From Publishers Weekly
Coren's insights into dog-human interaction in such books as Why Does My Dog Act That Way?
and How to Speak Dog
have attracted large numbers of devoted readers who will delight in this collection of shorter essays on our relationships with and our emotional bonds to our dogs. Topics explored include the influence of technological advancement on the development—and in some cases extinction—of various dog breeds; how the author helped diffuse the tension between his wife and his Cairn Terrier, who is bred to loudly bark when it is the least bit excited (Jack Russell Terrier owners should be required to read this essay); and whether dogs love their owners (Coren says, yes). Fascinating sections detail how humans have shaped canine temperaments and the various health and psychological benefits of dog ownership. The essay form allows Coren to display a lighter, humorous and often more personal tone than is found in his other books, and his affection and vast knowledge are on full display in this engaging collection that will leave his fans hankering for further installments. (Dec.)
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No wonder we think so highly of dogs; we practically invented them, according to Coren, psychology professor and author of popular dog books. Dogs have evolved from the canine species that includes wolves, but humans have helped to shape them over 15,000 years. Humans have bred and trained dogs for special traits and features from special and retrieving abilities to the merely decorative. Coren explores science, folklore, and history to offer a portrait of modern dogs as they have grown from protectors of Cro Magnon campsites to home guard dogs, companions, and family members. He chronicles evidence of human devotion to dogs over the centuries from mummification and burial with their masters in ancient Egypt to modern-day cloning. Beyond their role as companions, Coren notes dogs’ usefulness in a range of activities, from guiding the blind to crime investigations, and the ways dogs have been featured in popular culture from literature to movies. Dog lovers will appreciate this detailed look at the ways humans have shaped “man’s best friend.” --Vanessa Bush