If Dogs Could Talk

Exploring the Canine Mind

Vilmos Csányi; Translated by Richard E. Quandt

North Point Press

Download Image Vilmos Csányi; Translated by Richard E. Quandt If Dogs Could Talk

Available Formats

BookeBook
Every dog owner knows intuitively that there's something special about the high degree of mutual understanding and empathy that exists between humans and their proverbial best friends. Now, an internationally renowned Hungarian ethologist (a specialist in the scientific study of animal behavior) traces the roots of this unique relationship back to the unusual circumstances in which the two species co-evolved over many millennia.

Drawing in part on close observations of his own two pet dogs, Flip and Jerry, the author argues that the longstanding alliance of dogs and humans arose from behavioral traits present in the original wolves from which all modern dogs are descended. Wolves, like humans, are highly intelligent social predators, with well-developed cooperative problem-solving and communications skills, giving them distinct advantages in their developing relations with humans. These basic intellectual skills were refined and enhanced over tens of thousands of years, resulting in the enormously varied "artificial animals" we see today.

Although the book's specific focus is on dogs, it ranges far afield to discuss in an easy-going, accessible style recent experimental and theoretical work on the behavior of other animals, and especially on their interactions with humans. A highly personal work, If Dogs Could Talk makes the case that the social and emotional bonds between dogs and humans are indeed special, and that they ought to form the basis for our treatment of dogs. Moreover, the author concludes, by closely observing the cognitive behavior of dogs, we can also learn a good deal about how the human mind works.

Connect with the Author

Sign Up for
Author Updates

Macmillan Newsletter


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

Book Excerpts

Read an Excerpt

If Dogs Could Talk
Part OneThe Alliance of Two MindsHumans have coexisted for tens of thousands of years with a peculiar social predator descended from wolves, namely the dog. During this time we have accumulated much knowledge about dogs. Some of this knowledge is available in well-written and practical dog books, while some is the subject of the oral history of dogs, of anecdotes and beliefs; only a very small portion of this knowledge has found its way into the scientific literature about dogs. If we examine the practical and theoretical literature about dogs, we find much on breeding dogs,

Read the full excerpt

Back

Reviews

Praise for If Dogs Could Talk

"If Dogs Could Talk--and indeed they do in their own special ways--is a fascinating book about a fascinating animal. Wonderful stories and difficult to find scientific data are nicely woven together into an easy to read text. Anyone who wants to know more about our 'best friends' will surely want to read Csanyi's important book." --Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado, Boulder; author of Minding Animals and The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall) and editor of the Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior

"Vilmos Csányi is highly respected for his research and writing as an ethologist. In If Dogs Could Talk, he artfully combines scientific research and personal observations to give us an insightful picture of the workings of the canine mind. Perhaps the most interesting aspects of the book are the comparisons between the mental processes of humans and dogs--two species that seem to have much more in common than most people ever suspected. Fascinating!" --Stanley Coren, author of How to Speak Dog and How Dogs Think

"There is no friendship on this planet as intense, profound and finally mysterious as that between dogs and humans. After reading this erudite, charming and utterly delightful book you will understand that bond better. Written in an accessible style and filled with touching anecdotes from the lives of his own marvelous dogs, it is a book based on original scientific research, much of it conducted by Professor Csányi himself. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a sheer delight." --Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie About Love

"This splendid book is a probing scientific study of the intelligence, emotions and feelings of animals, with the emphasis on those of dogs. Csányi's account, lucid and easily accessible to the general reader, is enriched by his perceptive reports on the doings of his two enchanting dogs, Flip and Jerry. Readers will be amazed to learn of the complexity and depth of the canine mind. Anyone interested in animals, and especially anyone who is fond of dogs, will cherish this book." --George Pitcher, author of The Dogs Who Came to Stay

"If Dogs Could Talk is one of those books that have you saying, 'Yes! He's right!' after almost every paragraph. Revelation and insight provide the most pleasurable form of reading, and If Dogs Could Talk is packed with both. I recommend it very highly." --Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Social Lives of Dogs

"Have you ever gazed into the eyes of your closest canine companion and wondered, 'What are you thinking?' Well wonder no more! After reading this book, when your dog does speak, you will be listening!" ---Lisa E. Weiss, Special Projects Coordinator, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

"Csányi’s way of thinking is that of a scientist, but he writes in a way that nonspecialist readers, as well as his peers, can understand. If Dogs Could Talk abounds with stimulating and original insights." --Mark Ridley, lecturer, Department of Zoology, Oxford University, and author of Evolution and Animal Behavior

Reviews from Goodreads

Back

About the Author

Vilmos Csányi; Translated by Richard E. Quandt

Vilmos Csanyi is a professor and chair of the department of ethology at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He has written extensively about his work for both professional and general audiences. This is his twenty-third book.

Vilmos Csányi

Back

Buy the Book

Available Formats and Book Details

If Dogs Could Talk
Exploring the Canine Mind
Vilmos Csányi; Translated by Richard E. Quandt

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
December 2005
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429930949
ISBN10: 1429930942
352 pages, Includes 20 Graphs and Charts
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
North Point Press
December 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780865477292
ISBN10: 0865477299
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 352 pages, Includes 20 Black-and-White Illustrations, Notes, and an Index
$23.00
Back

From The Publisher

North Point Press

Latest on Facebook

Latest on Twitter

Back