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

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,375 Ratings  ·  147 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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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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
Sarah DeVoe
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!!
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. :)
Aug 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, adult
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.
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.
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.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dog lovers
I loved this book because I love dogs. If I could, I would adopt every dog that needs a home and love. I am a big fan of those Hope For Paws videos where the dogs are rescued with lots of effort and love, and their souls blosom. A substantial part of this book is dedicated to learn how to "read" in the faces and other physical expressions of dogs. It is very educative and absolutely interesting.

This is my favorite photo of the book: a happy dog side by side with a woman making a happy face. It i
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
I think Patricia McConnell may be my favorite author of all these dog training books I'm reading. She's willing to accept that not all scholars are believers in dogs' capacity to feel complex emotions like jealousy, and delves into the science of dog (and human) emotions. Some practical advice for fearful and angry dog situations, focusing on rewards-based conditioning.
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Fuyuko Gratton
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dog, non-fiction, science
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
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastically amazing book that any true dog lover should enjoy and learn a great deal from. I love all of the research she has done and other people's research which she has studied and cited throughout the entire book - and even more how McConnell relates it to true events and stories from her own life.

Call it a cop out, but I believe the many important reviews found on its back cover say it best. Here are three out of a myriad of wonderful ones:

"A fascinating, highly educational read. McConn
Mar 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs, science
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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jen Blood
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Dr. McConnell's work surrounding positive training and animal behavior research for a long time, and this book is a perfect introduction to her work and philosophies. McConnell provides personal anecdotes and well-documented research, as well as her own experiences as a canine behaviorist and trainer, to give readers better insight into the canine mind.

What I love about this book is that the author acknowledges that we, as humans, have a tendency to project emotions and beh
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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
“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.” 39 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.” 8 likes
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