Review: The Dog’s Mind

The Dog's Mind.

The Dog’s Mind, by widely known and respected English veterinarian Bruce Fogle, is probably the most scientific canine cognition book I’ve read so far (excepting maybe the excellent Dog Sense, by John Bradshaw).

One of the problems with writing about canine psychology is that the field is so young and so rapidly changing that books become outdated just a year or two after publication. So, in the case of The Dog’s Mind, it’s already rather outdated, as it was published in 1992. Fogle doesn’t seem that far off with many of his observations, but it’s always a nagging concern to read a book when you know that there is much more recent data available.

Still, I appreciated his thoroughly scientific approach and his basic explanations of the actual anatomy of a dog’s brain and neurological and hormonal implications on a dog’s behavior. (I also liked that he already knew enough at the time to debunk the popular “puppy temperament testing” that so many people believe in. Apparently, even back in the early 1990s, scientists knew that there was no true merit to “temperament testing” in 7-week-old puppies and that it was never a reliable predictor of adult personality.)

So, I don’t have anything negative to say about this book, and I did enjoy reading it, but there are unfortunately more current and relevant books about this subject now. If you are interested in the way a dog’s mind works, I’d recommend Dog Sense (mentioned above), Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz, or just about anything by Patricia McConnell.

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