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The Hidden Life of Dogs | [Elizabeth Marshall Thomas]

The Hidden Life of Dogs

How do dogs think? Do they fantasize? Do they dream? What do their barks, whines, and growls tell other dogs? How do they communicate in groups, and why do they form hierarchies? What do dogs want? Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas attempts to answer these and other questions about a species that has been with mankind for over 20,000 years and still remains a mystery. Based on 30 years and hundreds of thousands of hours of research, this volume describes behavior every dog owner has seen thousands of times but will now understand for only the first time.
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Publisher's Summary

How do dogs think? Do they fantasize? Do they dream? What do their barks, whines, and growls tell other dogs? How do they communicate in groups, and why do they form hierarchies? What do dogs want? Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshall Thomas attempts to answer these and other questions about a species that has been with mankind for over 20,000 years and still remains a mystery. Based on 30 years and hundreds of thousands of hours of research, this volume describes behavior every dog owner has seen thousands of times but will now understand for only the first time.

©1993 Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, All Rights Reserved; ©1993 Time Warner AudioBooks, A Time Warner Company

What the Critics Say

"The best book about dogs I have read since Konrad Lorenz published Man Meets Dog four decades ago." (George Schaller)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Monica 08-01-06
    Monica 08-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing and dangerously incorrect"

    Like several other readers, I was disappointed and concerned about the incorrect information about dogs conveyed in this book. Although the author contends that she made a careful and thorough study of dogs by doing 100000 hours of observation of her own pack of dogs, the book is primarily the author's own anthropomorphizing of her dog's behavior, with her making dramatic interpretations of what the dogs "must" be feeling. At best, it is treacle. At worst, it is dangerous. In several places she reports behavior by the dogs, only to add an interpretation which is astounding. She misinterprets dominance behavior as simply "greeting", assumes her dogs are getting along with another dog only to have to later rescue the third dog from being killed by her dogs, and so on. The danger in this book is that readers will believe her interpretations to the detriment of their relationship with their own dog, or, more concerning, believe her interpretations of dog behavior are real, not merely her opinions, and therefore fail to protect or properly control their own dogs, and suffer the consequences. Examples would include her failure to recognize the signs of and proactively deal with the above mentioned aggression by her dogs towards another dog, a heartwrenching story she blithely tells about having 2 dogs with litters at the same time and having one mother dog kill the puppies of the other (which she interprets as merely the way of the wild accepted by both mother dogs); and so on. Readers looking for information on how to work with and relate to their dogs should, in my opinion, look elsewhere. Or at least read several other books, make your own assessments and take this book for what it really is -- the author's own thoughts about what her dog's behavior means and nothing more.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Frankenfeld Rapid City, SD USA 05-30-06
    Donald Frankenfeld Rapid City, SD USA 05-30-06 Member Since 2005
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    "TomHutch is right--a very bad book"

    Treacley, self-indulgent, self-consciously cute and embarrassingly ignorant, this novel disguised as nonfiction is a disservice to dog lovers. You know you are in weird territory when the author refers to her dog's canine mate as 'husband.' A better choice by far is 'Cesar's Way.'

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dndlyon 02-27-07
    dndlyon 02-27-07 Member Since 2003
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    "Bad from the beginning"

    As a dog trainer I was really excited about this book. I thought it would carry some insight into multiple dog households with maybe a bit of science behind it. What I found was nothing of the sort. The author clearly does not understand dog behavior in the least and caused most of the heartbreak she writes of herself. The book is well written, but the story she tells is just too heartbreaking for me (especially when most of her troubles could have easily been avoided).

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Maple Ridge, BC, Canada 07-02-07
    Denise Maple Ridge, BC, Canada 07-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "A portrait of human failure"

    There are so many good books out there about dog behaviour -- but this isn't one of them. This book, in essence, is the portraint of a neglectful dog owner who allows her dogs to roam, who routinely puts them and other pets at risk, who chooses not to spay or neuter her dogs and allows litters of unwanted puppies to appear and who fails to meaningfully work with any of her dogs. There is no science in this book, and absolutely no humanity. A lot of soppy language to justify her own appalling behaviour. Truly, can't publishers show a little more judgment?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica goornong, VIC, Australia 08-08-09
    Jessica goornong, VIC, Australia 08-08-09
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    "dont bother"

    i was really looking forward to this one but its so subjective and offers little in comparing modern behaviour with ancestral traits. its really just one lady writing all about the behaviour of a few family pets but not explaining why they do what they do. it felt like her nerating her diary of observations but lacked her taking it to the next level.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally jersey city, NJ, USA 11-04-03
    Sally jersey city, NJ, USA 11-04-03
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    "Fascinating"

    I found this book completely compelling and Swoozie Kurtz did a great job narrating it. Although there was much I didn't agree with in the author's approach to raising dogs, the book was very informative and entertaining. I certainly saw my dogs in a whole new light!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Beaumont, TX, USA 06-05-10
    Catherine Beaumont, TX, USA 06-05-10
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    "To Love is to Spay/Neuter"

    Wish this author cared enough for the animals to have them neutered or spayed. Had a hard time listening to litter after litter being born under her care.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Montreal, QC, Canada 06-10-06
    Peter Montreal, QC, Canada 06-10-06
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    "Unbelievably rewarding."

    Well after selecting this audible book. I was left with my mouth open. This book is a must have for all dog owners and lovers. Really starts making you understand the physchology of these companions.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naomi south saint paul, MN, USA 02-07-03
    Naomi south saint paul, MN, USA 02-07-03
    ratings
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    2
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    "The Hidden Life of Dogs"

    This book made me cry; more titles by this author please.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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