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Publisher's Summary

Dogs have been mankind's faithful companions for tens of thousands of years, yet today they are regularly treated as either pack-following wolves or furry humans. The truth is, dogs are neither - and our misunderstanding has put them in serious crisis. What dogs really need is a spokesperson, someone who will assert their specific needs.

Renowned anthrozoologist Dr. John Bradshaw has made a career of studying human-animal interactions, and in Dog Sense he uses the latest scientific research to show how humans can live in harmony with - not just dominion over - their four-legged friends. From explaining why positive reinforcement is a more effective (and less damaging) way to control dogs' behavior than punishment to demonstrating the importance of weighing a dog's unique personality against stereotypes about its breed, Bradshaw offers extraordinary insight into the question of how we really ought to treat our dogs.

©2011 John Bradshaw (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“Bradshaw… offers an alternative to conventional, dominance-based approaches to understanding dogs (Cesar Milan’s methods, for example) in an informative… guide to how canine biology and psychology determine behavior…. Bradshaw’s book is useful to those looking to further their understanding of dog behavior and clarify common misconceptions.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Bradshaw…provides a well-grounded overview of the Canis family’s evolutionary journey. He also considers dogs’ brainpower, emotional states, sensory capacities and problems that come with breeding for looks rather than temperament. The point of all this science is to lay the foundation for his central thesis…. Ultimately, this is what makes the book so appealing. He does more than simply lay out interesting theories; he uses science to advocate for a better life for companion dogs." (The Bark)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Full of information!

Would you consider the audio edition of Dog Sense to be better than the print version?

Yes and No. I liked the audio version, but because of the subject matter, I will most likely purchase the book as a reference book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. But that's not a bad thing. There was just so much information I wouldn't want to try to absorb it all at once.

Any additional comments?

This book was highly based in science. For people looking for a training manual, this would not be a good choice. The purpose of this book is to review what we know in the science of the domesticated dog and what we still need to learn. I found it very interesting, but I'm also pursuing a PhD in canine cognition. The great thing about Bradshaws writting, however, is that it's written for the general public, so it's not just understandable to academics.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Narrator flavored the book.

I started listening to Dog Sense but put it down quickly after hearing the narrator reading and thought I'd never get through this with him droaning on and on as he read.... Then I happened to catch an interview of John Bradshaw and I totally changed my mind deciding to give it another chance. I had to remind myself at times what Bradshaw must have sounded like when the narrator's voice became almost unbearable to listen to. Page has a old stuffy, stoic, 18th century, prim and proper voice that is uninviting in its appeal to me. It did take some perservearance to get through this. Fortunately, I would get caught up in the information that was interesting and could almost forget the narrator. I wish publishers did a better job of matching audience with the narrators they choose. I think the publisher did a huge disservice to Bradshaw by having Page narrate his book.

The information was good and interesting. Bradshaw examines and dissects each topic with extreme accuracy, leaving no stone unturned. This unfortunately only accentuated Pages monotous, monotone voice. I was so glad when it was over. I learned a lot but it was like going to the dentist.


I seldom write about the narrator in so much detail as I an in this book review. I'd almost say that a person would be better off buying the book because it has so much good information in it and you would enjoy it more than having to listen to hours upon hours of Mr. Page' boring voice.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good book

I liked this book because it dispelled much of the prevalent notions of dominant and submissive behaviors that encompass dog training. I think anyone that really works with and lives with dogs feels that the whole notion of your dog vying to dominate you at all times is faulty. That philosophy puts man and dog in a continuous state of conflict. Although I enjoyed the latest scientific information on dogs I think this book may be a little to academic for the casual listener. That's why I give it 4 stars.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Making Sense of Dogs

If you could sum up Dog Sense in three words, what would they be?

This helps me understand my dog so much more

What did you like best about this story?

It brought my dog and me closer together.

Which character – as performed by Michael Page – was your favorite?

NA

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

That dogs are our beloved companions and we should love them and understand them

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Just what I was looking for

This book covers general behavioral traits of canines, as viewed through the lens of the most current theories of learning, a subject with which every dog owner should become familiar. As someone who has always owned dogs as companions, and worked alongside law enforcement working dog handlers, this definitely opened up many new windows into the mind of canines for me. Contrary to other reviews of it being too academic, I don't think it was overly so. For those stating it delved into other species behavior, that was the case in one of the earlier chapters, but that did not take away from the remainder of the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Read this instead of the Monks book

It's a great book based on research and a lot of point of view. Much more up to date and based on reality then the Monk books. Great performance as well. Thank you

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Fernando
  • Bloomfield, NJ, United States
  • 06-11-11

Nice, detailed, scientific dog book

John Bradshaw did a really good job going into great detail on how the domestic dog was domesticated and what is the real motivation for their behavior in the human world. The only problem with the book is that it is written very scientifically, which makes it read more like a textbook and at times this can be a bit boring. It's filled with lots of facts and accounts of scientific studies but after a while it gets monotonous. I think if I was reading the hard copy it would have taken me a long time to get through. The audio version made it much more manageable. I'm a dog behavior consultant so I'm very interested in the subject matter. I think the average person with a dog would have a real hard time getting through this book and might not find it as relevant to them.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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A Refreshing Scientific Perspective of Dogs

If you could sum up Dog Sense in three words, what would they be?

Science of Dogs

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I liked taking this book on in small chunks. The chapters were long, around an hour each, so I tended to listen to one chapter at a time and then sit back and think about each one.

Any additional comments?

This is a good book for dog owners and dog lovers. It starts with a nice summary of the evolution of the dog and some of the science behind it. The book then shifts toward dog behavior and some of the very common misconceptions humans have about dogs. I can imagine some dog owners and self-proclaimed experts will disagree with much of what is brought up although I found this very refreshing. It is important to question dearly held beliefs and be open to a new way of thinking. This book made me think more about my own dog and how I handle the way he behaves and I feel I understand the way a dog thinks and behaves better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathleen
  • Spruce Grove, Alberta
  • 05-01-12

A new perspective on dogs behavior.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have, all my friends with dogs in fact. Though its not always well received by those who take Caesar Milan's word as gospel.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dog Sense?

How the author explained dogs are not "pack animals" in the sence that they are like wolves. I found this very interesting.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Some good information

What made the experience of listening to Dog Sense the most enjoyable?

I found the scientific information regarding learning theory and the intelligence of dogs very interesting and useful. I'm sure I will return to these sections again and study them more closely.

What was most disappointing about John Bradshaw’s story?

Mr. Bradshaw's statement that dogs are "only pets" these days and should have the "hunt, herd, gaurd" bred out of them to make them better companions is offensive. 99% of the people I know with hunting dogs, hunt with them. Including myself. And they are still great pets. Mr. Bradshaw shows such diligence in his research until he gets to this point. He states no statistics, facts or studies showing how many people use thier dogs for the functions they were intended for. He instead starts saying things like "most" and "many"- where are the numbers?

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This book was great in bits and pieces, I couldn't listen to it all at once as it had a lot of detailed information that needed to be digested. I'm sure there are chapters I will study again.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful