Saturday, December 8, 2007

Five best books about dogs

Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and the author of several books on dogs, including Why Does My Dog Act That Way?, named a five best list of books about "man's best friend" for Opinion Journal.

Number One on the list:
For the Love of a Dog by Patricia B. McConnell (Ballantine, 2006).

Patricia McConnell has a doctorate in zoology, but this work about dog behavior is hardly a dry textbook. "For the Love of a Dog" is about emotions, the emotions of dogs and of the people who interact with them. She presents plenty of personal stories, especially about her sheep-herding border collie, Luke ("I love Luke so much it almost hurts"), weaving the anecdotes into a discussion of how dogs view the world and what guides their behavior. "Without language as a bridge," McConnell writes, we can't "ever know what it is like to be a dog; some argue we shouldn't even try. But many of us try to understand the mental lives of our dogs every day, and we're not going to give up just because the task is difficult." She believes that dogs have all of the basic emotions -- anger, happiness, fear, love -- but finds that more complex emotions, such as guilt or grief, are harder to discern.
Read about the other books on Coren's list.

The Page 99 Test: Stanley Coren's Why Does My Dog Act That Way?.

--Marshal Zeringue