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Discussion Starter #1
The staples of R+ training, Pryor, Pat McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Ruugas, Clothier, and variants of books from similar authors, I've basically read a good chunk of em, and if I haven't, I have probably read the information in some form or another.

I'm not looking for another training book and definitely not a step-by-step training method book. I want to explore more about what we know about dog cognition and what we understand about them internally. I've heard names like David Mech and Stanley Coren thrown around. Anything to recommend?
 

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I'm interested to see what others suggest. I'm planning to pick up John Bradshaw's Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet as it appears to be a fairly recent title on the subject. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz is another book I've seen recommended and is also fairly recent. I "know" Coren from his S&P text, but I'm not familiar with his canine research.
 

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All of Stanley Coren's books are good. Some of the referenced research findings may not be up to date, but most are. David Mech, as far as I know, does not claim to know dogs - he is a Wolf researcher. Not sure about any books, but you can search online for some of his papers - very accessible. I've said I like Ian Dunbar, but I think he's mostly training. Every time I read a Cesar Millan book, I pick up some interesting tidbits, even though I disagree with his philosophy - you do have to be knowledgeable to evaluate his suggestions.
 

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I agree on Millan. He shares some useful opinions regarding stuff like over excitement, no touch no talk no eye contact, introducing a dog nose first instead of sound first, stuff that's basically common sense but is largely ignored. His basis is off, but he's not without value.
 

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No mention of Turid Rugaas ... not necessarily dog training, and not quite cognition.... more communication...and anecdotal, but valuable.
 

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Have you read Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw?

Here's an NPR interview, http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136497064/the-new-science-of-understanding-dog-behavior

I listened to it as an audio book, and I thought some of it was absolutely intruiging. Additionally, it changed my attitude, for the better, about what behavior to correct and what is just my dog being a dog.
 

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No mention of Turid Rugaas ... not necessarily dog training, and not quite cognition.... more communication...and anecdotal, but valuable.
I did mention Rugaas, both in the thread title and post, except I spelled it Ruugas. Her book was valuable in its own right.



Have you read Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw?

Here's an NPR interview, http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136497064/the-new-science-of-understanding-dog-behavior

I listened to it as an audio book, and I thought some of it was absolutely intruiging. Additionally, it changed my attitude, for the better, about what behavior to correct and what is just my dog being a dog.
Cool, I will check out the NPR interview.
 

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i recently attended a seminar on "canine emotions" it was really really cool. it showed pic of dogs during the same emotion as a human and placed them side by side, and showed all the similarities. it also showed things like, when people look at other people their eyes go to the right (i believe it was) of the persons face, and then they put dogs in front of a slideshow of different things. when they looked at other objects they looked right on, but with humans they looked to the right of their face right away, like we do.
 

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Cool, I will check out the NPR interview.
he talks about the studies on Silver Foxes (I think, don't quote me on that. but it was an animal used by furriers, so pretty readily available breeding stock) over like 60 years and how the bred them to be be more docile. he also had some university studies about interacting with puppies week by week within the first 6 weeks after birth, basically narrowing down THE most important weeks. It was pretty awesome. He kind of drone in place, but it was all worth it in the end.
 

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most popular writing on science are usually based on a well established scientific paradigm, so by the time something hits barnes and noble, there would have to have an abundance of empirical research (decade +). if you read scientific writing, my guess is that even the more recent research on canine cognition is still based on skinnerian's behaviorism... though, someone correct me if I'm wrong. I could be completely off, but at least thats the way with popular writing on human psychology...

oh oops, as far as reading, I don't know many books, but I do find http://www.clickersolutions.com/ to have a ton of really good information and clarification on some of the science that I think majority of the pop training books skim over, which causes a lot of confusion and different interpretation by different authors (which is fine, different things work for different dogs obv)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, a lot of "pop training" books, which I guess is just about all of the training books available on amazon/B&N, give just a glance at the science. That's okay with me, because I'm not a psychologist or ethologist and anything too heavy in the details may be over my head. I read some detailed scientific papers before and they are a bit of a chore, just like the papers in my field. A summary of the findings and what they mean for the everyday trainer is enough for me. Quite honestly, I learned a lot from certain folks on this forum, specifically RBark. It was hard for me to stomach some of the things he would say, but I thought about them and they always made more sense than the preconceived notion I had in my head.
 

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I see that some have already suggested John Bradshaw's "Dog Sense" - just want to share my 2 cents. That was a fantastic book! It was extremely interesting and educational. I learned a lot. Bradshaw goes into some detail about actual scientific research rather than anecdotal evidence. It's not really a training book, more of a book about cognition and what and how dogs understand the world.
 

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I've found Brenda Aloff's books very insightful and thoughtful regarding the way that dogs work...along with "how" to train but I think they provide more of an understanding of dogs/training.
 

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most popular writing on science are usually based on a well established scientific paradigm, so by the time something hits barnes and noble, there would have to have an abundance of empirical research (decade +). if you read scientific writing, my guess is that even the more recent research on canine cognition is still based on skinnerian's behaviorism... though, someone correct me if I'm wrong. I could be completely off, but at least thats the way with popular writing on human psychology...
Cognitive psychology and evolutionary psychology are active areas of study of human behavior. Cognitive ethology, sociobiology, and behavioral ecology are active areas of research in animal behavior.

I agree that clickersolutions.com is a great resource. They have a recommended reading page.

Dog Sense is probably the best currently available book for a general audience.

The Behavioral Biology of Dogs is a review of some of the more recent findings in canine research. It is pretty accessible and well-referenced. The actual content is much broader than the title suggests, and the coverage of actual dog behavior is quite shallow. It is a worthwhile read though.

It goes well beyond dogs, but Animal Minds is a fairly accessible, extremely well referenced, and very thought-provoking tour of cognitive ethology by one of the founders of the discipline.
 

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I don't have any suggestions myself, but just thought perhaps you have a college nearby with a good library? I would think there might be more interesting and less widely-published books or papers there.
 

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"Accepted" dog training methods are based on behaviorism, clicker training, positive reinforcement, etc. Research in Cognitive studies and educational psychology applied to dogs is comparatively sparse, because sources are funding were hard to come by, except in recent years. A few universities have research institutions devoted to cognitive research in dogs, and explanations of Rico and Chaser are accepted as being outside pure behaviorism. But, I haven't seen any popular, accessible books that talk about higher order learning, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation applied to dogs.
 

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I know you said you've read Karen Pryor. But if you haven't read Reaching the Animal Mind, it's a definite recommend. Mech writes about wolves. Early stuff is way different from what he currently believes. I've yet to understand why anyone takes Stanley Coren seriously. Not a dog specific book, but I found "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert Sapolsky" a very good read on neurobiology and was recommended reading from both Turid Rugaas and Suzanne Clothier
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've read Reaching the Animal Mind from Pryor. It was a great book. I think it may be too advanced for a beginner, but I found it very insightful for myself.
 

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I tend to not like most of the writings on dogs, I think they sell dogs short on what they think, feel, understand, how they learn etc.... Like how smart they are.
 

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I tend to not like most of the writings on dogs, I think they sell dogs short on what they think, feel, understand, how they learn etc.... Like how smart they are.

But see, what exactly qualifies an everyday owner like you and I to be an expert on dog cognition and feeling? I drive a car everyday, but that doesn't make me a car mechanic or mechanical engineer. I own a dog and can train him, but that doesn't make me an expert on his brain.
 
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