Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book 11: Evolution of Canine Social Behavior

I've only read the first edition and not the newer addition of Evolution of Canine Social Behavior by Roger Abrantes.

While I was reading this class I was taking an animal behavior class. It was fun to see the Abrantes book go right along with the topics in the class. It really is a mini textbook about animal behavior using pretty much the standard vocabulary and concepts that ethologists use. It's a great way for a dog enthusiast to touch on ethology and learn some of the vocabulary and associated concepts that dog culture/consultants/professionals don't always utilize. Not all of the examples and concepts are directly related to dogs or even canids, though most of them do.

That said, I don't think it's directly useful for many of the people interacting with and working with dogs. Having an evolutionary understanding of behavior can help to understand what we're working with (and against) when we are training, but the book is not about training and so that piece is left up to other books or the creativity of the reader.

It can be difficult to take studying domestic dogs as 'real' science, and that's why it has been more difficult for all sorts of researchers to use dogs and study dog behavior. This book definitely reminded me to think about dogs in terms of something other than behavior and how I'll be changing (or not) behavior.

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