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Friday, November 20, 2015

Embracing The Wild In Your Dog: The Wolf In Your Home

This is an important book. That's why I purchased it from Amazon and reviewed it for Bookplex.  It includes numerous examples of how ignorance about instinctive dog behavior have caused injury or even death for both humans and dogs.  We have been anthropomorphizing dogs.  To effectively illustrate the perspective of Embracing The Wild In Your Dog, the cover shows a wolf and a dog side by side.    


 Bryan Bailey wants us to know that dogs and wolves are genetically identical, and that we can only understand dogs by studying wolf behavior.   I first encountered this revelation in The Man Who Lives With Wolves by UK wolf researcher Shaun Ellis.  It was Jodi Picoult who led me to this title.  She included it in the bibliography for her novel, Lone Wolf.  Her central character was partly based on Shaun Ellis. I reviewed both books on my old blog, here . Due to prejudices about wolves, many people refuse to believe that dogs have not diverged genetically from wolves. The differences between dogs and wolves are due to human socialization. Bailey shows in this book that  human intervention hasn't been to the benefit of the canine species.

Once we accept that dogs should not be treated as if they were human children, I would think that the reverse should also apply.  I found only one editing error, but there are a number of passages in this book that seem to imply that humans would be better off if parents and others in authority treated everyone the same way that alpha wolves treat the members of their packs.  Bailey seems to favor military dictatorships.  It doesn’t appear to me that military dictatorships are more orderly and peaceful precisely because of some significant differences between humans and canines.

Although I very much disagree with Bailey’s approach to human social organization, I did learn a great deal about dogs and the increasingly troubled relationship between humans and dogs. I was shocked to find out that some animal shelters were concealing the violent pasts of dogs from people who seek to adopt them.  Bailey very rightly points out that people don’t have any hope of successfully integrating a dog into their households unless they know what to expect.   He wants to help us to develop into pack leaders for the dogs in our lives.  


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