Since we adopted our puppy, Sadie, back in May, I’ve been reading a lot of books about dog training and dog behavior. I really enjoyed The Other End of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnell, so I figured I’d try another one by her: For the Love of a Dog. I listened to this one on audiobook, which is perhaps part of the reason I did not find it as memorable as The Other End of the Leash.
For the Love of a Dog discusses whether dogs (and animals) feel emotions. McConnell looks at fear, anger, surprise, sadness, love, jealousy, and anger. She compares these emotions to human emotions and shows how dogs feel them.
Fortunately, we are past the days when scientists were denying emotions in animals, but the detail McConnell takes in showing the reader how dogs think and feel was very interesting. My favorite parts of the book were when McConnell discussed specific dogs she’s trained or her deep connection with her own dogs. I was a little less interested in the heavy talk about how brains work. I found it a little hard to follow–especially listening to it on audiobook.
The worst part about listening to this book instead of reading is that McConnell has an extended section on facial expressions in dogs. She describes these expressions, but it was very hard to imagine what I should be looking for from a mere description. Apparently, the paper book has pictures to show examples of each expression, which would most likely be more helpful.
We got a lesson in dog fear from poor Sadie on Thanksgiving evening. My husband and I were taking Sadie for an early evening walk when a neighborhood homeowner decided to set off some fireworks (on Thanksgiving!?!) in the street. They were very large, noisy fireworks, and Sadie freaked out. We went straight home–with her pulling like she was running for her life. And then even at home she huddled in the corner, looking up at the ceiling like it was going to attack her. She wouldn’t even eat dinner (which had never happened before). It was so sad. We were able to get her to eat dinner after a couple hours, and she will now pee in the backyard before bedtime (with treats and both of us out there with her), but it was so sad. And we couldn’t explain to her that she was safe.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.