The journey began with a gut reaction. When award-winning scientist Dr Brian Hare watched a chimpanzee fail to read a simple human hand gesture in an intelligence test, he blurted out, 'My dog can do that!' The psychologist running the test challenged him to prove it, sending Hare on an odyssey to unlock the cognitive and evolutionary mysteries of our four-legged friends. Hare's research over the past two decades has yielded startling discoveries about how dogs think. He has pioneered studies that have proven that dogs exhibit a brand of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom, and that when dogs domesticated themselves around 40,000 years ago they became far more like human infants than their wolf ancestors.
These findings are transforming how we live and work with our canine friends, and how we understand them. Is your dog purposefully disobeying you? Probably, and often behind your back. Should you act like 'top dog to maintain control? No, you're better off displaying your friendliness – not just to your dog but to everyone around you. Which breed is cleverest? As it happens, breed doesn't matter much, though other factors do. These are just some of the extraordinary insights to be found in The Genius of Dogs – the seminal book on how dogs evolved their unique intelligence alongside human companions, and how you can use this groundbreaking science to build a better relationship with your own dog.
Husband and wife team Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods are the cofounders of the new dog intelligence testing and training company Canines Inc. Hare is Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University, where he founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center. His research on 'dognition' has been published in the leading journals. Woods is a research scientist at the Duke Canine Cognition Center as well as an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in BBC Wildlife and New Scientist, among others. She is also author of the acclaimed memoir Bonobo Handshake, which tells the story of the scientific love affair and partnership between Hare and Woods.
"Many authors have tried to anecdotally capture the emotional bond between humans and dogs. Here at last is a book that digs deep into cognitive science to unravel the mysteries of the canine brain. Thoroughly researched and written in the likable voice of a brainy scientist sitting at your kitchen table, The Genius of Dogs is a fascinating look at what goes on between the ears of the animals we share our lives with. I found it entertaining, fast-moving, and filled with gee-whiz insights that gave me a new appreciation for the complex social intelligence of man's best friend."
- John Grogan, author of Marley & Me and The Longest Trip Home
"The Genius of Dogs is a fantastic book. It makes it very clear that there are different kinds of intelligence. All dog lovers should read this book."
- Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human and Animals in Translation
"The definitive dog book of our time by the researcher who started a revolution."
- Daniel J. Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs
"A masterful account of the way science is revealing just how smart dogs can be. Fascinating and highly readable."
- John Bradshaw, University of Bristol, author of In Defence of Dogs
"With the help of some wolves, Russian foxes, New Guinea singing dogs and a Labrador Retriever named Oreo, Brian Hare tells us about his fascinating search for an understanding of how dogs think and communicate."
- Stanley Coren, Professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia, and author of How to Speak Dog
"Based on Brian Hare's game-changing research, The Genius of Dogs brilliantly explains the canine mind and in doing so illuminates the natural history of all intelligence. This book will captivate anyone interested in dog, ape or human mentality."
- Richard Wrangham, Harvard University, author of Catching Fire
"Every dog lover will enjoy this book."
- Daily Mail
"You would be hard-pressed to find a more cheerful, optimistic and warm-hearted read."
- BBC Wildlife Magazine
- BBC Focus
"This is the best book in existence, by far, for learning about the recent revolution in our understanding of the minds of dogs. And it's fun, too."
- Mike Tomasello, Co-Director, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology