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How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by [Berns, Gregory]
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How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,348 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at The Dog Project

Review

“This book’s abundant appeal and value come from following Berns through the challenges of constructing the experiment and especially of training his dog to participate. ‘Like a catcher and pitcher,’ he writes, he and his dog ‘became a team.’ The satisfaction of that relationship perhaps explains why our two species have lived together so long and happily.” The Boston Globe

"A neuroscientist wonders what goes on in the minds of our pet dogs: Do we delude ourselves when we believe that they love us? [How Dogs Love Us is] a solid introduction to an appealing new area of research." —Kirkus

“How Dogs Love Us offers a personal view in the investigative mind of this gifted neuroscientist and the impact he has on his research collaborators, as well as on his wife and children. Readers will enjoy thinking outside the box along with Berns and will learn a lot at the same time.” —Neurology Today

"The book is as much a scientific exploration of how the canine brain might function as it is a deeply personal story about Berns's relationship with dogs as pets and colleagues. Ultimately that connection is what makes the book compelling." Scientific American MIND

“Thoroughly enjoyable and edifying…Five out of five stars…highly recommended.” Your Dog

"In the fascinating book How Dogs Love Us, [Berns] recounts the methods his team employed, and how their pet dogs made these groundbreaking studies possible. There’s much to learn in this engrossing read." —Bark Magazine

“Neuroscientist Gregory Berns studies dog brains to answer that eternal question: Do our dogs really love us?” Men’s Journal

“The journey Berns and his team embarked on, and are continuing, is as remarkable as the study’s conclusions to date. Berns proves what most pet lovers have always known. Our dogs are much like us.” The Akron Beacon Journal

"How Dogs Love Us is a fascinating account of a scientist's tenacious pursuit of the unknown. Gregory Berns's account of his lab's Dog Project provides readers with new insights into the minds of our most loyal companions while also reminding us that scientific research should be approached with passion, love, and a bold disregard for the possibility of failure." —Dan Ariely, author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty

"An exciting journey to the center of a dog's emotional mind. Berns offers hilarious descriptions of training his dog to lie still while being fed hot dogs in the MRI brain-scan machine." —Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human

"With infectious passion for dogs, science, life, and love, Gregory Berns takes us on a rollicking yet scientifically serious study of the mental life of dogs-what dogs understand and how they think. Berns's tale is a dramatic but very funny look at how real, grubby science can accomplish great things. This is dognitive science at its insightful, passionate, and playful best." —Patricia Churchland, author of Touching a Nerve

"How Dogs Love Us is the beautifully written story of an iconoclastic neuroscientist challenging the status quo and seeking to truly understand the dogs with whom we share our lives." —Jennifer Arnold, author of Through a Dog's Eyes

"Amazingly entertaining and super smart. In How Dogs Love Us, Gregory Berns gives us our first real look inside the brain of a dog, while simultaneously setting new standards in  ethical science. A truly great read!" —Steven Kotler, author of A Small Furry Prayer

"Gregory Berns's book, packed with solid scientific research and warm personal stories, will set the agenda for future research on the minds and emotional lives of animals." —Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals

"Fast, fun, and funny, Gregory Berns demonstrates scientifically that dogs are people, too." —Laurence Gonzales, author of Surviving Survival

"Gregory Berns's amusing story about his dogs, his daughters, and a giant magnet communicates as no other what fun science can be." —Frans de Waal, author of The Bonobo and the Atheist

"This book lets you see inside the mind of a dog as never before. How Dogs Love Us will revolutionize how we understand animals—especially our dogs. This is a must-read for animal lovers and neuroscientists alike."—Brian Hare, author of The Genius of Dogs

“Berns is an excellent writer. His explanations of the scientific thinking behind the Dog Project (as he calls his experiment) are crisp and clear and accessible to a nonscientist without being condescending…Some of the best parts of How Dogs Love Us, though, are about the questions, not the answers. In his account of the slow, meticulous, day-to-day process of creating a scientific study, Berns has produced one of the best accounts of how science is "done."” —Chicago Reader

"How Dogs Love Us makes a thought-provoking and often humorous case for something canine lovers have suspected for years: dogs are not simply 'Pavlovian learning machines' but, rather, sentient beings with a high level of empathy and an affinity for social learning. In answering his original question, he sparks many more about how we value and care for our canine companions." -Kirsten Galles, Shelf Awareness

“Berns’s book is a beautiful story about dogs, love and neurology that shows how nonhuman relationships are inspiring researches to look at animals in new ways, for their benefit and ours.” —Rebecca Skloot, New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 18269 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing; 1 edition (October 22, 2013)
  • Publication Date: October 22, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CLIK6NA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FABULOUS book. Gregory Berns got the crazy idea of training his dog to lie still in an MRI machine in the hope it would provide some insight into dogs' thinking. What he found brings scientific proof to something every dog person knows --- that dogs read us, anticipate our behavior, and act on that knowledge. Dogs, in short, have theory of mind. Berns rightly argues that this scientific evidence must change the way we think of and treat dogs.
His book is filled with fairly complex scientific concepts but it is written beautifully and clearly. It is very easy to understand and, like a good adventure novel, pulls readers along with foreshadowing and suspense. I disagree with the reviewer who said the book is written "backwards." I really wanted to know how the idea developed, how the training was done, all the background stuff in the early chapters.
I love that Berns is not an especially savvy dog person, at least at the beginning of the Dog Project, as he calls it. That makes it all the more sweet when he recognizes how hard dogs try to communicate with and understand humans. I have enormous respect for Berns and his team's commitment to ensuring that the dogs were willing, even eager, participants in every step. I especially enjoyed the long discussion of the ethical issues he faced in setting up the research and the insistence of all the human researchers that the dogs would always be free to opt out, at any time.
This book is a testament to what amazing things can be accomplished when humans acknowledge their dogs' abilities, treat them as partners (rather than as property or as slaves) and engage with them in a respectful, positive manner.
This should be required reading for ALL dog lovers. It will be required reading for all of my students at Bergin U, the only place to study the dog-human relationship at the college level.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First of all, this book is written backwards and clearly comes directly from the mind of a scientist rather than from the heart of a dog lover. An editor's touch in sequencing would have made this book perfect.

Let me explain what I mean by that. The whole first part of the book is an explanation of means and methods. It is a dry read and yet it's information you would want to know, if the findings section of the book left you curious for more.
If you are like me you will skim the first chapters and dig into the later chapters. Then later, once you have finished the actually informative parts of the book, you will go back and read the clinical minutia that led up to it. You will do that because you want to judge the conclusions on the merit of how they were gained. So to sum up that critique, everything that I needed to be here was here. It's only flaw is the presentation. The back of the book should have BEEN the book and the front of the book should have been appendixes, footnotes and back matter explanation.

How many stars should be docked for that? None in my view. I loved this book and am free enough of a thinker to sequence the material for myself.

The bottom line is that every dog lover should read this to affirm the love and respect that they hold for this noble beast...even if you read it out of order.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most products are relatively easy to rate on the 5-star Amazon scale. This was not one of those cases. Rating this book was a tough decision.

Why? Well, first, because I am a huge dog lover. My dog and I have a very close bond and my friends often comment on how well my dog and I communicate. So of course I was interested in a book promising to "decode the canine brain" and tell me "How Dogs Love Us."

Despite the heavily scientific content, the book was very readable and well written. There were very few days when I didn't want to pick it up and continue reading it. A book that readable would usually get at least 4 stars from me; so why am I giving this one 3? Largely for these reasons:

1. I felt that the book did not deliver on its title, and did not deliver fully on it's subtitle or elements of its description, including why the "pack leader" theory favored by Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) is the wrong theory to use with dogs.

2. I was frustrated with how much of the book was taken up with the process of training the author's dog, Callie (an adopted terrier mix) and a volunteer's dog, MacKenzie (a purebred Border Collie), to get used to being enclosed in the MRI, enduring the loud noise of the machine and holding still enough to get good brain scans. Yes, I get it--I know these are not things natural to dogs so it will require persistent training. But, in my opinion, way too much time was spent describing every step of this process.

3. The author mentions briefly that, after the initial success of the Dog Project using Callie and McKenzie, he and his team expanded the Project to include multiple other volunteer dogs to see if the results they got from Callie and McKenzie's fMRIs were characteristic of other dogs/breeds.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is really in depth scientifically speaking but also delves into the heart and real understanding between man and dogs. It is concise and well written but it is NOT a story tale, all fluffy and huggy but real science . A story about how a man wanted to actually know if there was a way to see brain responses for what a dog feels for the humans they live and associate with. It had never been done before , in fact the idea of a dog staying in a working MRI was not thought possible, at least while he was awake. . Think of the huge sounds an MRI makes, then add a dogs incredible hearing plus the fact that in order to do a brain scan, the dog would have to hold its head PERFECTLY still for many seconds. Thats perfectly. Not even a quiver. Let alone the cost of using an MRI for the project and just think of the nay-sayers. "Why" they would ask. Well Dr. Gregory Berns thought that humans and dogs were so "tight" and had been so for eons, learning this would help both species.
This is that story. I found it at times almost too much in depth but it was so well laid out and often translated in a student commonality that I would finally "get it". Just the fact that there was so much time involved JUST to be able to get the dogs (there were two) to enter and lay quietly in a MRI was a challenge for the ages! The fact that Dr. Berns not only accomplished this and a lot more, shows the depth of his belief that it was an important thing to understand. There were tantalizing glimpses into possibilities of understanding even more of a dogs thought process. Not only did Gregory Burns learn some really wild science, he learned also how canine/human bonding happened and his understanding of that relationship would enrich his life not only with dogs, but his surroundings.
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