Do you too find the insights from animal behavior experts about how our dogs think and feel to be quite fascinating?


Our dogs share our beds, homes, vacations, holidays and so much more, and yet there’s still a great deal to learn about them. And the more we know strengthens the bond we share – and if we’re lucky, it will also help us give as generously to them as they do to us.


In the recently published book, Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, animal behaviorist John Bradshaw uses scientific research to describe the world from a dog’s perspective and provides practical application to help us relate better to our dogs. And Bradshaw is certainly qualified; he’s the director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol in the U.K., and his research partners include the group’s medical detection dogs, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and he has studied the behavior of domestic cats and dogs for more than 25 years.


Visit NPR for last week’s fascinating interview of John Bradshaw by Terry Gross. Listen to it or read the transcript, or just read the highlights, and also find an excerpt from the book.


What’s revealed? Bradshaw discredits the alpha theory made popular because of dogs’ close relation to wolves, and explains how research on both dogs and wolves has shown it’s a false premise, and dogs who do come into conflict with their owners are usually motivated by “anxiety, not ambition.” He also stresses the need for positive reinforcement in training and the benefits (along with pointers) in teaching your dog to be home alone. And that’s not all, Bradshaw discusses military dogs (including why there’s a preference for Labs, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois), compares a dog’s senses to our own, which will likely encourage you to let your dog sniff a great deal more, and much more.


The Scoop:

Listen to or read Terry Gross’ interview with John Bradshaw on NPR, plus read more about the book and an excerpt.


Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, by John Bradshaw


Thank you to Noël Zia Lee on flickr for the photo of Ginger.