The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think

The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think - Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods Source: Free from Goodreads First Reads program for review

This book is more a scientific book, but it reads easily for anyone curious about a dog's cognition abilities. It starts out from where Brian Hare started and why he became interested in the dog's ability to learn. There are times when I did skim because it was basic HS biology (eg: Mendel's Pea experiment) but the parts where he did specific experiments were interesting. Especially those built on explaining the difference between wild animal's cognitive abilities and domestic animals. There are interesting differences.

I especially like the way he criticized both main schools of training thought for dogs toward the end of the book. Those two are generally dominance training and positive training. Neither school of thought has good things to say about the other, but this book brings the specific criticisms based on evidence that I agreed. Neither is perfect and has flaws. My only complaint with this is that if he feels that cognitive training is superior, I would have liked specific examples to this kind of training. This was perhaps not the book for that, but it still would have been nice to see a dog trained with this method.

I give this book 4 stars. It accomplishes what it sets out by introducing the science of canine cognition. You may skim some of the simpler biological parts, but I feel that is there so even those who have not yet taken a biology class can understand why and how he went about his experiments.