BOOKS: For The Love Of A Dog

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2006:

For The Love Of A Dog
by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.
Ballantine Books, Random House,
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
322 pages, hardcover. $24.95.

McConnell, a zoology teacher at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, wrote The Other End of the Leash, which we
reviewed for Animal People in 2004.
For The Love Of A Dog further draws upon her considerable
experience in dog training and treating canine aggression to offer
insights into the canine mind.
This is not a manual on dog training, although McConnell
presents comparisons of dog and human thought processes which could
make dog training much easier. Nor is it a scientific treatise on
anthropomorphism. McConnell’s goal to make canine behavioral
research more accessible to the public. She explains the biology of
emotions, then focuses on fear, anger, joy and love, teaching the
reader how to identify each of these emotions in dogs from their
expressions, postures, and activity.
A particularly helpful section of photographs at the end of
the book illustrates vividly dogs’ facial expressions as they express
their emotions.
McConnell concludes that, notwithstanding the scientistic tradition
of denying animal consciousness, and of deriding those who argue
that animals have complex mental capacity, dogs do have a rich and
complex emotional life. –Chris Mercer

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