BOOKS: Dogs Never Lie About Love

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1997:

Dogs Never Lie About Love:
Reflections on the
Emotional World of Dogs
by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Crown Publishing Group (201 E. 50th St.,
New York, NY 10022), 1997.
304 pages, hardcover, $24.00.

Pyschologist Jeffrey Masson,
through largely anecdotal evidence, assures us
here that dogs have complex emotional lives.
One need only observe any canine species for
a while to be convinced of that. Anyone who
has had a dog has experienced, for instance, a
dog’s unmitigated delight when “the master”
comes home at the end of the day—or just
ducks back in to retrieve some forgotten item.
It’s all the same to the pooch—you’ve been
gone forever, and is he glad to see you again!
Not that this isn’t an interesting
book. Dog lovers will read it wreathed in
smiles as they identify with one situation after
another. Those who haven’t had the pleasure
of sharing their lives with dogs may decide to
give it a try. The book is irresistible that way,
recounting stories and observations of canine
owners and trainers from the world over.

I especially liked the chapter entitled
“Thinking Like a Dog.” It’s a little more scientific
than the rest of the book, and even dog
lovers from way back will learn a thing or two.
For instance, Masson quotes a study done by
Dr. Stanley Coren regarding tail-wagging. Did
you know that dogs don’t wag their tails
because they’re generally happy? If that were
true, they’d wag them while they eat, and
they usually don’t. It seems that tail-wagging
is not for anything lifeless—such as dinner. A
dog will tail-wag for another animal, or for a
person, but that’s it. There must be a living
presence to elicit this response. This chapter
also delves into the areas of touch, sound,
smell, and all their nuances relating to dogs’
emotional lives.
Dogs Never Lie About Love is a
good book to curl up with on a cold, rainy day.
Make a cup of tea, get the quilt, stretch out on
the couch, and enjoy!
—Linda Greanville

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