Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home & Other Unexplained Powers of Animals” as Want to Read:
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home & Other Unexplained Powers of Animals
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home & Other Unexplained Powers of Animals

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  751 ratings  ·  85 reviews
How do cats know when it's time to go to the vet, even before the cat carrier comes out? How do dogs know when their owners are returning home at unexpected times? How can horses find their way back to the stable over completely unfamiliar terrain

With a scientist's mind and an animal lover's compassion, world-renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake presents a groundbreaking
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 12th 2000 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published 1999)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home & Other Unexplained Powers of Animals

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  751 ratings  ·  85 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home & Other Unexplained Powers of Animals
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: anthrozoology
Here's the thing about Sheldrake and his theories. When you're reading them, they make perfect sense. They're internally consistent (pretty much) and his rationale seems waterproof, while he's actually talking to you. It's only as you start thinking about what you've read that you realize something's up.

First of all, if his data is as rigorous as he claims why has none of it been published in a major peer-reviewed journal? His answer is that the "establishment" is against him. As someone
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, dogs
My old dog Sam travels to work with me every Friday. See that happy face?


That's Sam driving to work with me one Friday. I never say a word about it being Friday until I'm nearly walking out the door because he gets ridiculously excited and when he gets excited, he pees. Not just a dribble either. Let me tell ya, there's nothing like getting peed on when you're all dressed and running late for work. It took me a few years before I discovered that telling Sam ahead of time that "It's Friday
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fauna
To judge the book perhaps it is good to read this:

Thanks, Joan.
Jan 30, 2009 rated it liked it
This book explores the paranormal abilities of dogs, cats, horses, birds and other animals. Sheldrake attempts to explain how these animals can sense when their owners are returning home, as well as other abilities that remain unexplained. For example, how can a dog or cat alert its owner before they have an epileptic fit? Or before there is an earthquake or other natural disaster? Some animals show signs of agitation hours before an event like this, when no known sensory abilities would detect ...more
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Either you get Rupert or you think he is a total whack job.
I think I get him. I mean like, haven't *you* wondered if your pet knows stuff like is in the title of this book? You do, right? You won't admit it because you figure people will make fun of you (and they will! gleefully!), but you do.
Well, good old Rupe doesn't give a rat's patootie what other people think. He just checks out stuff he finds interesting, and devises experiments to see what's really going on.
This books is full of
Mar 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: disappointment
I'm reminded of this book today due to my dog doing something very smart. Nevertheless I still believe this book is complete drivel. Despite my dog being smart, she can't figure out on which days I'm going to take her for a morning walk - if my wife is home, we don't go. So she's definitely not psychic.

The problem with this book is that there's just no standards in the evidence. Sheldrake recounts many anecdotes in which "at the exact same moment, on the other side of town" something happens. Of
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
My dog can tell when I'm coming home even though I arrive at varying times and on a bicycle and so it's hard to explain by timing or hearing or smelling something from far away. I would like to understand how dogs can do this. It is a legitimate scientific question.

The book has numerous interesting examples of this sort of thing, but instead of going deep and answering the question, Sheldrake goes broad and shallow with lots of anecdotes about remarkable behaviors by lots of different animals
Tippy Jackson
Nov 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: animalia
Definitely enjoyed the anecdotes and I agree it's well worth beginning the documentation process of such anecdotes. I feel like he's making a huge leap to his hypothesis of morphic fields, but I love that he's trying to think of something new and breaking out of the current paradigm. His hypothesis is not impossible, I just don't think he has enough evidence to support it. But documenting all of these cases and doing more experiments like the ones with Jaytee is a good start to discovering more ...more
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
This book proved what pet owners have always known, that animals have an uncanny knack for communicating with their owners , hundreds of pet owners had obviously been asked to fill in a questionaire answering questions about their experience with pets , knowing when their owner had been ill, what time they were coming home even if they had a different routine every day, animals who knew when their owners had passed away, owners who had sensed their pets were ill, lost or in trouble, the stories ...more
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I think the topic has plenty of merit and commend Sheldrake for persisting in the face of opposition. Perhaps some of his ideas or methods are dubious but it does seem like he is treated rather unfairly if he is indeed accurately portraying the interactions in the "Controversies" section, which describes some terrible behavior by a few of his critics. I didn't enjoy the book mainly because it felt long and rote. I feel the 337 pages could have been thinned to around 100. It felt very repetitive ...more
Rachel Bush
May 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was a did not finish for me. I really tried, folks. I really had a big issue with the authors writing style... it was very redundant/tedious. I completely believe there are connections between people and animals and that this can even be proven scientifically, but this book wasnt doing it for me. Due to its repetitiveness it is a much longer book than it should be. At my book club all but one person did not finish this book, so I was in good company. The one person who did finish was the ...more
Andd Becker
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
The author delves into the theme of perceptiveness, which includes telepathy, sense of direction, and premonitions.
He provides numerous examples of animals who perceive the arrival times of their humans. Dogs, cats, and other pets exhibit animal understanding and empathy.
The social bonds between dogs and humans and between cats and humans are wonderful and intense. Dogs howl when their owners die. Dogs can even respond to accidents befalling their owners, who may be many miles away.
On an
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
This is one of those books that has an interesting premise and some interesting data that might support it, but the proposed theory of what the data means is complete an utter drivel. Morphic fields? Please. Let's just admit that we don't KNOW why some animals display an uncanny knack for knowing when their owners are coming home, be impressed that there are a fair number of cases of it, and be done with it.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
I pulled this out of the wildlife section at the Oxfam bookshop,as I guess they where confused as to which section to display it in,and after reading it I'm still not in a position to advise them on this matter.
The book is to a larger degree constructed of testimonies and data that verify the authors theories on Morphic Fields,which is only referred to in passing, and as such it presupposes the readers familiarity with his previous works on this subject.If you are coming to this book without
The author takes a quite scientific approach to a very unscientific subject in this book, offering evidence and examples of animal telepathy and precognition. Obviously, the examples and case studies are the most interesting parts of the book and the science behind the theory is easily broken down to make this an entertaining non-fiction book. I do wonder if in the nine years between this book's publication and my discovery of it, if the outlined experiments for further study took place. And ...more
Joseph Gendron
Apr 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I was enlightened to learn of the powers of animals to sense things using faculties other than sight, sound and smell. The author attempts to define what the faculties are with theories that are difficut to prove but gives many different examples and encourages readers to test and note the behaviour of their pets as a way of gaining understanding. It is a fascinating subject and has made me aware of a level of communication with animals, both domestic and wild, that doesn't have to be verbal.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
I'm going to show my age and just say it; it felt like I was reading for class and I have no idea what the prof wants me to get out of it. The original thesis is clear, the organization is solid, but the bulk of this book is anecdotal. And I'm not sure what to draw from that. Yes, there are some studies, but there are far more 'reports' and statistical compilations of said reports.
Maybe Sheldrake is on to something, but I don't think he's there yet.
Mike S
Sep 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves animals
This is a great book that proves that there is a lot more going on with animals awareness than science currently understands. The author provides numerous examples of animals acting as if they are pre-cognitive and supports his case very well. Dogs, cats, birds and horses included. The way he approached it leaves no doubt in my mind that he has identified something that clearly exists but that science has yet to explain.
Elesa Labanz
Aug 07, 2007 rated it liked it
This is another book that I probably would have enjoyed more as a long article than a book. I can see that it's very popular but I found it quite repetitive. I'm not used to reading quite so much information about the mechanics of doing studies such as were performed here so that could be part of the problem I had.
Abby Peck
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
I skimmed this book to try and find out how dogs (and other pets but I only cared about dogs) know when their owners are en route to them and unless I missed it no one knows exactly how, they just do. My dog is often looking out the front window when I get home but I assume he spends a lot of time looking out the window.
Bob Hill
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
A scientist who writes well, Sheldrake has amazing stories to tell about dogs and other animals in this book, and some of them are so well documented that it would be hard for anyone to reject them out of hand, strange though they are.

Highly recommended for dog lovers and for anyone with an interest considering the possibility that what we normally consider to be real may not be all there is.
Wanda Brenni
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
As with so many basically scientific books, it is very repetitive. But through the years, I am almost as repetitive as I retell the research and the findings. This isn't a dog story. This is a cosmic awareness moment as we learn that what connects us with our animals are morphic fields, that interconnectedness with other that can so easily stretch through space and distance.
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A little dryer than I thought it was going to be,but I still enjoyed it. There is a lot more focus on research as opposed to animal stories, which was what I was hoping for. Still, I enjoyed reading the science behind it all, and the snippet stories were fun too.Borrowed from my local library; I did not know they had a copy until I accidentally stumbled across it. Four stars for animals!
Melissa (ladybug)
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in animal psychology
Recommended to Melissa (ladybug) by: no one
Shelves: non-fiction, 4-5stars
This book was an enjoyable read. I have experienced my dog seeming to know when I was home and my grandmother once knew when my dad was in an accident, but otherwise I don't agree with the authors premise of telepathy. I don't know how you could scientifically prove something like that. One person believes it is telepathy, another that it is spiritual. Who is right?
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
I absolutely adore animals most especially dogs. I picked up this book with my late dog, and best pal Ivan in mind. I lost him not too long ago and was looking for a comfort read. I enjoyed this book and have to commend Sheldrake for even pursuing such a topic. His scientific approach was charming and appreciated by me. If you're not a pet lover - you should probably not read this book.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this book some time ago and liked the material that it covered. Animals are definitely tuned-in when it comes to the welfare of their human companions. Mr. Sheldrake is a riot to watch ... check him out on youtube or some other social media site to hear him wax-on.
Liz P-H
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it
The first couple of chapters really drew me in but the rest of the book quickly devolved into conjecture and statements around "If we had more experiments then we would have proof of..."

It was a bit of a slog.
Oct 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
It was a good book for what it was... doesn't really appeal to my age group because it is more of a science paper.
Jun 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and provocative! Author took Ph.D. in biochemistry at Cambridge. Found this sweet book on a summer reading list from the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Not sure abouot Sheldrake but he does present some convincing "evidence"
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me
  • The Great Good Thing (The Sylvie Cycle, #1)
  • King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus
  • The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
  • The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, and Me
  • The Few: The American "Knights of the Air" Who Risked Everything to Fight in the Battle of Britain
  • An Hour Before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood
  • Cronkite's War: His World War II Letters Home
  • Buffalo Girls
  • The Art of Monsters University
  • Clarence, the TV Dog
  • Gooseberry Park
  • The Admirable Crichton
  • The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg
  • The Darkest Evening of the Year
  • Walking My Dog Jane: From Valdez to Prudhoe Bay Along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
  • The American
  • A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends
See similar books…
Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and ten books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy and history of science at Harvard University, where he ...more

News & Interviews

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
7 likes · 0 comments
“I am more interested in dogs than in dogmas. Obviously,” 2 likes
More quotes…