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on 18 August 2011
Excellent book. I learnt a lot about dog behaviour. John Bradshaw knows his subject extremely well. I was disappointed in that I bought the latest John Bradshaw book at the same time and they are virtually identical. I think the latest one should have been marketed as an updated reprint.
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on 17 December 2012
Tough to decide whom the target audience is:

1/ Owner: It's a long read, but in layman's term. It will help you shed the clinging few old wife's tales and let you look at your dog for what he is.
2/ Professional: It's fast becoming the bible of science-based trainers.
3/ Academic: It's bursting with ideas for cognitive ethologists, comparative psychologists, and clinical behaviourists.

In terms of scope, Dog Sense (aka In Defence of Dogs) combines the grounds of two pop science giants --Culture Clash (dog training and learning) and Inside of a Dog (dogs' senses and cognitive abilities)-- in one volume.

Dog Sense takes you through what we know and what we don't know about (among other things):

1/ Dogs' emotions: covering jealously (THANK YOU, finally someone is covering this in pop science) and shame. It takes a very interesting twist on love --I expected to be admonished for clinging to the certainty that my dog saw me as more than a meal-ticket, but nope.

2/ Dog's evolutionary history: discussing the rise of the canid family, and the potential details of speciation from wolves, including an interesting twist on the Coppingers' theory. Another THANK YOU for being the only other author I've read (with Linda Case) who explicitly mentions that the domestic dog and the gray wolf share a common ancestor: the dog does not directly descend from today's grey wolf.

3/ Breeds: THANK YOU also, for making the oft-understated point that working strains of pedigree dogs are not the magic answer to all welfare problems associated with purebred dogs. Granted, they are not primarily selected for their appearance (a la showring), but for extreme behaviours, making them unsuitable as pets.

4/ And a few other chapters full of similar gems on dog training, learning, intelligence, socialisation, etc.

True to form, I had to find something negative to say about it. Well, two things:

1/ Breadth and depth... Where Jean Donaldson summarizes, John Bradshaw... analyzes. The discussion and analysis in certain chapters stretched too long and dug too deep for the layman.

2/ Countless paragraphs started with 'Scientists say that...', implying a consensus in the scientific community. My objection is: he does so even on topics that are far from clear-cut like... dominance. In his 2009 opinion piece (Dominance in domestic dogs: useful construct or bad habit?), he did a better job at presenting the inconvenient literature too. The book is now wide open to accusations of intellectual dishonesty. Brevity and oversimplification are inevitable in pop science, but even a little quantifier like 'Most' in front of 'scientists' would have gelled with me more.

Every dog book boils down to a simple question for me: "Would the world be a better place if every dog owner had read this book?" With Dog Sense, my answer is: Yes, yes, a million times yes.
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on 19 February 2015
If you have already read 'In Defence of Dogs 'by John Bradshaw, (which is excellent ),don't make my mistake and buy this book. It's the same text, re-packaged under a different title! Not very fair, in my opinion!
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on 3 December 2012
I was going to buy this but luckily I looked at the table of contents first. Looks exactly the same as his 'In Defence of Dogs'. Not sure if one of them is a more recent edition but check before you buy. In Defence of Dogs is an excellent book. A well sourced, slightly academic, but still very readable look at current thinking about dog behaviour. As it looks similar, I also gave this one 5 stars as I had to rate it to leave a review
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on 13 March 2015
This is a must for anyone serious about the why and how of good training. I've trained several dogs fairly well, but this gave me many insights into how dogs see the world. The bits about puppies and young dogs are crucial. It reads like a scientific study more than a training handbook, but gives a solid background to understand good modern training - also to help us judge books that are not good. I'm right off Mr Milan after reading this, though his emphasis on lots of exercise and keeping dogs interested still stands. But so much of this explains why some dogs become afraid and badly behaved in human terms.
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on 19 April 2015
Be careful this book is also called In Defense of Dogs. Great book but I now have two copies, only the title is different!
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on 28 March 2016
Really great book with loads of great information, if you want to understand how your dog thinks this is perfect
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on 14 March 2016
Simply excellent.
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on 13 July 2013
The first few chapters are only interesting if you're interested in the science and evolution..I am...but it wasn't why I bought this skim read them. The rest is a bit dry and not as informative as I had hoped. Worth a read, but get a used copy then pass it on.
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on 3 June 2011
...have to be overly-aggressive with your dog. In many ways, in the same way that we have moved on from hitting our kids to treating them with more care and respect, then there is no reason why we shouldn't 'evolve' in the same way in respect to how we interact with man's best friend! In addition to this excellent book, I would also recommend Dog Training And Behavior: Obedience Tips To Raise The Perfect Dog Or Puppy. Plus BONUS The Successful Dog Adoption Guide which is also an excellent read.
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