“The antidote to captivity is freedom. Clearly, there is a basic tension between captivity and freedom, and dogs exist within this zone of uncertainty.”
Why did I get this book?
I got this book mostly because I fell in love with Bekoff’s book “Canine Confidential” a while ago, but also because I stumbled upon a mention that this book expanded the 5 freedoms I have recently read about in “Animals Make Us Human” to 10 and was instantly intrigued. I do like freedom and I wish for my dogs to be able to have as much of it as possible within the frame of my existence, so why not jump at the chance of inspiration?
What does this book do?
As mentioned above, it starts out with expanding the classic 5 freedoms to 10. Where the 5 first are those we know that focus on providing freedom from discomfort and illness, the additional 5 new ones focus on providing our dogs with the freedom to be dogs. The 10 freedoms are listed on page 11, and I was sold by then.
From here the book spins into a field guide on how we can enhance our dog’s lives by providing an outlet for their dogness but also how we, often inadvertently, deprive our dogs of expressing their dogness. As with “Canine Confidential” this book puts a lot of focus into encouraging people to become their own dog’s ethologist and highly praises what Bekoff describes as “citizen science” and I am personally very much a fan of this approach, as it encourages people to watch their dogs, and watch them closely.
Throughout the book, there are instructions on how to make your own ethogram for specific behaviours, in order to learn how to understand your canine companion. It’s a true inspiration to how you can enjoy time with your dog, and also a guide to how both of you can enjoy and benefit from this togetherness.
And just in case you’re not done reading when you finish this book, the fact that it is written by scientists shines through with a thorough list of references and notes at the end of the book. Despite that, it is written in an easy-to-understand and very down-to-earth language, that makes sure everyone is following.
What does this book not do?
Training. While the book does mention the importance of our choices of training methods in accordance with the 10 freedoms, it is not a book that goes deep into training. So if you’re looking for a training manual, this is not it. But if you’re looking for inspiration on how to enjoy togetherness with your dog, this is absolutely it.
Where do I get this book?
Any book store. It is fairly new and published in 2019. The book is also fairly inexpensive. Currently on sale on Amazon for a mere $7.49+shipping for the paperback version. It is also available through Audible narrated by William Sarris who does a stellar job at conveying the spirit of the content to the listener.