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

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  2,628 ratings  ·  162 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.
Hardcover, First Edition, 382 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published July 21st 2005)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Start your review of For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend
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
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the information in this book. Both scientific and anecdotal, it gave me much insight into the relationship between my dog and me, and the world around him.
It was funny in parts, and a little sad in others. Most of the scientific/physiological information was illustrated with stories of her own dogs. She's a very good story teller. Even the complicated info was explained very well, and with vivid examples from the dogs on her farm, and various clients' dogs that she has trained
Joseph Soltero
Oct 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really fun and insightful book to read. I learned a lot about how my dog perceives the world!
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a dog lover and one who wants to understand more about what dogs think and feel, I learned a lot from this book. I also enjoyed the illustration section and the several case histories / stories. I also learned that my dog is kind of nervous / anxious around me sometimes. I think it's because she's hoping for a fun outing like a hike or trip to the dog part, but most of the time it's work or something else I'm preparing to do. I can also now recognize the times when my dog is showing fear of a ...more
Syd Dickson
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you're not a huge fan of dogs, you may not think as highly of this book as I did.

If you've never had that one (or more) heart and soul dog, you may not appreciate this book as much as I did.

But I am and I have. Actually, McConnell does reference lots of books written about other animals besides dogs, and discusses how human and other mammal brains differ and share similarities. I actually added sticky note tabs to go back and re-read and in some cases copy portions before returning the book
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding audio production.
The book itself is brilliant. I learned so much about my dog, my own brain, and how to build a better relationship with my dogs. Especially with my 2-year-old, who is very different than every other dog I've known.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Keith Lytton
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing this book took me a long time ..not because it was bad ..just the opposite was so full of good taught me a lot ...not just about my dogs ...but about others...I learned what to look for in other dogs when walking my own ...after Akira was bitten ..or attempted to be ...I was able to discern what other dogs were looking at and how they were responding to Akira which allowed me to keep him close before the growl or lunge opened up thoughts that I hadn't had b ...more
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very fascinating. Written in an easy, accessible style, it's ideal for the dog owner/breeder/trainer. It was wonderful and taught me a lot about my dog that I didn't really know and explained things I knew intuitively.

I have 3 dogs so I found this very edifying and helpful. It's a little late to train my dogs (as they are all officially seniors), but I think it'll help me be more patient with them.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
I hesitate to give a more substantial rating to this book as I just couldn't get motivated to read further than the preface and about 12 pages more. It really lacked the concise, accessible language I had hoped for and instead delved a bit too deeply into physiology and anatomy of the brain.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
very boring and far too much on the writer's dogs which seem to herd sheep .
a lot pseudo science and seems to assume that all dog owners have aggressive difficult dogs .There is a lot devoted to interpreting a dog's facial expressions . My dog does not seem to correspond to any of the featured analysis . Bared teeth means that I am just about to bite you . Who knew ?
The leading ( to the writer ) debate as to whether dogs experience emotions is picked apart . I don't know any owner who thinks a
Diana Wilson
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review is difficult because I listened to it on Audible and the author didn't create a PDF of the images for download. I want to rate the book very low for this as most other books provide a supplement at no additional price if there are visuals. However, the book is really informative and I found the information helpful. It still irritates me that I had to purchase the hard copy to get the 'full story', so I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth.

1 star for production. (Don't buy this on Aud
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Does your dog really love you? If you want to know how to really answer that question, this is the book for you. Patricia McConnell aggregates the best science available to answer a range of questions about how dogs think, feel and experience the world. She wraps it in her typical, very readable prose with real life anecdotes and examples that tie it all together and pull at the heart strings of any animal lover. I couldn’t wait to crack open this book, and I was not disappointed!
Kristen Dyer
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I'd read this book 2 years ago! It helped me understand why, in the aftermath of a dog attack, my young dog, who was not injured, became more afraid about seeing dogs on walks over time (not right away) and why my older dog, who was badly injured, is not afraid of other dogs after the attack.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, I started reading it but stopped and got the audio book because I was having a hard time reading, it’s very dense with a lot of information. But after listening to it, I have a new perspective on my relationship with my dog, and picked up a few things on how to bond and connect with my dog. Enjoyed it a lot!
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An AMAZING read. With various anecdotes and animal behavioural knowledge, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Learned a lot about my dog and I, and am definitely interested in McConnell's other books. What I love the most (other than the stories) is that there is a reference section at the back, directing you to many other thoughtful reads. May you be running your paws off, Cool Hand Luke x
Sarah Gonzalez
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So helpful! I read this right as we rescued my dog, and it was so fascinating to learn how dogs process human emotions and why they act/react the way they do. Highly reccommend it to anyone who has a dog or is interested in dog behavior!!
Mary A
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another good book by Patricia B McConnell. If you're a trainer or behaviorist with an interest in the science behind behavior or don't mind a bit of science, this a good book. There is good information about how to read a dog's body language - an must for anyone with dogs.
Tryniti Thresher
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Patricia is an amazing person, a uniquely enjoyable author, and a fantastic dog trainer. Her insight to the canine psyche is understandable, whimsical, and logical. It's a fun read, and hard to put down. Love her stuff!
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dog-related
Excellent! Books like these are exemplars of popular science done right, I think: lucid and fun reads that balance sophistication with a delicate didactic touch. It's difficult to say things simply without simplifying and patronizing a reader, but P. McConnell pulls it off really well here!
Patricia Gil
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"That is what dogs do: they make us happy. Ay our best, we make them happy too."

A must read for every dog owner. This book reveals how dog experience emotions and how do they relate to us. Human-dog relationship is a complex one, but the author helps shed light on the subject
Aug 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult, abandoned
Garbage. Why can't people just write something simple and straight forward? A lot of blah blah blah to tell you one tiny thing about emotions in a dog.
Heather Mishefske
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who owns, lives with or works with dogs needs to read this to learn how to help them understand how to live in a world with primates.
It's now been long enough since I finished this book that I don't quite remember much other than that I a) liked this book a lot and b) found it very helpful for understanding doggy body language.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m really beginning to like McConnell; I thought I was pretty good at reading a dog before this book, but now I feel even better about it. Skye the puppy seems to feel better about it too. :)
Katy Koivastik
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A common sense primer on what motivates dogs for people eager to keep their dogs happy, confident, and socialised members of the human/dog community.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent science Well written. Helpful to those who have dogs and instructive and enjoyable to those who do not
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2017 Reading Chal...: For The Love Of A Dog 1 11 Aug 12, 2015 05:28PM  

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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

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Rumaan Alam began writing Leave the World Behind with a series of tweets on a secret Twitter account he started two years ago.   The book that...
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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.” 43 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.” 7 likes
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