The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods

genius of dogs

This book is not, as you may have assumed (because I did), completely about dogs and the genius of that species.  Hare describes himself as an anthropologist who studies the behaviour of many animals, but his passion is for dogs.  Hare discusses how humans evolved, and how dogs evolved, and how we helped each other survive and develop.  There is also some interesting information on wolves, foxes and apes.  This helps us put into perspective quite where dogs are on the animal intelligence scale.

I have two dogs, one I consider to be pretty intelligent, the other one is a little slower to train, but we got the first one as a puppy and the second on at around six years of age.  But my dogs are nowhere near as bright as the ones he works with.  Or maybe I am not as bright as the humans who are working with their dogs.

Hare explains how dogs can follow our gestures (when there is food rewards involved I find that dogs can do pretty much anything) and how both humans and dogs have both survived as a consequence of working well with others.  We trust and understand each other.

The book gives us facts on pack behaviour, breeds, training and our affection for dogs.  It is not a training manual, though, merely something that you will find interesting if you find dogs interesting.  This is not my favourite dog book, that is Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz, but it is still an interesting one.  I like to learn as much about communicating with my dogs as I can, because they make such a huge effort to understand me.

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