“Decoding Dogs: Inside the Canine Mind” by Ellen Furlong

Wag Audio book cover

Written by: Laura

Laura is founder of Easy Peasy Obedience, and works in positive methods based on teamwork and games, and with focus on minimising frustration in the training - for both dog and human.

Published: December 10, 2021

Confused yet? So are the researchers so you’re in good company.

Ellen Furlong

Associate Professor of Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University

Why did I read this book?

It was an Audible freebie from their Great Courses section and I got curious because we all want to know what a dog is and why they do what they do. And here I was, presented with a very recent (2020) publication so I had no reason to say no.

What does this book do?

This book is all about dogs. Where they come from, what they are, what they (might) think, and most importantly why they seem to fit so perfectly into the human world, compared to other animals. The book is sectioned into lectures on each their own subject, and Ellen opens the ball with delightful questions on canine intelligence and moves on to map out the theory of how dogs developed into their ecological niche. With that blowing your mind, you’re ready to set sail on a journey of foxes, squirrels, domestication, and why dogs are neither wolves nor babies but their entirely own thing. The lectures are lighthearted and appropriately sprinkled with academic references to important science and adorable anecdotes to help you stay tuned on the way through some really heavy theoretical stuff.

With this book being designed as a course, it is structured in a way that makes you think, and just when you think you’ve figured it out, Ellen brings out a new angle that has you blinking and getting ready to reevaluate your worlds view – again. Throughout the book, Ellen excels in asking the most common questions a dog guardian could ponder about their companion and providing thorough and easy-to-understand answers within the limits of current science and by the end of the last lecture, you’ll walk out with a much clearer understanding of what your companion dog is. And I think that most pet parents should treat themselves to that experience.

What does this book not do?

It does not provide you with a printed copy. Unfortunately, this is purely an audiobook that is also exclusive to Audible. This is a shame, as I would have absolutely loved to have this book as a printed copy for the sole purpose of referencing, which can be somewhat troublesome with an audio publication.
It also has no relevance training-wise, so if training guides are what you’re after, this is not the book for you.

Where do I get this book?

You probably guessed it, based on the review, but Audible is the only place to get this. But, at least it’s free with a subscription, so that’s absolutely a plus.

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