Sample text for Why does my dog act that way? : a complete guide to your dog's personality / Stanley Coren.


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PREFACE

As a psychologist, I have always wondered why some of the techniques that we use to predict human behaviors are not used on dogs, particularly that part of psychological science that deals with personality. I believe that each dog has a unique, measurable personality -- a product of the dog's genetic makeup and life history. As with humans, once you know your dog's personality, you can reasonably predict its behaviors in many circumstances and also recognize why your dog may behave differently from another dog in the same situation.

One special feature of this book is that it will show you how to create a Superdog, not one who flies and wears a cape, but a dog that is friendly, fearless, cooperative, intelligent, and trainable. The procedures are derived from the latest scientific data and involve actually shaping your dog's brain through particular handling and rearing practices and by deliberately arranging aspects of his living conditions. Some of this information is derived from documents describing fascinating research done by the U.S. Army Biosensor program, which have only recently been released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

In this volume you will find a lot of new information, including an extensive listing of the personality profiles of 133 breeds of dogs, which I compiled based on data from 96 dog experts. I thank those experts for the many hours that they spent providing this material. This book also contains the first scientific study of heroic and helping behaviors in dogs based on 1,006 documented reports.

Finally, this book will provide you with a simple procedure to measure the personality of your own dog and compare it to other dogs of its breed. The test is valid and can be applied regardless of whether your dog is purebred or not. You can use the test results to predict your dog's behavior in many situations, and this can allow you to anticipate certain kinds of problems to which your dog may be susceptible.

Along with all this science and information, you will encounter stories that describe the interesting, exciting, and often unexpected behaviors of dogs. You will meet dogs that are heroes, helpers, friends, and loyal family members as well as a few unsavory examples of the species. You will develop a better understanding of the pet at your feet and see why he or she is neither a wolf in sheep's clothing nor a fourfooted human in a fur coat.

On a personal note, I would also like to thank my wife, Joan, who went through the first draft of this book and offered many useful comments as well as some that are not printable. The book is much better (and shorter) because of her contribution.




Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Dogs -- Behavior.
Dogs -- Psychology.