Dogs Demystified: An A–Z Guide to All Things Canine

New World Library. Jun. 2023. 360p. ISBN 9781608688166. pap. $19.95. PETS
Animal lovers, scientists, and students will be drawn in and thoughtfully consider the entries written by prolific author and well-known animal cognition expert Bekoff (emeritus, ecology and evolutionary biology, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age; A Dog’s World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World Without Humans). The diverse topics—really a potpourri of entries, ranging from animal communication and animal-assisted therapy to object permanence, walking the dog, and xenophobia in animals—include references to scientific studies and detailed research, all available at Bekoff’s website but not included in this print volume. Anecdotes throughout the entries bring a personal touch to the book and prevent it from feeling too scholarly. There are even a few oddball entries, such as the one for “Curly,” a.k.a. Jerome Lester Horwitz, one of the Three Stooges, who was known for being kind to stray dogs. Throughout, Bekoff emphasizes that dogs are individuals first and foremost, and that sweeping generalizations are rarely accurate when describing breed traits or making comparisons to other animals.
VERDICT A foreword by Jane Goodall and quirky dog drawings enhance this title. For comprehensive collections of materials on dog studies, animal cognition, and psychology and for general readers who love their pet dogs.
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