Friday, February 8, 2008
On December 5, Joe McGrath posted a blog item about the pack mentality (sorry) of publishers when it comes to capitalizing on a good thing, in this case, the popularity of dog books. But, really, how can you go wrong with a good dog book? There have been so many that have been so successful: Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, and lately, Marley and Me.
Many of the best dog books, however, are less about dogs than about dogs' relationships to humans. The weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal recently included a guest column of reviews of books that explore the behavior of dogs as, simply, dogs. It was composed by Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and the author of Why Does My Dog Act That Way? (2007). His own book intrigues me, and I plan to get a copy.
My standard poodle, Ginseng—so named for the color of her coat which, as an apricot standard, has fur the color of Ginseng tea—is a beautiful creature, but as mysterious as they come. Why, for instance will she eat almost anything (she once tried to eat a light bulb) but avoid bologna and anything with garlic? What does she know about sleep that I don't? (See photo.) When I come home at night, she's so excited that I'm worried that she'll wag her rear-end off as I come in the door. Why does she do that? Dr. Coren’s book may well shed some light on Ginseng’s behaviors. Here are two of the top titles Dr. Coren recommends about the life of dogs: For the Love of Dog by Patricia B. McConnell (2006) and If Only they Could Speak by Nicholas H. Dodman (2002).