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How Dogs Work


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About the Author

Raymond Coppinger is professor emeritus of biology at Hampshire College. His books include Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Mark Feinstein is professor of cognitive science at Hampshire College.


"Written by two of the most distinguished teachers and scientists ever to have studied dogs, Coppinger and Feinstein, this book explores the behavioral design of the dog most eloquently. The authors detail a modern perspective on our understanding of canine ethology that began with Charles Darwin and continued with Konrad Lorenz, as they build on the pedagogical approach of a course written by Ray for the UK's Centre of Applied Pet Ethology. How Dogs Work clearly describes why a dog behaves like a dog as result of being physically, physiologically, genetically, and developmentally shaped like a dog, and steadily shapes our understanding of just how and why dogs are such a special species. But this is no dry scientific tome; rather, it is delightfully and sensitively written and will surely strengthen your love of dogs by enhancing your appreciation of their evolution alongside man, their emotions, and their behavior. It is quite simply a 'must have' for all dog enthusiasts, dog behaviorists, and training professionals and is an illuminating joy to read for all dog owners."--Peter Neville, The Ohio State University and the Center of Applied Pet Ethology, Sheffield, UK
"How Dogs Work draws on the authors' extensive knowledge from years of experience and field experiments. They have done more serious, hands-on experiments with dogs, over a longer period of time, than almost any other researcher, which makes their research worth paying close attention to. While offering an integrated perspective for viewing and understanding the behaviors of dogs, the book is also entertaining and informative due to its frequent use of colorful examples."--Lynette Hart, author of The Perfect Puppy: How to Choose Your Dog by Its Behavior
"Packed with fascinating and provocative insights, How Dogs Work throws down the gauntlet to those who believe that dogs possess humanlike feelings and cognitive capacities."--James Serpell, author of In the Company of Animals
"Coppinger and Feinstein reveal how dog behavior has built-in biological origins and constraints and how it is influenced by genetics, the environment, and the consequences of that behavior. If you really want to know more about animal behavior, and dog behavior especially, then this is a book for you. Be prepared to be challenged and you will learn a lot."
--Robert Bailey, animal trainer
"In a complement to existing science-informed books on the subject, Coppinger and Feinstein bring the concept of dog behaviour neatly to the forefront. While we already have a fairly firm grasp on the physical inner workings of canines, How Dogs Work focuses more on the differences brought about by breed traits, and makes comparisons between dogs and an array of wild canid species, including jackals and dingoes. . . . Aimed at both lay and specialist reader, what really sets How Dogs Work apart is a host of anecdotes by Coppinger that provide compelling real-life context. Throughout the book, he draws on his experience of owning and competing with sled dogs as well as his expertise with a range of other working dogs."
--Times Higher Education
"Almost everything you think you know about dogs is wrong. Forget the loyal companion stereotype, or the idea you've got to show you're the alpha of the pack. Ethologists Coppinger and Feinstein present this most familiar of animals in a new object light, analyzing their anatomy and behavior with science rather than sentimentality."

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