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Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: Fully Updated and Revised Upd Rev Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0307885968
ISBN-10: 0307885968
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's rare for a book's title to say so clearly what the book is about. In the case of Rupert Sheldrake's latest work, the controversial content is right on the front cover. Pet owners will see it and smile in recognition; skeptical scientists will shake their heads and mutter about "maverick scholars." We all know of cases of dogs (and cats) who know when their owners are coming home, who go to wait at the door or window 10 minutes or more before their human arrives. Conditioned by the tight rigor of contemporary scientific thinking, we either look for rational explanations or we file the phenomenon away in our minds as "unexplained" and are careful not to talk about it with our scientist friends.

Sheldrake has shown in the past that he is not afraid to be labeled a rebel, thanks to his theory of morphic resonance, which suggests the following:

Natural systems, or morphic units, at all levels of complexity are animated, organized, and coordinated by morphic fields, which contain an inherent memory. Natural systems inherit this collective memory from all previous things of their kind by a process called morphic resonance, with the result that patterns of development and behavior become increasingly habitual through repetition.

Sheldrake believes that the "telepathy" between pets and humans, or between flocks of birds or schools of fish that move as a single organism, can be explained this theory. Sheldrake is less persuaded by anecdotes that suggest animal clairvoyance--warning of something in the near future--but refuses to disallow the possibility.

He accepts that the case histories he details so thoroughly in this book are anecdotal, but that makes them no less real; and as a scientist himself he sets up experimental conditions for studying this previously ignored phenomenon that show beyond any doubt that the phenomenon exists. He castigates traditional scientists for their refusal to countenance anything that doesn't fit in with their existing paradigms (or prejudices) and challenges them to come up with some more "acceptable" explanation--but none is forthcoming.

This fascinating book is a first attempt at a scientific investigation into a puzzling but quite common occurrence. One hopes that other scientists will follow Sheldrake's brave lead. --David V. Barrett --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

While there have been many books on pets' psychic powers and on animals' seemingly paranormal abilities, English biologist Sheldrake's distinctive contribution is to set forth a theory that begins to make sense of this baffling realm. Sheldrake's bold and influential hypothesis of morphic fields (first developed in his 1988 book The Presence of the Past) asserts that members of a group are linked by self-organizing regions of influenceAfields that have a history, evolve, contain a collective memory, and shape the development of organisms, crystals and new ideas, as well as patterns of behavior, adaptation and learning. Applying this hypothesis to the animal kingdom, he maintains that cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals can communicate telepathically with people (or with other animals) with whom they have emotional bondsAand that morphic fields act as a channel for this ESP. Sheldrake surveyed or interviewed more than 1000 pet owners, dog trainers, veterinarians, zookeepers, blind people with guide dogs, horse trainers and riders and pet-shop proprietors. His study is filled with marvelous stories of missing pets finding their way home over unfamiliar terrain; of cats and dogs responding emotionally, sometimes at a great distance, to the suffering or death of their owners; of animals' precognitive warnings of earthquakes, impending epileptic seizures, bombing attacks and other imminent dangers; of cats, dogs and parrots responding to the ring of the telephone whenever a particular person calls. Skeptics may scoff, yet the cumulative weight of evidence Sheldrake assembles is impressive, and an appendix outlines simple research projects animal lovers can conduct to test whether their pets have psychic powers. This pioneering study throws a floodlight on an area largely ignored by institutional science. Illustrations. Author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Upd Rev edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307885968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307885968
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As an experimental psychologist who has closely examined claims of the paranormal (see "The Conscious Universe" here on Amazon.com), I wasn't sure what to think of Sheldrake's experiments with telepathic dogs. Then I had an opportunity to review and analyze the raw data in some of his controlled experiments. I was astonished with the results. There is basically no doubt that some dogs do indeed anticipate when their owners are about to return home, even at randomly selected times, and without benefit of any explicit or subliminal cues. For me, this significantly raises the credibility of some of the other "powers" of animals that Sheldrake discusses so clearly. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has ever gazed at their dog and wondered what was going on in that furry little head.
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By A Customer on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
First let me say, parts of the book are rather dry. Perhaps that's the scientist doing his best to provide adequate proof. I found myself wanting to say, come on already... I accept your arguent, give me some more stories.
With that said, I did enjoy the book and find Sheldrake's proof more than adequate. Many animals are sensitive in ways we don't understand.
There was a story, from the book, of someone who was going to commit suicide by overdose. When they went to open the bottle, their springer spaniel jumped in their lap, bearing it's teeth and growling fiercly. The person was so shaken that they put the pills away, at which point, the springer jumped back in the lap and happily lapped at their owners face.
I knew of a young girl who was walking home, down a deserted street, when a sedan approached with a man demanding that she get in the car. She began to walk faster... the car sped up... the demands became angrier... The car stopped, and a man got out and came towards her... She said the only preyer she could think of at the time. "God, please help me." Suddenly two dogs appeared and began barking at the man. Shaken, but not disuaded, he reached for the girl, and a beagle juped up and bit his wrist. That was enough, the man got back into the car and it sped off.
It has been over 6 years since that incident and the girl still goes to the farmhouse near where this happened to visit Molly and Dolly.
By the way, that was not their names when all of this happened... You see, no one had ever seen these two dogs before... before that fateful night when a young girls prayer was answered... by two dogs who appeared from nowhere.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a must for all of you who have "always marveled at your pet's unexplained powers, but have never dared inquired about them." Indeed, there was no one to consult. Institutional science dismisses these many instances as chancy, or explains them away in a mechanistic fashion; and the only other explanations were thus far provided by folk legends and superstitions. Unfailingly picturesque, but more often than not whimsical. DOGS THAT KNOW WHEN THEIR OWNERS ARE COMING HOME, an elaboration of the author's groundbreaking SEVEN EXPERIMENTS THAT COULD CHANGE THE WORLD, addresses just such questions, after years of painstaking research and the accumulation of convincing evidence.
This is far and away Dr. Sheldrake's most accessible book to date, which is not to say it is a vulgarization. Far from it. In his characteristically sober yet charming prose, he has miraculously dodged the danger of compiling a list, but has rather presented the world with an anthology of mind-expanding instances of powers of animals. Some ideas are particularly compelling, such as "an animal-based earthquake warning system". Once more, he deals a blow to institutional science by beating it on its own turf, and that is, by piling up impressive evidence, a database, etc., so as to substantiate his claims. In all likelihood, many more "cases" will be added to his database after the general public has read this book. Perhaps tens of thousands. If institutional science will continue to ignore these phenomena, rather than join the author in the research, it will have de facto discredited itself in the eyes of the world. The Appendices are also valuable, C in particular, in which the author provides the Cliff's Notes to his own books.
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Format: Paperback
Sheldrake has spent a lifetime studying animals but looks outside the box of conventional wisdom in this engaging book about family pets. He suggests that the animals we know best, the cats and dogs who live in our homes, can teach us the most. He looks closely at several categories of oft-reported -but sometimes disregarded- types of animal behavior: predicting when their owners will return home, empathy, telepathy, sense of direction, and premonitions. Using replicable and rigorous experimental methods he demonstrates that something indeed is going on here, something they can not be easily described by conventional explanations. Sheldrake posits psychic connections that he calls "morphic bonds" exist among some creatures, including bees in a hive and schools of fish, and may well exist between some animals and the humans closest to them. Sheldrake clearly explains that such bonds do not occur among all pets or even among the same pets in all situations, but they definitely do seem to exist.
This is a fun book for animal-lovers, full of engaging anecdotes about dogs, cats, horses, and birds who enjoy strong emotional bonds with their owners that allow them to accomplish seemingly-unbelievable feats. But it is also an eye-opening book, for Sheldrake has applied some scientific techniques to both debunk fraudulent claims and to confirm those that have no conventional explanation. His "morphic bonds" are persuasive, especially to those who have lived closely with animals and observed their behavior in close quarters.
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