Usually, I have my animal expert, Laura Darms review the books about animals, but I forgot to give them to her in time this month. Turns out, I'm glad I did. This is such a wonderful book!. I have cats, not dogs, but I can see much of a correlation here too. It made me stop and think about this and start communicating with my cats in a different way. However, some people might conclude that the author is saying that dog's don't think. I disagree, I believe that the author didn't intend that message but wanted to emphasize that emotions drive a dog's behavior more than his/her logic or reasoning ability. As I said, I don't have dogs, so I can't really say. So, I emailed Laura with some questions that I will include in these notes as soon as I have them.
Note from Laura Darms on emotions vs thinking:
From my personal experience our emotions, like fear and angst will feed into the dog, especial on a leash or meeting of other dogs. To me the dog moves into the mode of being in control and acting as the protector when the dog senses danger to her person.
The dog will act like it is being threatened and go into what looks like a fight or flight mode. This reaction from the dog has nothing to do with thinking. The dog is feeding on the emotion of the person and is going on instinct alone for the survival of it and the person walking it.
If a person is fearful while walking the dog, they will not be able to control their dog. If a confident person walks with the same dog and crosses paths with another dog their might be some of the same reaction of barking and pulling on the leash. but the dog will be able to come under control sooner.
There is no strong emotion to fuel the dog’s reaction. This other person is coming across with “that other dog does not matter and we are moving on.”
To me, only a strong emotion of any kind will affect a dog. The rest of the times they are truly a thinking dog. My experience is that they will think “If I do this then I will get what I want.” Which is a big cause and effect scenario.
For example they might think “If I bug you a lot will you remember to get me a treat or fed me?”, “How can I distract this dog so I can get that toy he is chewing on?,” “how long will it take if I just sit here with my deer eyes before someone notices me and I get petted?” or the big one of “If I run back and forth long enough will they get the hint I want to go walking?”
To me their minds are always thinking when they are awake.
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: New World Library (March 6, 2012)
Available from New World Library plus online and retail booksellers.