Book review: Eric Brad’s Dogs as They Are
By Laure-Anne Visele, written Nov 2012.
This article is part of my collection of book reviews.
I review every book that has increased my understanding of dogs. I also review the ones that have decreased my understanding –negative reviews. No point in letting you buy the duds, hey.
AUTHOR: Eric Brad
PUBLISHING YEAR: 2012
SUMMARY: Lively essays on critical dog questions through popular science.
- Dominance and pack theory
- Projecting emotions vs. observing them objectively
- Dogs not getting along: the signs, and how to interpret them
- Examples and theories of canine humour
- Little known dog body language signals
- The story of fostering a traumatized dog
REVIEW: Organised in a collection of themed essays, the book gives you the low down on every conceivable canine stereotype and runs them past the latest and greatest science popularization sources.
Eric Brad is the host Canine Nation, a well-respected podcast. He also regularly writes for magazines and websites, and his dogs are agility trial champions. But above all, he is clearly enamored with all thing dogs, and this passion shines through every line.
Many of us share his traumatic story of re-education. It all starts when your dog crosses an unforgivable line. Then you will work through the traditional dog training advice and so many old wives tales, but it gets worse. Out of desperation, you start digging through the technical literature yourself and, if you’re lucky, you’ll hit gold and get to one of the science popularization greats (Ray Coppinger, Jean Donaldson, Alexandra Horowitz,…). At that stage, knowledge will come pouring in, and you’ll hopefully be working your way through increasingly challenging material until, after years of reading, you feel emboldened to share your thoughts in a book, as Eric did.
Clearly a gifted writer, Eric Brad’s prose is vanilla-smooth on top, rock-solid at the bottom. The background research is near impeccable, as he showed me the perfect three’s:
- a good grasp of
- a wide array of
- recent references.
His literature research is a welcome relief from the flurry of apocryphal writings about dogs.
A couple of things need to be polished to make this book perfect in my eyes: availability in hard-copy, pictures, more fleshed out examples and more in-text references.
If you are an owner struggling with inconsistencies with traditional training methods, this book has your name written all over it. It’ll be the launching platform you need to discover the fascinating world of dog fact, so you can, once and for all, leave dog fiction behind.
Nothing makes my day more than that sweet “Ping! You have a comment”. So go on, share your thoughts.
Have you read it? Did you like it? What did you think? Would you recommend other similar books?
- Hot dogs – Quick poll about hotly debated dog issues (e.g. leash/no leash, treat/no treat, etc.)
- Dogs, my philosophical position – My position on debated dog issues
- Does your large dog scare people? – Article about more intimidating dog breeds
Dog training and behaviour
- Separation anxiety – a treatment protocol
- Treating dog-dog aggression – some advice
- The perfect recall – fool-proof guide to getting your dog to come back when called