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How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind
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How Dogs Think: Understanding the Canine Mind

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  471 ratings  ·  55 reviews
It's been said that dogs personify all the virtues of humans without the vices. Henry James wrote that his dog was "most reasonable and well-mannered" and Plato that "a dog has the soul of a philosopher." Over the years, dogs have taught us many things: loyalty, courage, and to turn around three times before lying down. Yet even in the face of millennia of evidence of thou ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 3rd 2004 by Free Press (first published 2004)
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This is a fascinating book! I actually finished reading it a few weeks ago and just haven't gotten around to writing about (sometimes the dissertation does have to take priority).

The book is written by Stanley Coren, Ph.D. Dr. Coren is a psychologist and member of the faculty at the University of British Columbia. He's a renowned and well-known expert on dog psychology and dog-human interactions.

At first, I was a little afraid the book would be something like the drivel that shows up on that Dog
How Dogs Think is full of details about the physiology of dogs’ perceptions. I’ve always known that dogs don’t see, hear, feel, taste and smell the same way we do, but I didn’t have any information on how they do experience the world. After reading this book, I have a much better idea of how dogs experience their environment (and our actions), why they react the way they do and how they communicate back to the world. If you want to learn as much as you can about how your dog interprets and respo ...more
Based heavily on science, this book answers questions like "do dogs dream?" and "can dogs count?" (answers are "yes" and "yes", respectively). Answers to questions such as these are based upon scientific studies. The information that Coren provides is very interesting; however, I wish the book was more comprehensive. One of my friends asked a good one - "Why do dogs go in a circle before they lay down?" The book doesn't address this question. However, based on my reading of the book I would answ ...more
Oct 30, 2008 Candice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog lovers everywhere
A very interesting book. The author describes the dog's five senses and how they differ from human sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. We have wondered why our dog sometimes can't find the bright orange ball that we toss for him. It turns out that to a dog's eyes bright orange is the worst color possible for a ball if you are throwing it on a grassy field. To the dog, the grass and the ball both appear yellow. Who knew? Another fascinating bit of information - a dog who retrieves a ball is t ...more
I read this book because my dog is a bit of a disaster. I am always trying to help her and her neurotic ways. This book was very scientfic and interesting, though not much help for my specific disaster. I did learn that water actually has a taste that humans lack the ablity to decifer. But dogs can taste water...and they really can smell fear. They are sensitive to the pheremones that fear produces. I said, it was interesting.
Sep 18, 2007 Emahlie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog lovers
Shelves: animal-related
This book explores the world from a dogs perspective. Coren moves through each sense and draws on research to explain to the reader how dogs perceive the world differently. The book was easy to read and enjoyable, but some of the author's interpretation of research has been called into question.
Dogs aren't color blind. They have 2/3 of the cones that we have and can distinguish blue from a field of grass for example, but not red or orange.

Dogs have been genetically evolved to be much closer to being human than their ancestors. It's not inaccurate to attribute human like qualities to them, ie, "It's just a dog" has little scientific basis. It's only been relatively recent, 1990's that the public is better informed in this way.
Plato was more accurate on the subject than the common perso
This book took me damned near FOREVER to read. It's fairly densely packed and takes a little while to digest everything that Coren is telling you. He writes exceptionally well and discusses not only scientific theories and behavior theories, but also anecdotes from his own life and from the lives of others. The book begins by discussing the dog's 5 senses and how they differ from human beings. Through this I learned that humans see and taste better than dogs, while they hear and smell better tha ...more
Feb 12, 2009 Weavre rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Weavre by: browsing OFL's shelves online
Really interesting, but not quite what I expected. Coren offers lots of detailed information about how dogs' senses work for them, exploration about how dogs learn, etc. There's also a bit of philosophical meandering into such questions as, "Do dogs have what can accurately be termed personality?" and, "Can dogs actually appreciate--or even create--art in its various forms?" I was expecting more about how dogs might view specific situations differently from humans ... that's there, to give Coren ...more
This book was great! I both enjoyed it and learned from reading it.

I think the author must have written parts of this book as separate articles because there are several places in the book where he repeats himself, almost verbatim. The "headings" within the chapters were probably added after the book was written because they don't always correctly correspond to the section they head and they tend to be "cute" which is not the style of the body of this book. Still, those are minor points. In gen
This is my second Stanley Coren book. I love how he writes about dogs. I share a lot of his opinions- mainly that dogs have feelings and intelligence, but don't have things like ESP or clairvoyance, which some people believe that they have.

He also manages to put many anecdotes and humourous stories in his books, which I enjoy.

You can learn so much from reading his books, and find so many answers to why your dog behaves the way he/she does.

I must admit that the books do occasionally become somew
Thorough. Detailed. NOT what I expected based on the title. NOT what I wanted. I wanted a bit of humour. I wanted to know why dogs do the things they do in a question/answer format. I did NOT want to read a Ph.D. dissertation on domestic dog ancestry, DNA, etc.
Apr 23, 2008 Jann rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jann by: Crystal Mills
This book was recommended to me by a co-worker who is a real dog lover and understander. It provides really great insight into what fuels dogs' behavior, and helped me better understand how to love and play with our two dogs. For instance, did you know dogs do see in color, and the colors they see best are green and yellow? They DO have trouble differentiating between things, though, so a green ball in the green lawn is going to get lost. The book includes this and hundreds of other K-9 explanat ...more
Aug 29, 2008 Jodee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any dog owner or trainer
Coren takes the reader on an amazing journey through the mind of beloved canines without anthropomorphizing (humanizing their behavior). He provides clear facts in sensing, body and brain differences. He builds an effective case for canine thinking abilities. One must give due credit to Darby, his beagle, whose canine brain power outwits even the good doctor in the end. To those of us who train and live in dog packs I appreciate the humor - Darby definitely held the smarter end of that leash.
Feb 24, 2008 Jake rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dog Owners and Potential Dog Owners
While not particularly light leisurely reading, this book is incredibly worthwhile in understanding how your dog looks at the world. Coren takes the reader on a very thorough excursion through the canine sensory system with stops for the occasional allegory along the way. I highly recommend this book to any new dog owner... actually, please read it BEFORE you endeavor into the human-canine relationship. It will save both parties a lot of grief in the long run.
Jun 29, 2009 Rory rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pooch owners
Recommended to Rory by: Brock
Shelves: nonfiction
I thought this was a terrific survey of doggie minds--more specifically, of doggie senses, since a dog's "intelligence" is very much about how he synthesizes all the incredible levels of sensory information. The last third was more about how to apply an understanding of dog brains into training techniques, which I wasn't so into, but the first 2/3 were really fascinating. And a bonush: Coren often uses cat facts to highlight dog stuff!
Matt Pecevich
This is a fantastic book for dog lovers, but it's also worth a read if you're simply curious about how other minds perceive the world. Although maybe unintentional, Coren's book not only explained dog behavior but also helped me understand my own thoughts through comparison. I also appreciated the time he spent justifying his conclusions through evidence and research.
Though dry at some points, Stanley Coren's "How Dogs Think" is a fascinating book, a necessity for any dog trainer-to-be and interesting for the average dog owner. Coren has a deep understanding of the canine psychology, though at some points his knowledge and assumptions can seem a bit questionable. Regardless, "How Dogs Think" has a lot to offer for the casual dog owner.
Loved this. As a dog owner, it was fascinating to see how a dog's senses are different and how this colors her perception of the world. This was written by a dog-owning and loving psychologist and was very, very readable. I highly recommend it to anyone who is getting a new puppy or owns a dog. When and if I do get a new puppy, I plan on re-reading this again.
Lady Jane
Interesting, research-based book examining how dogs receive and process information. Looks also at whether dogs are conscious beings. Many fun anecdotes to both illuminate and liven Coren's exploration of research questions and studies. Leaves dog lovers with a better understanding of how dogs think and how to better communicate with them.
Jul 06, 2007 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in cognitive psychology and/or dogs
Shelves: greatreads
You get a little bit of both with this book. A good look at the debate of what constitutes being conscious and how a dog actually thinks. It will open up your mind to things that even those of us who know that our dogs have thoughts and feelings, never would have known about what Fido is really thinking (like, dogs can make art...and do...).

Thoroughly enjoyed the information in this book. He goes over all the senses, aging, and more. Scientifically based, but very readable. Anyone who owns a dog should read this, especially if you have ever asked, "I wonder why my dog does that", or "I wonder what my dog is thinking".
Now I need to find a book like this on cats!!!
Heather Browning
A very well-written and easy to follow book. The use of many examples and stories to illustrate and clarify points made it much more entertaining than a typical 'popular science' book. Any dog lover will enjoy the stories of dogs exhibiting different types of intelligence, as well as the research and biology behind it.
Jul 16, 2007 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dog owners
Shelves: nonfiction
This was fascinating, a plain-english explination of how a dog's brain works. Not like a psychic reading, but like how a dog experiences the world, how all their senses work. I learned several things that have real life applications for me, like what color of dog toys to buy so my dogs can find them in the grass!
A very informative and interesting book, but I had a hard time following it because there was so much information. I tried reading it in high school, though, with a lot of other things going on, which is probably why I couldn't grasp all the concepts. Still, I liked it and it was quite interesting.
I thought this book would have a lot more anecdotes than it does. It's very technical. So to tell the truth, I haven't read the whole thing. I do plan on returning to it when I have the patience to read something technical, and I may like it more when I know what to expect going in.
Ken Sweet
Fascinating look at how we perceive our dogs and how they perceive the world around them. As a proud dog owner, I feel that I have learned a lot about my little buddy that will help us communicate better and forge a stronger bond. Recommended for all dog owners.
Much more scientific than the last two dog books I read. The author is a psychologist and dog trainer. Full of interesting scientific studies of dogs. Not as much practical application for the family dog owner, but fascinating if you like science.
This was fascinating! I feel like I can understand my dogs' perspectives much better now - and not assume they see the world like I do. It's just that much more of a miracle that we co-exist, and bond with each other domestically.
Kelby Merchant
this is a great book on animal psychology. i love it because i learned so much about to handle your dog and how to handle them when there feeling sad and depressed. its just about stuff like that. its an acquired type of reading.
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