Can I really be serious about the title? Most dogs can do little more than sit and stay and can barely walk on a lead.
–Briand Hare & Vanessa Woods - The Genius of Dogs - c.2013
“Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets.”
Obviously this book is aimed more at dog lovers than at any more general reader, so if you aren’t interested in how and why your dog, or any dog, does what it does then you won’t be too interested in what this book has to say.
However if you are looking for a scientific book then this isn’t really the one for you. It is very much a popular science book, it references plenty of studies and articles in passing, but it is an easy read, skipping from topic to topic without ever going hugely in-depth into any one area. In my opinion this is what makes this book work. It is intended for exactly that audience and it delivers.
It also branches out into the differences between how dogs and other animals react to humans, how dogs are so much more responsive because of how people and dogs have evolved to live together. And how they really really aren’t wolves in disguise, and shouldn’t be treated however you think a wolf should be treated [ref]of course all that dominance theory is so outdated now anyway that you shouldn’t be using it[/ref]. Most of the research he mentioned I was vaguely familiar with as I have an interest in it. A surface interest mind, I wouldn’t be off reading scientific papers, just the pop-round up version. I did find the chapter about Skinner and behaviourism and how maybe clicker-training works because it affects the human rather than the dog a very interesting read.
All in all it is an entertaining read, providing a decent over view of where we are at the moment in relation to trying to understand dogs and their behaviour.