Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets.
In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare, have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom.
Brian Hare's stunning discovery is that when dogs domesticated themselves as early as 40,000 years ago they became far more like human infants than their wolf ancestors. Domestication gave dogs a whole new kind of social intelligence. This finding will change the way we think about dogs and dog training - indeed, the revolution has already begun.
Hare's seminal research has led him to work with every kind of dog from the tiniest shelter puppy to the exotic New Guinea singing dog, from his own childhood dog, Oreo, to the most fashionable schnoodle. The Genius of Dogs is nothing less than the definitive dog book of our time by the researcher who started a revolution.
©2013 Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods (P)2013 Penguin Audio
Yes, I would make the contents of the book, more supportive of the title.
The title lead me to believe it would be stories supportive of the idea that Dogs are Geniuses (much like the book "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home" by Sheldrake). Instead it comes across as an anthropological dissertation of domestication in wolves, feral dogs and canine pets. Interspersed in that information (which is very well presented, yet seemingly inappropriate) are examples of how dogs are, and are NOT, geniuses. There just doesn't seem to be any logical flow to the book or its content, so for the moment I stopped listening to it.
It was easy to listen to and didn't take away from the subject matter. (I've listened to books where the narrator's voice was annoying and so I was always reminded it was being read to me.)
Yes, because the anthropological information and research findings, though disjointed and contradictory, are well presented and convincing.
Maybe if I had the hard copy of the book I could see the index layout and understand the authors logical flow for the information, and having that would also allow me to have a reference in the future for the anthropology parts of the book.
I loved The Genius of Dogs. It provided a wonderful overview of the latest research on dogs--their evolution, intelligence, training, and status in human societies. I am interested in evolutionary biology so I enjoyed Brian Hare’s discussion of dogs and humans from his perspective as an evolutionary anthropologist. I was familiar with a lot of the material from other sources, but this book presented it in a unified format and created an updated image of dogs and our relationship with them.
The author credits an observation of his his boyhood dog, Oreo, with deciding the course of his academic and professional career. Yet he avoids the pitfalls of anthropomorphism common with many authors of dog books. He adored Oreo and his other dogs, but he loved them as dogs, not as furry human beings. He discusses canine talents, but also explains some of the shortcomings of their unique cognitive abilities. For example, dogs are excellent at reading our intentions, and “a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” But dogs are not capable of feeling guilt when they steal food or mess in the house. We humans often perceive their affect and behavior as guilt, but experiments have shown that is not the case; they are sensing our displeasure and reacting in a submissive way to it. It is important in living and working with dogs that we understand what they are and what they are not.This book is helpful in providing that insight.
I listened to the audiobook, but I intend to take a very close look at the print version as well. There are studies cited that I want to read and points made that will require additional reflection than is possible with audio alone. Clearly I found this book very worthwhile. It presents recent scholarly information on domestic dogs clearly and in a manner easily accessible to the layperson. However, for readers seeking a feel-good, happy pet dog story, this is probably not the one to pick up. For all others, I highly recommend it!
Say something about yourself!
This book was not really a book on dogs, but more a broad book on the development of domestication and socialization of species, dog, chimps, humans.
It was interesting but if you are just looking for something focused on dogs you may want something else like Dog Sense by Bradshaw.
But read this book and you'll understand why. I'll cut to the chase: Canine genius manifests itself in dogs' ability to 'read' humans even better than most of us read each other!
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