For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend
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For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  1,246 ratings  ·  112 reviews
The critically acclaimed author of "The Other End of the Leash" offers fascinating insights into the canine mind—critical tools for a healthy relationship with a well-trained dog.

In this remarkable book, renowned canine expert Patricia McConnell answers the questions of dog lovers everywhere. Do dogs have emotions like we do? More to the point, does my dog love me? Such q...more
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Published October 15th 2006 by Tantor Media (first published July 21st 2005)
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Michelle
The last book I read by her was all about communicating with your dog, with much emphasis on how humans act around dogs and why some of what we do is just plain wrong. The subject of this book was dogs and emotion.

There has been a lot of debate over the years as to whether or not dogs (and other non-human animals) can have emotions. I recall a philosophy class I once took. The teacher asked us what differentiated humans from animals. Someone said "emotions." He agreed. I dropped the class. I thi...more
Joseph Soltero
Warmly informative - should be on every dog owner’s shelf

My partner and I have a beautiful and loving Shetland Sheepdog as part of our family. I purchased this book in an attempt to better understand him, why he does the things that he does, how to know if he’s happy, and what I can do if he’s not.

Patricia McConnell writes with such warm concern and intimate tone that you feel as though you’re sharing a cup of coffee or tea with her somewhere. Her writing is lucid and witty, her anecdotes person...more
Stef
Josh and I listened to half of this on our road trip to DC. I had already read the book a few months ago. With Charlie in tow in the back of the car, it made for a lovely conversation piece. Josh hasn't read an entire book on dogs (just puppy training), and this was my way of sneaking in some information. We got through the chapter on facial expressions and we are now paranoid that Charlie rarely smiles.
Still, it was a great book to listen to since Charlie was going to be with my two year old n...more
Fred Dickson
My favorite dog book of all time, I cried at different points in almost every chapter. For the dog lover, this is a must read. It combines anecdotes with scientific data perfectly, and addresses the love that we all feel for our dogs with a frankness that is refreshing.
LizG
Excellent book, I love McConnell's explanation of the science behind how emotion works in humans and animals. Very digestible. We are so very similar (from the physical structure of our emotional centres to the chemicals that create them, to the ways we express them) only the most narrow-minded can continue to believe humans are not animals. We are, and we behave very much like them. (Even with our much larger cortex.)

The more I come to understand about animals, the more I appreciate them and wh...more
Fuyuko Gratton
I liked the book until the very end. I got disappointed in the last chapter that made me rate this book from 5/5 to 3/5. My impression of the book throughout the book except the last chapter was the author was taking "academic-neutral" positions of the various topics....sort of "well let's give a benefit of doubts because there is no hard proof right now." But then in the last chapter, I noticed an inconsistency in her logic of reasonings. In one section she goes:

"The fact that the more complica...more
Becky
After reading Patricia McConnell's wonderful book, "The Other End of the Leash," which is about why we (primates) act the way we do around dogs and how dogs usually interpret our actions. I recommend "The Other End of the Leash" to any dog owner or want to be owner. I was eager to read more by the same author.

"For the Love of a Dog," is written the same way as her former book, Dr. McConnell begins each chapter with a case scenario from her animal behaviorist practice, Dog's Best Friend, LTD. Som...more
Nina
It took me a while to finish this book, but I really enjoyed it. I would read it a section at a time and then spend a little while processing the information before continuing on.

This book really packs in a ton of information. It is a great book for anyone who is interested in learning more about canine behavior and emotional states. I found it really interesting and well researched. Each time I read a section I stopped to talk about it with my husband or try to observe some things in my own do...more
Ruby
This book helped me understand some physical differences and similarities between our species. It had an impact on me. My changes also made an impact on my dog. I thought it was really interesting to think on that emotions can be triggered biologically. (like a mouse will attack if you take away the chemical that makes him feel fear) Some dogs are made more shy genetically. (shy or afraid) If you are looking into getting a new pup it is always a good idea to meet the mom.
I loved to find out dog...more
David
Despite the syrupy-sounded lead, this book is a solid exploration of the emotional world of dogs. There's still a fair amount of debate in the scientific community whether animals have emotions, which emotions they have and what they mean. McConnell explores the role of emotion in cognition, laying out the arguments both ways, and citing a number of researchers in the field (notably Demasio). While it's clear she sides with those who believe animals do have emotions, she deftly navigates the unc...more
Gemma
This is an invaluable volume for any dog owner. Primarily, McConnell tackles how we can learn to notice emotion in our canine companions, as well as the biological basis for these instinctual responses. Her scientific references are varied and fair, and she handles the complicated subject matter with aplomb, without making it noticeably dumbed-down for those of us without a rigorous scientific background. That said, I was occasionally frustrated with her reference to particular cases, which she...more
Michael
If you love dogs, this is a wonderful read. The author lives on a farm with her dogs and takes you through her journey with them.

Publisher's Summary
Yes, humans and canines are different species, but current research provides fascinating, irrefutable evidence that what we share with our dogs is greater than how we differ. As behaviorist and zoologist Dr. Patricia McConnell tells us in this remarkable book about emotions in dogs and in people, more and more scientists accept the premise that dogs...more
Cason
There are so many things about this book that I loved, I'm not sure I can even remember them all. I think what I found most helpful is Patricia McConnell's thoughtful and interesting progression through different emotions, similarities in how those emotions are expressed between humans and dogs, and how to better read and understand what your dog may be feeling in different situations. She gave excellent examples from her own work with fearful and aggressive dogs as well as examples of well soci...more
Jean
What a wonderful book on the emotions dogs have! One caveat -- were I to do this over, I would not get it as a Kindle book. It was not really possible to reference the illustrations as they were mentioned in the text. Still I gained some insights into what my little dog is feeling.

And I liked it enough to order it again in paper so I can easily see the photos' details. With my limited space, buying a book in paper is rare. It is a tribute to the book's quality that I am doing so.
Natasha
This was an excellent book. I am a fan of Patricia McConnell, I think she has the perfect balance between science and fun. "For the Love of a Dog" focuses on the biology of emotion, and what that means for animal, and human, behavior.

Although I enjoyed this book, and found it interesting, if you are to read only one book by McConnell, I would recommend "At The Other End of the Leash". She covers everything a dog owner or dog lover could ever want to know in that book, and she explains it in suc...more
Rob Rub
Feb 09, 2008 Rob Rub rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dog Owners
This book is a good read, but really you could clip out about half of it and it'd still be just as good. Half the time the author is blabbering on about how much she loves her dogs, and silly dog stories she has, and honestly, it's like some mother telling you about her kids: Unless you know the kid, you really just don't care. What is interesting is how the dog brain works, the similarities they share with our own, and reading a dog's facial expressions. There's a lot of nuance in reading a dog...more
Heather
"For The Love of a Dog" is about the emotions of dogs and how they are similar, as well as different, from our own emotions. She mainly supports her arguments with biology and experience, as well as a little common sense. McConnell lays out a very strong argument for the existence of emotions in dogs as well as how they work and how they affect our relationships with our dogs. She also talks about how these emotions affect the dog and what we, as their human partners, can do to help when things...more
Pamela
I can't imagine a better guide to the emotional life of dogs (and yes, they do have them!). The author does a remarkable job of explaining neurobiology, both canine and human, in ways that are clear and compelling for a non-scientist like myself. Not only that, but she clearly loves dogs and has great stories to share about her own dogs, as well as dogs and people who have become clients in her animal behavior business. I plan to read more of her books and utilize some of her insights with my ow...more
Lo
This was a very interesting read. McConnell lays out the biology behind emotions; what happens in the brain, what chemicals are present and how they affect the way we feel and how similar chemicals are present in dogs, how human brain and dog brain are similar, yet different and what that could mean for dogs' emotions, with the reservation of the limits of current knowledge, methods and amounts of studies.

I was thrilled about some of the studies she referenced, mostly about one where dog lovers...more
Patti
I was fascinated by this book. I heard Patricia McConnell talking on the radio about the importance of dog owner's posture and facial cues when dogs are checking each other out at the dog park and decided I wanted to learn more. We learned invaluable basic dog training in Patricia's puppy training classes but now I am enjoying studying my husky's facial expressions and observing the goings on at the dog park with new eyes.

I also learned to teach our 7 year old husky some new tricks, exercise of...more
Jessica
McConnell wants us to understand what and how our dogs think. A fascinating topic, to be sure. My only reservation is one of audience. McConnell is a trained academic, and often uses academic tactics to make her point. She frequently references case studies and scientific experiments. This is an excellent thing, in and of itself. The other half of the book wants to be charming, with anecdotes about dogs and very helpful discussions of dog facial expressions. Also an excellent thing. Going back a...more
Kim
This book was a revelation in helping me understand dogs. There is a wealth of information in this book. If you want to understand dogs, then read this book. If you think you already understand dogs, you probably don't, so you you should read this book. I found the book very readable, and I enjoyed the stories about the author's dogs and her experiences. It's written in a sometimes-conversation and sometimes-textbook style. My only complaint is that the author seemed to repeat herself and the bo...more
T.L. Merrybard
I've read a lot of books about dogs and training dogs, but this one still had things to teach me, not only about how dogs' minds work but how mine does too. What made me give it five stars, though, was that Patricia's passion for her dogs shines through the work, and it matches my own!
katie
Loved this book. Not so much a manual as a bunch of research, written by an animal behaviorist and dog trainer (and dog lover) in a very readable, narrative way. Extremely highly recommended if you have a dog or want one.


I'm about halfway through and there's some great stuff about dog emotions here, but also what's interesting is what people do in response--and how we can be better, clearer owners based on the latest dog research. Very readable, even when she's discussing neurobiology. I've had...more
Dave
Feb 19, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dog Owners
Recommended to Dave by: Jeana
I read this after first reading "At the other end of the leash" by Patricia McConnell, which I loved. The subtitle references emotions in dogs, and that is exactly what this book is about, an exploration of emotion in dogs.

This might sound like a dry subject matter, but Patricia McConnell is a fantastic writer who does a great job of interspersing stories from her experiences as a dog owner and animal behaviorist specializing in dog aggression. She is an obviously warm and caring person who care...more
Hundeschlitten
I guess this is what happens when I have too much unstructured time on my hands: I go to the library looking for literary inspiration and end up with a book about dogs. McConnell summarizes a lot of interesting research on both human and canine emotion. However, the anecdotes about her own dogs are mostly indulgent side-tracks, and the more interesting sections of the book, namely the chapters detailing what the current research says about the physiological basis of anger, happiness, and love, c...more
Georgia
Look past the sentimental title and accept my word that this is in fact a serious, albeit very readable, exploration of the intersection of canine and human behaviour, drawing on examples from psychology, neurobiology and the evolutionary sciences.

I picked this one up after it occurred to me that while I'm quite familiar with the workings, both inner and outer, of many of the gadgets I own, I'd devoted very little time to learning about the inner workings of Delphine and Salvador, the two mutts...more
Sarah
Excellent - a must read if you have a dog! A fascinating discussion that blends the latest research on emotion in animals, and particularly dogs, with the author's personal experiences with dogs as a consulting behaviorist. She talks in detail about the physical cues that can help you understand how your dog is feeling - and head off trouble if needed. But on another level, it is a fascinating discussion of the mechanics of fear and anger in both humans and dogs (very interesting how similar the...more
Jennifer
This is one brilliant piece of work.
It took me a much longer time to read than any other book I've ever picked up, because it is so detailed. If you are looking to understand the physiology of a dog and how that relates to "why" a dog does this or that, then this book is for you. It's very good, although it took me half the book to decide that I liked it, grasped the concepts and appreciated it. Quite a different direction from what she usually writes, but a keeper, just the same.
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Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, (CAAB) has made a lifelong commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals. She is known worldwide as an expert on canine and feline behavior and dog training, and for her engaging and knowledgeable dog training books, DVDs and seminars. Patricia has seen clients for serious behavioral problems since 1988, and i...more
More about Patricia B. McConnell...
The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs The Cautious Canine-How to Help Dogs Conquer Their Fears How To Be The Leader Of The Pack...And Have Your Dog Love You For It. ("How To" Booklets From Dog's Best Friend) Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash Aggressive Dog I'll Be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety

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“We humans may be brilliant and we may be special, but we are still connected to the rest of life. No one reminds us of this better than our dogs. Perhaps the human condition will always include attempts to remind ourselves that we are separate from the rest of the natural world. We are different from other animals; it's undeniably true. But while acknowledging that, we must acknowledge another truth, the truth that we are also the same. That is what dogs and their emotions give us-- a connection. A connection to life on earth, to all that binds and cradles us, lest we begin to feel too alone. Dogs are our bridge-- our connection wo who we really are, and most tellingly, who we want to be. When we call them home to us, it'as as if we are calling for home itself. And that'll do, dogs. That'll do.” 27 likes
“When people visit my farm they often envision their dog, finally off-leash in acres of safely fenced countryside, running like Lassie in a television show, leaping over fallen tree trunks, shiny-eyed with joy at the change to run free in the country. While they're imagining that heartwarming scene, their dog is most likely gobbling up sheep poop as fast as he can. Dog aren't people, and if they have their own image of heaven, it most likely involves poop.” 6 likes
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