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In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding Hardcover – 11 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane; First Ediion - 2nd Print Run edition (11 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846142954
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846142956
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The most fantastic book ... required reading for dog lovers everywhere ... his style is tolerant, clear and benign and he is interested only in what science can support. His book is a revelation - a major rethink about the way we understand our dogs ... he makes one feel fantastically upbeat about being a dog owner ... there is no doubt about it - Professor John Bradshaw is a dog's best friend (Kate Kellaway Observer )

Every dog lover, dog owner or prospective dog buyer should read this book. It will change how you feel about dogs and, likely enough, how you treat them, too...Sparkles with explanations of canine behaviour (James McConnachie Sunday Times )

Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complicated psychology behind the growl, the rising hackles and the wagging tail (Roy Hattersley Daily Telegraph )

Scholarly yet passionate ... nothing less than a manifesto for a new understanding of our canine friends ... fascinating (Chris Cox Guardian )

[A] wonderful, reassuring, and encouraging book ... distinguishes canine science from canine folklore (Jonathan Mirsky Literary Review )

Authoritative, wise and, in its sharp appreciation of the cost of dogs of living with us, rather moving (Robert Hanks Independent )

A lovely and clear-headed book on all things dog-emotion, mind, and breed. John Bradshaw's authority and experience are matched by the thoughtfulness and humanity of his writing. Read this before you bring a dog into your life. (Alexandra Horowitz author of 'Inside of a Dog' )

An alternative to conventional, dominance-based approaches to understanding dogs (Cesar Millan's methods, for example) in an informative...guide to how canine biology and psychology determine behavior.... Bradshaw's book is useful to those looking to further their understanding of dog behavior and clarify common misconceptions (Publisher's Weekly )

A well-grounded overview of the Canis family's evolutionary journey...this is what makes the book so appealing. He does more than simply lay out interesting theories; he uses science to advocate for a better life for companion dogs. (The Bark )

About the Author

John Bradshaw is a biologist who founded and directs the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute, based at the University of Bristol. He has been studying the behaviour of domestic dogs and their owners for over 25 years, and is the author of many scientific articles, research papers and reviews, which have not only shed new light on the dog's abilities and needs, but have also changed the way that dogs are understood and cared for all over the world.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. S. Smith on 12 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This intelligently written book presents an evidence-based case for enjoyable and humane relationships between people and dogs. It counteracts wide-spread beliefs about wolf packs, dominance and hierarchy in relation to domestic dogs. Highly recommended if you enjoy critical argument, and very useful for all dog-owners.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Daisy W on 15 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent book for dog owners and dog lovers. Erudite, informative and interesting. It's a real eye opener to their world, a world we dog owners thought we knew, but as it turned out we really don't. Bradshaw is a fine host to this ever changing world. He writes well, often quite wryly. His research into the millennia of dog history and subsequent domestication is impressive and interesting. I'll never see my dog with the same eyes again, but all the better for that. The accompanying illustrations by Alan Peters are fantastic. And there is a comprehensive and useful reading list for those that want to delve deeper into dog history and psychology.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ms. S. Williams on 28 Sep 2011
Format: Hardcover
Those fo us who are working in positive reward based training are constantly battling against the Cesar Milan brigade who believe we need to treat our dogs as if they were wolves trying to dominate everyone and everything in our lives. This book presents a clear rationale for why this is utter nonsense. Not only are dogs not wolves but the research on wolves is seriously flawed meaning that the basis of the 'dominance' training model is also totally flawed. It gives good analogies to human behaviour which helps understand why punitive methods create dogs who do behave, but they are only behaving because they are scared to put a paw wrong for fear of pain and fear. I do not want to force a dog to live in constant fear and anxiety, that is why I am a reward based trainer, which is fully supported in this book. The book helps me to explain to others why they should use positve reinforcement and not punishment on their dogs.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By James-of-south on 28 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover
After several years of trying to refine and better myself in the dominance 'pack hierarchy' approach to life with dogs. I really felt that for all my effort, awareness, discipline and strong belief in the pack leader style approach. My energy, enthusiasm, interest and relationship to my own dog and others had diminished.

Dog ownership had become a chore and a constant struggle.

My faith in those like Caesar Milan and 'the dog whisperer' (Jan Fennel) had begun to falter. I sensed that something wasn't right and so I went on-line to find a book that might offer insight.
As it happened this book had fairly recently been published and had reviews which suggested that the author's understanding of dogs was a very different one to that of the aforementioned authors.

This book proved to be an astounding eye opener!

It made brilliant sense, well explained, constantly backing up the theories expressed with hard evidence.
My relationship with my beloved hound was improved in weeks, made so much happier and a darn site easier too.

My view of canines had been radically changed. So much so that I could now say with confidence it has been thoroughly liberated!

Finally My blessings go out to this man for this great compassionate achievement he has laboured to make. This is a great service to a whole species, and one so close to so many millions hearts.
What an honour.
If you would like to have your whole understanding of those whom many call our best friends enriched.
Then I say, look no further.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By MRS E K BESTIC on 27 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
Amazing book! It's really opened my eyes as to how dogs think and how they feel, and how wrong some people can be about that. There's a lot of information in the book, but the science is really clearly explained.

A couple of nights ago I heard John Bradshaw talking about his book on the Book Club show on London's Biggest Conversation - for anyone who's unsure about whether or not to buy this book, I can recommend listening to the podcast.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Winbow on 28 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover
An excellent book about man's best friend, which is well written and very comprehensive. This is the best book on dogs and promotes their cause and welfare.

Adrian Winbow.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By NickR on 16 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback
I must admit that I haven't finished the book yet. I fact I'm only a third of the way in, and hating it. The author's style is turgid and repetitious, and if he can make a point once he makes it four times. What was his editor thinking of? I've got the point now about dogs being derived from wolves but not being actual wolves, and about the weakness of the alpha-male dominance theory. OK. Got it. Really. Don't tell me again!

So if I hadn't read these reviews, I guess I would have shelved the book by now, unfinished. Thank you, then, to the other reviewers who make the point that the book actually gets interesting and useful a bit further in. I'll persevere!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chris M on 2 Aug 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book. So much information clearly explained and backed up by study. Brilliant and useful. Every dog owner should read it.
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