How Dogs Work (Paperback)

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Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein
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University of Chicago Press
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Finally, a new book from our old friend Ray Coppinger!! For those of you interested in Ray's take on behavior, ethology and how dogs learn, this is the book for you. How well do we really know dogs? People may enjoy thinking about them as man's best friend, but what actually drives the things they do? This is an outstanding and up-to-date guide to understanding your dog and his behavior with a very complete bibliography for those of you who want to see more of the most recent research.

Approaching dogs as a biological species rather than just as pets, Coppinger and Feinstein accessibly synthesize decades of research and field experiments to explain the evolutionary foundations underlying dog behaviors. They examine the central importance of the shape of dogs: how their physical body (including the genes and the brain) affects behavior, how shape interacts with the environment as animals grow, and how all of this has developed over time. Shape, they tell us, is what makes a champion sled dog or a Border collie that can successfully herd sheep. Other chapters in How Dogs Work explore such mysteries as why dogs play; whether dogs have minds, and if so what kinds of things they might know; why dogs bark; how dogs feed and forage; and the influence of the early relationship between mother and pup. Going far beyond the cozy lap dog, Coppinger and Feinstein are equally fascinated by what we can learn from the adaptations of dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingoes, and even pumas in the wild, as well as the behavior of working animals like guarding and herding dogs.

We cherish dogs as family members and deeply value our lengthy companionship with them. But, isn't it time we knew more about who Fido and Trixie really are? How Dogs Work will provide some keys to unlocking the origins of many of our dogs' most common, most puzzling, and most endearing behaviors.

What experts are saying about How Dog Work:
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 human-like feelings and cognitive capacities.
James Serpell, author of In the Company of Animals

Raymond Coppinger was 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.