The Most Misunderstood Member of Your Household

When Buster is snoozing, dreams of being Alpha Dog aren’t flitting around in his brain, according to animal behaviorist John Bradshaw. The top-dog myth is just one of the erroneous memes we have about our best friend, writes the respected U.K. scientist, who goes on to argue that dogs are on the brink of a crisis.

Bradshaw’s new book, “In Defence of Dogs” (titled “Dog Sense” in the United States) is, in the words of The Guardian newspaper, “nothing less than a manifesto for a new understanding of our canine friends.” Click the link at the bottom to see why the canine expert feels that a dog’s life in the 21st century needs some rethinking. To listen to an NPR interview with Bradshaw and to read still more of his ideas, click here.

The Guardian:

Put simply: dogs are on the brink of a crisis. And as we have put them there, it is our responsibility to help them.

This is the thesis of John Bradshaw’s scholarly yet passionate book In Defence of Dogs, which is nothing less than a manifesto for a new understanding of our canine friends. It is an attempt to “stand up for dogdom” – that is, dogs as they truly are, not as we assume they are. As a canine expert and dog-lover, Bradshaw is dismayed that our treatment of dogs is based on so many mistaken beliefs and assumptions. He wants to set the record straight now because canine science has made huge advances in recent decades.

He starts by demolishing the notion that dogs are essentially aggressive creatures seeking dominance, which is based on discredited research into wolf packs. It is now known that wolves – the direct ancestors of dogs – actually live in harmonious family groups. Packs are not dominated by “alpha wolves”, but are fundamentally cooperative.

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