Kim's Reviews > Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals

Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin
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Oct 21, 2012

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Read from October 21 to 26, 2012

This book, by Temple Grandin, spoke to animal behaviour, animal husbandry and animal management. It provided a lot of evidence for behaviours that have been studied both in the field and the clinical environment. It covered dogs, cats, horses, pigs, chickens, etc. And I have to admit I skipped the chicken parts. Overall, it was informative and added to my knowledge and way of thinking, especially about dogs.

For some of the dog chapters Ms Grandin 'debunks' Cesar Milan and his way of thinking about dogs. But she does it in a very fair and even way, which I thought was good. There is little to no emotion involved in her conclusions and I think I appreciated that the most. The whole idea of a 'pack leader' or having to be the dominant one in our relationships with dogs is just not played out in true wolf behaviour. She also goes on to speak about agression, fear and rage and how it is manifested in dog behaviour today. I truly enjoyed the little vignettes she wrote of about her own pets.

I have to say that I agree much more on her take on our dogs than I do with Mr Milan. Dogs are a part of our family and we do need to take on more of a 'parenting' role with them. However, I disagreed with some of her admonishments about what dogs need to be balanced and 'happy'. There is only so much you can get from observing behaviour. When you live with dogs, many dogs, you get to know them at a different level and they, you.

The funniest chapters were those about cats. I have never found many of the behaviours of cats to be true in my own cats. And I've had up to 5 at a time. But she admits, herself, that there is little to no studies around cats. Still, her behavioural explanations were spot on and very informing.

I like these types of books because they give me more information and allow me to decide for myself what the best way to manage and live with my own pets are. Ms Grandin definitely provided additional insights that I'll incorporate into my own behaviour and interactions with my pets.
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