Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality Paperback – Apr 25 2000
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"Why is it that some people form lasting and warm relationships with their dogs, while others get no joy at all from their pets?" Dr. Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs, asks this question in Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality. Coren sets out not only to answer this question--an extremely worthy one considering that 4 out of 10 dogs fail to last the first year with their adoptive owners--but to revolutionize the way people think about prospective pets.
Relying on his background in psychology and dog intelligence--as well as the input of several animal experts--Coren created seven new groups of dogs based on canine characteristics that "had the most influence on people's satisfaction and lifestyle": friendly, protective, independent, self-assured, consistent, steady, and clever. Coren then asks that you calculate your personality using a pared-down version of the Interpersonal Adjective Scales--a personality test that measures in terms of extroverted/introverted, trusting/controlling, dominant/no-so-dominant, and warm/cool. The findings of this test, when coupled with Coren's new canine classification system, pinpoint the dog/dogs perfect for your personality.
Sprinkled throughout Coren's fascinating scientific discussion are a multitude of entertaining tales--which serve to further illustrate Coren's findings--including Sigmund Freud and his well-suited chow chow, Jo-Fi, who attended Freud's therapy sessions; playwright Eugene O'Neill and his beloved dalmatian, Blemie, for whom O'Neill bought a four-poster bed; and novelist John Steinbeck's poodle, Charlie, who accompanied the Nobel Prize-winning novelist on his travels across the United States. Both informative and highly entertaining, Why We Love the Dogs We Do paves the way for a mutually beneficial owner/dog relationship. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Charles Darwin so loved his little West Highland white terrier, Coren reports, that he often wrote of his dog adventures around the house. Yet, the same man so loathed a big hound he had been given (he called it "graceless, noisy and drooling") that he ultimately had the dog shot. Dog expert Coren (What Do Dogs Know?) offers a scheme that describes why different types of people favor certain species of dogs. Entertaining the reader with historical anecdotes and odd facts, the author describes case after case of dogs who fitAor, disastrously, don't fitAan owner's temperament and lifestyle. Coren includes a conversation he had with Picasso about the many dogs the painter lived with, and reveals that Richard Nixon, who was greatly distrusted by the American public, liked dogs. Actor Jimmy Stewart was apparently as nice a man as the characters he played, and he, too, loved (and spoiled) dogs. Coren categorizes according to their basic temperaments some of the more than 400 breeds of dogs recognized by international kennel clubs. Golden retrievers and Labradors are warm and friendly, he explains, while dalmatians are independent and strong-willed. Coren supplies a personality inventory, "the interpersonal adjective scale," to enable readers to rate how well they are described by various adjectives that run the gamut from dominant to submissive, gregarious to cold, thus helping them to pick the appropriate dog for their personality. This is an engaging, edifying work, but the author's academic background does manifest in his prose from time to time. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
An intriguing idea, but unfortunately not accomplished in this work.
Coren places each breed in one of seven rather indistinct categories: Friendly, Protective, Independent, Self-Assured, Consistent, Steady, Clever.
He tests your personality and indicates which of the groups is best for you. You are then encouraged to choose from among the breeds in that group, breeds he bills as fairly interchangeable compatibility-wise.
A large flaw in this is that no breed is described as having more than one strong characteristic: for example, no breed is listed as both friendly and clever.
Additionally, no other compatibility issues are considered. For example, in matching you with a breed, no consideration is given to the breed's needs/demands for attention and exercise. Nor is consideration given to the breed's tolerance for children and other dogs.
The most noteworthy accomplishment of this book is Coren's very extensive historical description of famous people and their relationships with their dogs, but the contribution of such anecdotes in establishing breed characteristics is rather ambiguous.
Then I can take the other example about what he calls the "clever" dog group. It is much easier for a man to rate "higher" for the clever dogs than a women. And, yes, he makes a distinction between dogs suitable for men and others for women. If a woman is an extrovert she could be happy with an Akita, yet if the man is an extrovert, he should get a clever dog like a poodle. Go figure. I certaintly can't see where he is coming from....or where he is going for that matter.
Oh, and although this isn't my last complaint about this book, it is the last I'll mention--the chapter on "cat people" is truly humiliating for both the cat, and the cat lover.
Don't waste your money on this book. The only interesting thing in it is its list of famous people and the breed of dog they owned. If your looking for a good book to help you choose your next dog, try "The Perfect Match" by Walkowicz, "The right dog for you" by Tortora, or "Choosing a Dog" by Baer. They are all good books with excellent information.
Coren's main premise is that he can match owner personalities with dog personalities. This might be doable, but Coren does this in a very sloppy manner. He takes a bunch of historical figures and celebrities, and presumes to figure out their personalities. For example, he rates Josephine, the wife of Napoleon as medium for extroversion and dominance. Hmmm. Given that she lived two hundred years ago, how accurate can he really be? There's a lot of stuff like this in the book - Coren figuring out personalities based on secondary information.
The second problem with the book is that the groupings of the dogs is very broad, making this exercise almost pointless. How useful is a grouping when Shih Tzu's are grouped with terriers?
The books that I think are much better are: Your Purebred Puppy by Michele Welton and Understanding Dog Mind by Bonnie Bergin.
Where to start?
First off, at least half of the text in this thing is taken up with the rich and famous and their preferred breeds. Um, who cares? Jimmy Stewart was a "warm" guy, so he liked Golden Retrievers. Hoop-de-doo. Wading through this junk takes up a lot of reading time.
Once you fight past your indifference to all the eagerly-related inside celebrity scoops, you realize Mr. Coren is attempting to use a personality inventory approach to dog selection. He has you take a little set of personality exams -- a quite rudimentary example of this sort of test, about on the level of an article in Cosmo or Women's Day -- and then use the results to choose a breed. As I said, the test is irritatingly incomplete. As another reviewer here has mentioned, the results you get are ridiculously biased against certain groups of dogs, too. It's impossible to score well for certain groups, and almost inevitable that you'll score well for others. A comparable test is included in Daniel Tortora's "The Right Dog for You," only that one's more well-rounded.
Did I mention the way the dogs are grouped? Other books -- "Paws to Consider" by Kilcommins and Wilson, for example -- use interesting systems to group dogs. "Paws" uses groups like Nine-to-Five dogs, or non-shedding dogs, as a counter to the AKC's "Working Breeds" and "Terriers." Why We Love...Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I admit, I went into this book thinking it couldn't possibly work - that I would know just by reading dog descriptions what dog I wanted. Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Jean DeVilbiss
I own a dog and two cats so I was interested in reading about my breed of dog in this particular book. Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2003
While full of fascinating anecdotes, this amusing book is only =useful= if you already know a great deal about dogs. Read morePublished on May 14 2003 by CavalierAttitude1660
I really did enjoy the little anecdotes in this book -- the ones about James Stewart and his dogs were especially sweet. Read morePublished on June 5 2002 by Shelley Mckibbon
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