100 silliest things people say about dogs

Semyonova_100PUBLISHING YEAR: 2009

SUMMARY: 100 common myths debunked. One by one.

AUDIENCE: The book takes an extreme position on a few controversial points, which may unduly sway the layman’s view. So, not to be put in the hands of complete beginners in dog behaviour.

REVIEW: This book is a little gem. It has a backyard publishing feel to it, but that just adds to its charm.

The author is an American expatriate living in the Netherlands to boot. As a fellow English-speaking expat in The Hague, I was all the more intrigued. Alexandra Semyonova has a Masters in Ethology, and looks at the oft-told dog-related myths through the eyes of science. She reviews these beliefs with passion and verve.

She zones in on abstract concepts, and makes them vivid and clear. Her fluid style helped me crystallize my hitherto misty thoughts on a couple of points (e.g. dogs are conciliatory creatures, dogs need control and predictability, etc.).

At times, she can let her passion get in the way of impartiality. She goes off on tirades about Konrad Lorenz, Dutch training schools (been there, done that) and pit bulls.

Because she lump-quotes her sources at the end of each chapter (instead of tagging them to each claim), it can be tough to follow the breadcrumbs between the claims and the peer-reviewed source(s) that substantiate them. But I am really nitpicking here…

In short: this book is a real gem, but do remind yourself to read the more passionate chapters with a pinch of salt.

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Author: Semyonova Alexandra
Genre: pop science
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  1. Posted 1 March 2014 at 00:36 | Permalink

    Actually Ms Semyonova understated the flaws of domestic dog related research and mechanistic theories published by Konrad Lorenz. Statistics of dog attacks on children in the USA and genetics tended to support her views concerning the “fighting dog” breeds of which Pits were only a well publicized urban breed.

    • Posted 2 March 2014 at 17:33 | Permalink

      Hello H. Many thanks for your comments. Can you please provide me with a reference to these statistics and genetics. I haven’t yet seen a paper that strongly supported these views, but I am always opened to expanding and updating my views ot the latest research. Thanks in advance! Laure-Anne

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