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Dogwatching : [Hardcover]

Desmond Morris , Edward Coleridge
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Oct 1987
Dogwatching answers fundamental and fascinating questions about man's best friend--questions often overlooked by standard dog books and even by dog owners themselves. 21 black-and-white photographs.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; Reprinted Edition edition (30 Oct 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224028677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224028677
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good informative read. 22 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I know this book is very old but I have never bought it before, despite being a dog owner now for about 43 years. Starts off with the development from wolf to dog and why so many different breeds of dogs, small, medium and large in size and selective breeding and then goes on with topics e.g. why do some dogs roll in "poo", does a raised tail mean a dog is friendly, and numerous things that dog owners will find of interest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Useful Book on Dog Behaviour 1 July 2014
A fantastic and very practical boiok on dog behaviour full with insights for all caine lovers and everyoe else!
A great read coverig a series of topics hard to find together in one single book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Understand your dog 14 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent book for anyone with a dog. I first bought this 20yrs ago, every time I lend it to someone I never get it back.
Well worth a look
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Tidbits and Useful Information 3 July 2001
By Sandra D. Peters - Published on
I first read "Catwatching" and with my love for the cats and dogs who have always been a part of my family, "Dogwatching" was a must-read book. I was not disappointed. Filled with answers to every-day questions, you will discover some interesting facts in this book. While many of the questions may seem common, the answers may be far different from what one might assume. Why do dogs bark? What actually happens when they mate - it is not the simple quick process one might think. What is a dog really telling you when he wags his tail? What about their eyesight and hearing capabilities? How did the "hotdog" get its name? What do we mean by "dog-days" and where did the term originate? I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. What really set this book apart from many others is that it does not revolve around dog care - there are a vast number of other books on that issue. This one concentrates entirely on the dog's nature, history, and unique mannerisms. It is great book written by a well-informed author and a highly enjoyable read.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly lightweight and outdated 16 Dec 2005
By A. Canfil Jr. - Published on
Coming as it does from a respected zoologist, this is a surprisingly unscientific collection of canine trivia. I'm a very slow reader, but I finished off the 130 pages in a winter afternoon. Most chapters are very short, so there is blank space at the end of each. The line drawings by Edward Coleridge are nice, but are doubtful at adding useful information, while leaving even less of the scant pages to convey text. "Dogwatching" has the appearance of a book hacked out in a few days. Morris is capable of much better.

The book consists entirely of single-subject chapters, each one answering a question that Desmond Morris selects to ask himself, such as "Why do dogs bark?" and "Why do some breeds have short legs?" For the most part, Morris answers his own questions with far more confidence than proof. There are no footnotes, no bibliography, no index, no references to other works. If you have a question about dogs, you better hope Morris has asked himself the same question. You also better hope that Morris got the answer right, which is far from a foregone conclusion.

Morris uses a breezy style that seems to rely on his personal authority and opinion rather than proof or citations. Since he doesn't attempt to prove his statements, many of his explanations could have been made at least as clearly in a sentence or two, but have been inflated into these mini-chapters.

Morris does seem to sincerely love dogs, giving them full credit as our best friends and supporting their humane treatment. I salute him for that, as well as for writing a sometimes interesting book. There are a few chapters that told me things I did not know about dogs, but I have to remain sceptical about those, since those "facts" are only pinned on Morris' personal authority. A person's reputation should earn him the right to be read, but readers should use care to accept statements from "authority" only with accompanying evidence.

Some of the areas where I think Desmond Morris errs:

Morris sees dogs as essentially being very slightly modified wolves. Much of this book directly explains dog behavior by referring to observed wolf behavior. But recent research has shown that in some very important ways, dogs differ from wolves.

"Dogwatching" was written in 1986, and (from looking at the copyright page) apparently has not been revised since. A LOT of new knowledge has been discovered about dogs and their canid cousins in the last 19 years.

For instance, it is now known that dogs, and even dog puppies, can read human body language like a book. Yet wolves can't. Nor can even human-fostered wolf cubs learn to "read" people. Even chimps can't read people like a dog can. In the context of dog-human relations, this is a HUGE behavioral difference between wolf and dog.

It is also clear that when he wrote this book, Morris didn't know about the remarkable work with foxes in Russia that created a domesticated fox by breeding for tameness over a few generations.

Morris even seems to think that a wolf can be just like a domestic dog, if only it is raised like one. This could even be a physically dangerous idea -- just ask some of the people who have hand-raised wolves and wolf-dog hybrids. Wolves may be unafraid of people who have raised the from puppies, but they never become "domesticated." "Tame" wolves may, and regularly do, turn on their human keepers, whereas wild wolves give humans a wide berth. Wolves simply lack the empathy that dogs have for the humans in their "pack."

"Dogwatching : Why dogs bark and other canine mysteries explained" may be fine for those who love both dogs and trivia, so long as those readers don't care very much if they get correct answers. Everyone else should save their money.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For beginners or just people who are interested 14 Jun 2004
By Susan L. Wyse - Published on
This does answer a lot of puzzling questions, but it is by no means extensive. Some of the information seems outdated, and he seems to make it out that all dogs live happy healthy lives. Which they don't. If you are looking for indepth information on dog behavior, skip this book, I'd recommend The Dog's Mind by Bruce Fogle. If you're looking for some simple answers to simple questions, or just interested, this is a good buy. This would be good for a 10 year old as well.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why does Fido do THAT? 14 Nov 2001
By Marcus Valdes - Published on
As a new dog owner, I wondered why my dog did so many unusual things. This book provides the answers in a clear concise question and answer format. An easy read, and very entertaining. Not really a dog care book, but read it if you care about dogs!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars decent beginner guide 17 May 2004
By David Group - Published on
This is a slim, question-and-answer style book that deals with some basic, seemingly puzzling, behaviors exhibited by dogs, explaining the biological and psychological reasons behind them in clear understandable language. This is by no means a comprehensive overview of dog behavior, and is best recommended for the reader with a casual interest in the subject.
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