Hitting the Books

Fall has arrived in all its glory and, all over the country, kids are back in school. Let’s take a cue from them and hit the books. 

Several new releases are piling up on my nightstand and I want to let you know about them so you can get them on your Christmas list early.

Let’s begin with the always wonderful, Alexandra Horowitz, PhD. and her latest, Our Dogs, Ourselves; the story of a singular bond. I have been a fan of her work since Inside of a Dog and had the great pleasure of meeting her during the 2014 SPARCS conference. In her latest book, she looks at the unique, and very complicated relationship we share with our canine companions. We share so much of our time and emotional lives with dogs, but at the same time, they enjoy the same legal protections as furniture. She delves into how we justify behaviors (both canine and human) and poses some great thought provoking questions. One of the things I like best about Horowitz’s work is how she seamlessly moves between the thoughts and feelings of a common dog owners and the deep-dive scientific research. Much of that research comes from her own observation and the pioneering work she heads up at the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College at Columbia University. 

Another interesting dog-centric scientist I met through SPARCS is Clive Wynne. Originally from the U.K., Wynne currently heads up the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State. Wynne has cranked out scientific papers on the topic of animal cognition for years, but is hitting his stride as another of the game-changers in canine cognition and the accompanying research, along with Horowitz, Dr. Brian Hare, and Roger Abrantes. 

Dog Is Love explores more of the relationship between people and their pooches, more specifically what makes this bond so strong. We know that dogs have basically evolved right beside us over the past millennia, but how has this led us to a place where dogs are basically hardwired to love us? And us to love them? 

    Marc Bekoff has a new book out with co-author Jessica Pierce. Unleashing Your Dog looks at how we live with our pets, what we can do to make their lives better, and what are we unknowingly doing that is stressing them out. I enjoy Bekoff’s outlook as he tries to get people to seriously think about the way they treat their dogs, and all animals, but sometimes get a little sidetracked wondering what his endgoal vision might be. I want the best life possible for my pack, but I don’t know that letting them “live like dogs” is always going to be in their best interest. I do want to note, that as a trainer, using his perspective with clients has helped me to get them to realize what their dog might be missing out on and what they need to do to enrich the lives of their pups. 

    Last, but certainly not least, in this chapter of The American Canine is the most recent release from the incredible Maria Goodavage. She has tackled Soldier Dogs, and Secret Service Dogs, and now she is on to Doctor Dogs: How Our Best Friends Are Becoming Our Best Medicine. Dogs have made news in recent years as scientists have trained them to sniff out cancer and diabetes, help calm autistic people, and even provide comfort to people with PTSD. Goodavage packs an emotional punch with her writing while keeping the science straight as she explores some of the amazing things dogs are doing to help human health.

So, how about you? What great dog books have you been reading? Let me know what great page-turners are keeping you up at night (or putting you to sleep).

Until next time, remember, get out there and DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR DOG!

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