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Publisher's Summary

How well do we really know dogs? People may enjoy thinking about them as "man's best friend", but what actually drives the things they do? What is going on in their fur-covered heads as they look at us with their big, expressive eyes? Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein know something about these questions, and with How Dogs Work, they're ready to share; this is their guide to understanding your dog and its behavior.

Approaching dogs as a biological species rather than just as pets, Coppinger and Feinstein accessibly synthesize decades of research and field experiments to explain the evolutionary foundations underlying dog behaviors. They examine the central importance of the shape of dogs: how their physical body affects behavior, how shape interacts with the environment as animals grow, and how all of this has developed over time. Shape, they tell us, is what makes a champion sled dog or a Border collie that can successfully herd sheep. Other chapters in How Dogs Work explore such mysteries as why dogs play; whether dogs have minds, and if so, what kinds of things they might know; why dogs bark; how dogs feed and forage; and the influence of the early relationship between mother and pup.

©2015 The University of Chicago; foreword copyright 2015 by Gordon M. Burghardt (P)2016 Tantor

What listeners say about How Dogs Work

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Look at Dog Behavior

At first I assumed this to be some kind of training book, at least indirectly. It is not. The behaviors it goes over are less about how to teach dogs, and more about why dogs do what they do in a general, scientific sense.

I loved it. I learned so much about dogs as a species, and vicariously about a couple other animals, too.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in dogs going beyond the 'man's best friend' mentality.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

the reader was so horrible I skipped the intro!!

the way he spoke held on too long at the end of his sentence. it would've been fine if he was using it for a character's voice or emphasis, but it became obvious it was his manner of speaking. I simply couldn't focus on the words. I'm very disappointed because I'm certain it has great information. sigh.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent Content

He content and subject matter were excellent. Narration was horrible, I would not listen to another audio book narrated by this presenter. I have ordered the hard copy of this book because of the extreme value of the information it contains. Great book, poor narration.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Error on my part

I guess I should have paid closer attention to the description of the book. I was way off course, I thought this would be a sort of "feel-good, let me tell you some cool stuff about your best friend" book. It's not. I didn't want to hear about the research and theories about everything concerning dogs. I didn't listen to the entire book but it seemed pretty solid in discussing the scientific aspects of canine research. This maybe the book you but it just wasn't for me.

4 people found this helpful

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Awkward Narration

The way this was written it could have gone either way. The subject matter is interesting, despite being written in dry terms, but the narration makes it tedious. I still enjoyed the information, but it could have been much better with a more animated tone.

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good info

there's a lot of good info but it's basically a text book level of interesting

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Like a textbook

It’s like a biology textbook. Full of obvious observations but useless for understanding your dog

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Unbearable narrator. Old concepts

Absolutely outdated, this book seems to have been written in the 50s, when knowledge was limited. The narrator is painful to listen to. The forced way he ends sentences is weird and unnatural. A was te of time and money.

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Biology not psychology. Boring genetics.

Wanted to learn how my dog thinks and why he's so darn cute, does what he does and seems to like hanging around. What I got was DNA, too much about how clocks work and the word genes and genome way too much.