Friday, March 08, 2013

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

Sometimes I am more comfortable with animals than I am with people.  That's saying a lot since people inspire me and keep me going.  A loner, I am not.  Among all the different pets, and other animals I've had the opportunity to meet, dogs are one of the most social species I know.  There are others, but dogs have relationships with humans unlike any other domesticated animals in the world.

This book, The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, addresses that very point.  Dogs have not only survived, but evolved into a species that we humans depend on for companionship, and for completing jobs that we physically cannot do on our own.

The authors describe the evolution of the Canis familiaris from wolves, give us a break-down of dog intelligence as demonstrated in their communication and social networks, and help us to determine the intelligence of our own dogs.  Hare and Woods discuss intelligent breeds, training smart dogs, and the relationships we have with dogs – both good and bad.  Throughout the book we are given numerous anecdotal stories of humans and dogs, from other scientific researchers on the subject, as well as from Hare’s own dog, Rico.

The strengths of this work include appealing subject matter, well-documented research, as well as an engaging, accessible style.  This book is not full of technical terms and dialogue that are hard to understand.  We are given a sense that the authors have a deep respect for man’s best friend, the dog.

The Genius of Dogs:  How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think is can be found in our online catalog.  If you like this book and are interested in reading more books about our relationship with dogs, you can try How the Dog Became the Dog by Mark Derr or What’s a Dog For? by John Homans, both of which also can be found in our online catalog.

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