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on December 9, 2010
Dogs Decoded: Understanding the Human-Dog Relationship is a fascinating DVD documentary about man's best friend. Dogs have been domesticated longer than any other animal, but only recently has research established that dogs have a unique talent - they are able to read and respond to human emotions. Dogs can be taught to respond to human pointing, unlike wolves or even apes. Puppies retain juvenile traits that allow them to be conditioned according to their master's needs, unlike wolf cubs that remain naturally aggressive and even destructive when raised in captivity. New discoveries in the genetics of dogs offer a world of insight into both human and canine ways of life. Dogs Decoded is an amazing tour of scientific revelation, highly recommended for dog lovers and public library collections. 56 minutes, widescreen, subtitles.
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on December 24, 2010
Saw this randomly on television one day and thought it was great. The documentary made some very interesting observations about dogs' behavior and intelligence vs. other animals that I had not yet seen. It is a quick watch and may make you think more highly of dogs' intelligence. There were some innovative studies shown in it and the conclusions were well supported. If you are bored ever or love dogs this definitely is worth an hour of your time.
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on January 8, 2011
This is a simply fascinating look at the relationship between canines and humans. It should be a must for anyone who owns a dog so that you can better appreciate your best four legged friend!
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on December 30, 2011
Dogs decoded is a must for the dog lovers amongst us.

Want to stave of a heart attack or up the potential of recovering from one - the information's here as well. How intelligent some breeds are and the difference between dogs, wolves and foxes - somehow the editors managed to cram it all in without information overload.

When looked at with training videos or the "whisperer's advice" it really does give a much better understanding of how to get the best from your relationship with your pawed companion.

It's certainly not the cheapest of DVD's, but it's less expensive by far than any destructive relationship with a pet that can happen just because we might overlook something simple. From that respect I'd have to rate it as a great investment.

The DVD takes us on a less than hour long journey through the history of our canine companions, showing us where we believe the relationship began, how it evolved and where our different breeds came from. Fundamentally it walks us through mankinds earliest attempts at genetic engineering.

We also find out just how successfull that crude geneticism was, as the highlights between the traits of dogs and wolves are examined together with the reason for the existance of them. We also find out why certain families of dogs exhibit certain psychological as well as physical traits.

The only part for me I felt was missing was a relative look at the other half of this patrnership, that could have have taken a quality production and turned it into something quite stellar.

I've seen lots of dog training videos and excersises, I have a Husky that doesn't run away and is [reasonably] obedient. Coming from that perspective a very personal opinion is that the only reason for not owning, renting, or viewing this documentary would be that you just might not be interested in getting the most that you can from your relationship with your dog.

This is not just a DVD for one person, our relationships cover our entire families, so expect everyone to benefit. A happy pet can be a blessing, a destructive one will only add stress so take the opportunity to lower your stress levels as needed, watch and understand.
I did.
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on September 19, 2012
I have viewed many documentaries related to dogs, cats and wildlife. This is an amazing film and how they got it all into 60 minutes is is very impressive indeed. This is without doubt the best documentary on dogs and dog owner relationships I have viewed. It is extremely well researched, exciting to watch and very thorough. I have always felt that Nova has produced the best documentaries, but they have outdone themselves with this one. I watch it over and over
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on August 8, 2013
"Dogs decoded" is a documentary about man's best friend. It raises some awkward questions about the scientific view of dogs. Have scientists really regarded dogs as drooling, fawning, moronic creatures with a silly penchant for canned food and bone-shaped biscuits, until fairly recently? No dog-owner doubts that their companions are intelligent, can feel human emotions or communicate through different kinds of barking. Yet, judging by "Dogs decoded", official science *did* doubt it until recently. However, it seems these "dog days" of science are finally over, as new experiments confirm what the rest of humanity has always known: Canis familiaris simply has no match.

It turns out that dogs are the only creature apart from humans who understand the meaning of pointing. Not even chimps get it. Researchers have located a Border Collie with a 300-word vocabulary and a modicum of abstract thinking. Dogs can "read" emotions in human faces in a way strikingly similar to how humans "read" each other. Millennia of selective breeding have fixed the dog's specific traits in the genome.

A somewhat absurd experiment in Hungary proves (for those who doubted) that wolfs can't be turned into dogs by socialization. Wolf pups bred under circumstances identical to those of dog pups nevertheless turn into wolves. Indeed, after four months, they had become so dangerous that the experiment had to be terminated! No surprise there. Another quaint experiment, this time at a fur farm in Siberia, shows that foxes can be domesticated. Interestingly, they even *look* more like dogs as they became more tame. The juvenile look presumably triggers the right emotional responses in humans.

A cynical scientist on the show, who presumably still doesn't like doggies, suggests that the dog might be a kind of "parasite", since humans supposedly prefer dogs to children. Perhaps this man should get out more? He might want to spend some time with people who have both dogs and kids, with dogs that are useful (say hunting dogs), or contemplate the fact that the human population seems to double every 40 year or so. It seems the "parasite" has been singularly unsuccessful in checking the growth of Homo sapiens...

Most scientists interviewed on "Dogs decoded" take the more reasonable approach that human civilization as we know it wouldn't be possible without domesticated dogs. For instance, dogs that shepherd or guard livestock were crucial for civilization at a certain point of its development.

I'm not sure how to rate this peculiar program, but in the end, I'll give it four stars.
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on December 5, 2014
I'm watching this again and again. So interesting, and quite unintentionally funny, at times, as science explores things dog owners/lovers have known for some time. I love the scientific method, too, and am so happy to see their findings agree with my experience. Love NOVA, too. I saw this episode on television a couple of times and just had to have it so I could watch it again whenever I want to.

I love the part where they show how dogs can read our eye movement indications. Had to laugh because my first Poodle not only understood MY eye movements but used the same technique, himself, to show me what HE was interested in. Ha ha. Works both ways!
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on February 18, 2015
I can't say that I'm a dog-lover, but I do find them interesting. No, I find them very interesting. They are one of the few creatures on this earth that has been fairly well studied, and we're learning more about them all the time -- and it's about time. They have been not only beloved by many over thousands of years, but very important to how humans got to be so successful.

This look by Nova into dogs includes their relationships with us now, why they are the way they are and how they got to be this way. All of that is of interest to dog lovers and people like me too. It not only confirms much of what dog owners have been telling the rest of us for years, but also a good deal no one knew before.

Dogs are most closely related to wolves but they are very different in character and behavior and, I think, they're a lot smarter. They really have learned how to understand people, something wolves don't do well. We learn how they can read our emotions, understand some of the things we say, and do things for us. The program also covers a project in Russia that has been breeding silver foxes to be more like dogs.

I could go on, but I won't. There's a lot inside this hour-long program and you'll want to watch it if you have a dog and, probably even if you don't. A sequel would be nice.
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on December 21, 2010
This is a great DVD. This program validates what we dog owners have known for decades...That our dogs can communicate with us and are much smarter than previously given credit for. It's a great program; and I highly recommend it!
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on March 26, 2011
Imagine when you see a dog you release the same chemical in your brain that women release while breast feeding infants - the love hormone! I knew my dogs were special - I think I now know why! Also included is a fascinating study in Russia of how the genetic makeup of a pet comes to the fore in 8 generations of selective breeding in a wild population of silver foxes. I thank the Koch brothers for supporting this production and Nova in general.

The DVD compares dogs with several other species, including the great apes and it is quite amazing how they can do more, taking cues from their humans. The narrative is excellent and the science meshes in very well with the storyline and explains how a wild animal becomes tame. You get a sense of how, through time, the grey wolf morphs into a dog. I thought the one thing that the authors did not discuss is the real possibility that the taming of the wolf occurred multiple times in multiple places, and was not a one shot deal - parallel evolution if you will.
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