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Why Does My Dog Act That Way?: Complete Guide to Your Dog's Personality [Paperback]

Stanley Coren
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Dec 2007
We've shared our lives with dogs for thousands of years, but they still act in ways that baffle us. To help us understand them better, Dr. Stanley Coren, the undisputed expert on dog behavior, intelligence, and training, tells the story of how dogs evolved over time into the myriad forms and breeds we love today. Not simply domesticated wolves, dogs are actually much more complex than wild canines; their ability to adapt to a man-made world is far more flexible, their personalities far more diverse. Fascinating findings reveal which breeds were bred to become more dominant, affectionate, cooperative, or even dangerous. This practical, surprising book also presents - for the first time - the "Dog Behavior Inventory," a simple, fun test based on the personality-profiling questionnaires used in human psychological studies that you can administer to your own dog to get a detailed picture of his personality and how he compares to other members of his breed. Then, using the findings of the U.S. Army's once- classified studies of "Superdogs," you can train your pet to become a real-life equivalent of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin - a dog who is not disturbed, angered, or frightened by anything. Filled with the entertaining anecdotes and scientific data that Dr. Coren's avid followers have come to expect and enjoy, this uniquely complete guide to dog psychology can help you to select a new companion and to understand and communicate better with your old friend.

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Why Does My Dog Act That Way?: Complete Guide to Your Dog's Personality + How To Speak Dog
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 Reprint edition (4 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743277074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743277075
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 14.4 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 939,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"With a sharp-eyed analysis and wry wit, [Coren] meticulously examines the species' capabilities in a four-star toolbox fully equipped to help you better interpret Fido." -- "The Seattle Times"

About the Author

Stanley Coren, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, is a recognized expert on dog-human interaction who has appeared on Dateline; The Oprah Winfrey Show; Good Morning, America; 20/20; Larry King Live; and many other T.V. and radio programs. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a beagle, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, as well as his wife and her cat.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For advanced learners. 15 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Reading the title, people could expect answers to questions like "Why is my dog doing this or that?", but they will be disappointed because the book does not contain any of those answers. They should also read the subtitle "A complete guide to your dog's personality". That's what it is. The author studies the behavior and temperament/personality of the dogs with a very scientific approach, which is interesting for scientist, but I'm afraid boring for the common dog-owner. In contrast to the author's other books, it is quite dull and does not contain those fascinating little anecdotes he normally uses.
The reader will be interested in the chapter describing the different temperaments/personalities of the different breeds and how they interact with the owners, other people, other dogs and with their environment, giving first hand clues as to how to educate it and why. He explains why and how one should choose a certain breed according to its personality traits, its family environment and the future "use" of the dog. This is a valuable advice!
Into my opinion, a 1 star book for the common dog-owner; a 5 star book for advanced learners and scientist. At last, he clearly and extensively explains why "a dog is not a domesticated wolf!", which on its own is a 5 star catcher. The thousands of animal psychologist and behaviorists, other breeders and authors who still maintain the contrary should read this book.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
arrived promptly.The book contents exactly as title.
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By Michdwy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I consider Stanley Coren to be the greatest writer about dogs. Although he is a scientist, a psychologist, he writes in such a way that it is fully understandable to anyone and very pleasurable to read. I have other books written by him and they are "my bible" enabling me to understand all the things that dogs do and the reason for their behaviour. I refer to them frequently. Anyone contemplating either buying a puppy or breeding them ought to read this book and absorb his suggestions. One can compare one's own dog with others of its own breed from masses of data collected from vets, trainers and owners etc. As it details the characteristics of all the principal breeds and would greatly help in making a choice of breed if one was not sure. Also a fascinating enjoyable read for anyone who loves dogs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great 8 Feb 2007
By Chris Perkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Interesting in parts, but it didn't live up to the title. I found it to be more of an exploration of how dogs became domesticated over thousands of years, and the ways in which they differ from their wild brethren. There were some good insights, but overall I felt it was too "clinical", for lack of a better word. I much preferred the author's How To Speak Dog.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love dogs and want to know more about them this is a great book for you! 29 Feb 2008
By Mr. H - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was a very interesting and informative read. Although it was not what I expected, I was pleasantly pleased with what I did get from the book. The book deals with how and why dogs came to be, over evolution, the great companions they are now. Along with a general guidelines of what personality to expect from a breed. However it does go into detail of how it is genetics more than breed that can play huge impact on a dogs personality. There is also a heartbreaking section about dogs used in illegal fighting, as well as inspiring tales of heroic dogs. I think this book is a good read for the anyone who just loves dogs and wants to understand more about them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Look on Dogs 16 Nov 2009
By Yolanda S. Bean - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was a fun and rather fascinating study of dogs. I especially enjoyed the personality quiz that was included in the book. The anecdotes ranged from amusing to heart-breaking. The chapter on heroic dogs especially stood out. I thought it was a good balance between science and entertainment. There was a good deal on the domestication of dogs, which I think is interesting, though Coren did not mention co-evolution, which I found to be rather surprising. Still, I really enjoyed this!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time or money 29 May 2013
By JReducation - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The title is misleading. He does not address specific questions. That's his first problem, but not his last.

He throws the word "dominance" out there too often. Here's the problem. When most of us hear "dominance" we think of someone like Cesar Millan who uses it to mean control. When Dr. Coren uses it, he's not really talking about the same kind of control as Millan. If you don't know his work or have never seen his shows, you can easily misunderstand him. He's using it to mean assertiveness. An assertive dog is not looking to take over your life, much less the world.

He talks a great deal about personality testing only to tell you that there are not truly reliable tests out there. I'm not sure why he spend 15 pages describing them.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lofty Academic 30 Sep 2011
By K. S. Pettry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book because it was mentioned favorably by Cesar Milan in his books. However, this book is not nearly as readable or informative as Milan's books so if you prefer simplicity and direct information rather than high handed, lofty academic writing, you will not like this book.

Mr. Coren first of all, talks down to his audience and treats dogs more like scientific experiments than beloved pets and companions. A typical sentence by Croren may start out like this "John Deefledorph, professor of psycopsychologyd boo-bahness at the University of the Grand Poobah and author of the Book "His Grandness Load of BS" and . .. . . " On and on like that. It takes a paragraph sometimes for Coren to get to the part where the grand pooh bah conducted a study of some sort. I've always wondered why academics rely on studies to the exclusion of plain common sense. Guys like this will cite to a study before they go the bathroom.

Moreover, Coren has a very high handed arrogant and smug writing style I don't particularly care for. In fact, I got little from this book except a lot of information about a lot of studies and truthfully, it was upsetting reading about heartless studies done on dogs by the military.

If you are a fan of tedious academic writing and studies and clinical writing that lacks warmth and insight, you will like this book. I myself got nothing out of it and that is purely my fault I'm sure. Coren keeps himself and his subject at a distance and lacks a real warmth both towards dogs and dog owners.

This is a soulless book on a soulful subject.
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