It should come as no surprise to anyone that Dr. Marc Bekoff’s new book with co-author Dr. Jessica Pierce contains fascinating and essential information for everyone interested in dogs, much less those of us who share our homes with them.
The opening chapter is both startling, even shocking, as the authors label our beloved dogs our “captives.” Most of us have probably not considered this idea before, but after the explanation its truth becomes apparent. Our relationship with dogs is undeniably “asymmetrical.” As a result, they enjoy only the experiences, the environments, the friends, the food, the freedoms that we allow them. While stressing there is no “universal dog,” the authors educate us on the dog’s five senses so we can better understand a dog’s point of view of the world and therefore improve the lives of our “captives.”
Seamlessly linked to the exploration of their senses is advice on how this knowledge can enable us to increase the agency of our dogs. The authors include anecdotes about both their dogs and those of others, as well as the most current research confirming that dogs experience a wide range of emotions, that they are keen readers of human faces, and that they are unique in their individual preferences.
There are common experiences we are encouraged to provide to help us in “unleashing our dogs”—literally if possible. We must realize walks are for them, dog park visits can be valuable, and free access to fenced yards helps ameliorate their captivity. If our communities allow them to be literally unleashed, all the better.
This excellent book achieves the nearly impossible—it is readable and accessible to a non-academic audience while also thoroughly documented as one would expect from two eminent academics. This is a book to keep close at hand; both human companions and dogs will benefit. A close friend of mine just adopted a puppy. I have already ordered her a copy.
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: New World Library (19 May 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 160868542X
- ISBN-13: 978-1608685424
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 227 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)