FABULOUS book. Gregory Berns got the crazy idea of training his dog to lie still in an MRI machine in the hope it would provide some insight into dogs' thinking. What he found brings scientific proof to something every dog person knows --- that dogs read us, anticipate our behavior, and act on that knowledge. Dogs, in short, have theory of mind. Berns rightly argues that this scientific evidence must change the way we think of and treat dogs. His book is filled with fairly complex scientific concepts but it is written beautifully and clearly. It is very easy to understand and, like a good adventure novel, pulls readers along with foreshadowing and suspense. I disagree with the reviewer who said the book is written "backwards." I really wanted to know how the idea developed, how the training was done, all the background stuff in the early chapters. I love that Berns is not an especially savvy dog person, at least at the beginning of the Dog Project, as he calls it...
At the age of 55 I began my first ever love affair with Jackson. He was a 12 week old Golden puppy and he took my heart completely into his keeping the day he rode home on my lap from the breeder. We had a good life and at the age of 12 1/2 he left for the Rainbow Bridge. That final day, in the comfort room at the vet, I sat in the floor, face to face with him looking into his eyes as he looked into mine. There I saw reflected tenderness, a little bit of fear and resignation but still the unbridled bond/love we shared. I loved him even more in that moment than I ever had, and he knew it. He laid down, head in my lap and closed his eyes and went peacefully on his way.
It's been three months since that day and I have prayed every day that he truly knew how much he meant to me.
Gregory Berns' recount of the Dog Project has given me great insight into the whole love affair I had with Jackson, and has assured me that all those moments of eye contact and...
This book provided me with much to discuss with my step daughter who is a radiologist in women's health. She thinks the new technology of FMRI is just getting started in revealing what was previously unknowable about our own brains, animal brains, and the interaction of the two. The fact that the researcher-author here is not really a dog person made the findings of his work much more believable. I think the training regimen they had to come up with to keep the dogs still yet alert inside the MRI is a treatise on dog training alone worth reading. I am so pleased that research is increasingly focusing on the dog instead of always on the "intelligent" species of dolphins and some primates. No other species has had thousands of generations at man's side like the dog. This new research shows the effect of that bond on how their brains operate under different stimuli, and prove that it is not always about food. They have deeper needs with their human companions. Fascinating read...
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