged ‘How Dogs Think’

4th June
2009
written by Tony
I think therefor I... squirrel! Squirrel squirrel!

I think therefore I... squirrel! Squirrel squirrel!

The title pretty much sums up what this book is all about. This is really a book more for someone who wants to deal with the roots of canine behavior as they apply to various research endeavors and some very limited physiology. I’m not sure that this book will make you into a master trainer or give you insight into how to finally get that damn dog to play dead somewhere other than on the bed. I have done quite a bit of studying into the topic of how to make a dog behave the way you want it to and had seen or heard pretty much every approach. This book served to confirm what I had already learned: dogs learn best through positive reinforcement. Punishment, trial and error, training by chance, training by denial, all these methods can work, but are far from the most effective. This also reinforced some other basic points about dogs, among which is the fact that they are social, and want to be near us. This topic did contain some nice insight, mainly that when a dog gets old, and its mobility is compromised, either because of its joints or because it has lost one or more of its senses, it is important to strive to make sure the dog still feels like part of the group to stave off depression. Apart from the above tidbits, there was mostly a litany of evidence pointing to the idea that dogs are probably a lot more cognizant of their surroundings and themselves than we give them credit for. While Coren tiptoes around really coming down for the idea of a self-aware dog,  he certainly presents a string of anecdotes, studies and confirmatory evidence that suggests he wouldn’t be too troubled to say that our dogs are closer mentally to ourselves than many would imagine. Oh, and apparently Descartes was a total bastard who liked to kick pregnant dogs because he believed they didn’t feel pain and any show of distress was a reaction programmed into the clockwork of their brain. Falling short of being truly helpful, this book still managed to be a pretty interesting read, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to figure out what might be going on inside that little nut between their buddy’s ears. Rating: 3 out of 5