Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Understanding Dogs - Part 2

The following 3 books contain some of the most salient information ever compiled on the subject of comprehending the sometimes inscrutable sounds and actions of our best friends. First up is a treatise on the sounds, grammar (I'm not kidding!) and verbiage (it's all about the action with dogs) of pooches written by the inimitable Norwegian dog whisperer (sorry Cesar, she beat you to it!):
Barking: The Sound of a Language by Turid Rugaas

Next, in
How To Speak Dog: Mastering the Art of Dog-Human Communication, by Stanley Coren we have a compilation of sketches delineating typical canine postures and behaviors that begins by explaining typical canis lupus (wolf) behavior and is then extended to canis familiaris (domestic dogs). Among many insightful observations is the particularly interesting case made for the accidental confusion in signaling by dogs whose ears have been bred to be floppy - turns out canines relay on upright ears to convey myriad nuanced messages! Those tiny flicks, foldings and swivels hold much meaning.

And finally we end with an excellent book, recently published that builds on the foundation set by the two books above this time with photographs illustrating behaviors and postures all interpreted or explained to an extent heretofore never available. Good stuf! Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog, by Brenda Aloff.

These are all available on and linked accordingly. What a great time to be interested in canine language, ethology and behavior - so much thorough and accessible information is just a click away.

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