45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding (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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Initial post: 18 Aug 2011 15:27:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Aug 2011 15:38:33 BDT
Queta 2000 says:
Mr Bradshaw places little credence in the genetically selected tendencies of temperament relative to breed or on the history of breeding. The dog in art gives far earlier proof of well defined breeds long before Mr. Bradshaw accepts they were bred with such specific intentions of conformation or purpose. Fighting dogs were bred for that purpose for gambling from medieval times in Europe, just as many of the smaller breeds were bred for companionship and others for herding, hunting or guarding. The sight hounds are pictured in Roman times or even Egyptian times, spaniels, poodles, hounds, bichons and others appear in very much the same varieties, sizes, shapes and colours as those familiar today as far back as the fifteenth century. Surely a dog which is bred specifically to guard and attack when required, to hunt by sight or by scent, to herd larger animals or to be a gentle, cheerful companion will, after hundreds of generations of selection perform its selected task better than those bred for an entirely different purpose, just as a Spanish fighting bull will fight far more readily than a Hereford, a dairy breed have a greater capacity for milking than either of those or a racehorse will run far faster and more readily than a draught horse but does not do well in shafts.
Just as a sight hound does not hunt by scent and you would not expect a greyhound or a whippet to easily fulfill the tasks of a border collie or a labrador retriever, so I believe it is unrealistic to ask guard and personal defense dogs or the fighting breeds to fulfil the task of being a family companion. They are not bred to be pets and the unkindness is perhaps in expecting them to overcome the years and generations of selective breeding which have made them into protectors, guard dogs or fighting dogs.
I found this book quite depressing with the constant wolf references and using brief and limited observation of small groups of dogs as 'scientific evidence' and a basis for training all dogs. After 60 years as a dog owner in the company of some very special dogs I would make the plea to keep dogs within their comfort zones, choose them for what you want of them and don't to expect them to reverse centuries of selective breeding in a single step.
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