Why Does My Dog Act That Way?: A Complete Guide to Your Dog's Personalityby Stanley Coren
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We've shared our lives with dogs for thousands of years, but they still act in ways that baffle us. Do you ever look at Ginger's body language and wonder what she's about to do? Do you wish you could predict how King will act when brought into a new situation or meeting a new person? Do you compare your sweet, mild-mannered dog with your neighbor's aggressive, unruly canine and wonder where your neighbor went wrong? In short, do you ever wonder why dogs act that way?
This new book by the undisputed expert on dog behavior, intelligence, and training, Stanley Coren, answers all these questions and more. For many years, most people -- even scientists -- mistakenly believed that dogs were simply domesticated wolves, with natures, minds, and behaviors significantly diminished from those of their wild cousins. But recent discoveries have demonstrated that dogs are actually much more complex than wolves, coyotes, foxes, and other wild canines; their ability to adapt to a man-made world is far more flexible, and their personalities are far more diverse. Using the fascinating findings from scientific experiments by dog breeders and the domestication of foxes and wolves, Coren re-creates the story of how dogs evolved over time into the myriad forms and breeds we love today. With specific information on which breeds were bred to become more dominant, affectionate, cooperative, or even dangerous, this practical, surprising book can help you to select a new companion or simply to understand your old friend better.
In Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Dr. Coren also presents for the first time a simple, fun test you can administer to your own dog to get a detailed picture of his personality. Based on the personality-profiling questionnaires used in human psychological studies, the "Dog Behavior Inventory" is a straightforward, user-friendly test to help you analyze the personality of your dog in relation to other members of his breed. Using the findings of the U.S. Army's once-classified studies of "Superdogs," you, too, can train your pet to become a "superdog" -- a friendly, calm, confident, "bomb-proof" dog that is not disturbed, angered, or frightened by much of anything. New, exciting data also explain the characteristics that make some dogs act heroically -- the real-life equivalents of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin who spontaneously act to save human lives.
So, why does your dog act the way he does? You'll soon find out in this uniquely complete guide to dog psychology, filled with all the entertaining anecdotes and scientific data that Coren's avid followers have come to expect and enjoy.
"The author, a psychologist, cleverly combines scholarship, opinion, and anecdotes...Read...his book[s] with your best friend." -- The Dallas Morning News
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Read an Excerpt
Why Does My Dog Act That Way?A Complete Guide to Your Dog's Personality
By Stanley Coren
Free PressCopyright © 2006 Stanley Coren
All right reserved.
As a psychologist, I have always wondered why some of the techniques that we use to predict human behaviors are not used on dogs, particularly that part of psychological science that deals with personality. I believe that each dog has a unique, measurable personality -- a product of the dog's genetic makeup and life history. As with humans, once you know your dog's personality, you can reasonably predict its behaviors in many circumstances and also recognize why your dog may behave differently from another dog in the same situation.
One special feature of this book is that it will show you how to create a Superdog, not one who flies and wears a cape, but a dog that is friendly, fearless, cooperative, intelligent, and trainable. The procedures are derived from the latest scientific data and involve actually shaping your dog's brain through particular handling and rearing practices and by deliberately arranging aspects of his living conditions. Some of this information is derived from documents describing fascinating research done by the U.S. Army Biosensor program, which have only recently been released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
In this volume you will find a lot of new information, including an extensive listing of the personality profiles of 133 breeds of dogs,which I compiled based on data from 96 dog experts. I thank those experts for the many hours that they spent providing this material. This book also contains the first scientific study of heroic and helping behaviors in dogs based on 1,006 documented reports.
Finally, this book will provide you with a simple procedure to measure the personality of your own dog and compare it to other dogs of its breed. The test is valid and can be applied regardless of whether your dog is purebred or not. You can use the test results to predict your dog's behavior in many situations, and this can allow you to anticipate certain kinds of problems to which your dog may be susceptible.
Along with all this science and information, you will encounter stories that describe the interesting, exciting, and often unexpected behaviors of dogs. You will meet dogs that are heroes, helpers, friends, and loyal family members as well as a few unsavory examples of the species. You will develop a better understanding of the pet at your feet and see why he or she is neither a wolf in sheep's clothing nor a fourfooted human in a fur coat.
On a personal note, I would also like to thank my wife, Joan, who went through the first draft of this book and offered many useful comments as well as some that are not printable. The book is much better (and shorter) because of her contribution.
Copyright ©2006 by SC Psychological Enterprises, Ltd.
Excerpted from Why Does My Dog Act That Way? by Stanley Coren Copyright © 2006 by Stanley Coren. Excerpted by permission.
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What People are saying about this
"Meticulously researched, highly readable, and essential for anyone who loves and lives with a dog." Jon Katz, author of A Dog Year
"The thinking dog owner's guide to everything they ever wanted to know about their dog. Truths expanded, myths exposed, common sense prevailing, Dr. Coren tells it the way it is. Two dew claws up for this excellent book." Nicholas H. Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, DVA, author of The Dog Who Loved Too Much and If Only They Could Speak
"The author, a psychologist, cleverly combines scholarship, opinion, and anecdotes . . . Read . . . his book[s] with your best friend." The Dallas Morning News
"With a sharp-eyed analysis and wry wit, [Coren] meticulously examines the species' capabilities in a four-star toolbox fully equipped to help you better interpret Fido." The Seattle Times
Meet the Author
Stanley Coren an international authority on sidedness, is professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Born to Bark: My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog (2010), among other books.
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