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Monday, August 7, 2017

How Dogs Love us by Gregory Berns


Full title: How dogs love us: A neuroscientist and his adopted dog decode the canine brain

Rating: 1-Star

Summary on Goodreads.

"After his family adopted Callie, a shy, skinny terrier mix, Berns decided that there was only one way to answer that question—use an MRI machine to scan the dog’s brain. His colleagues dismissed the idea. Everyone knew that dogs needed to be restrained or sedated for MRI scans. But if the military could train dogs to operate calmly in some of the most challenging environments, surely there must be a way to train dogs to sit in an MRI scanner..." [+ more]

I wish I could give this book 5-stars because I understand the work involved in doing a MRI on a dog's brain. The book is 248 pages; up to page 180 it is all about how the idea of the book/MRI came to be and how they trained the dog to be still during the MRI. It is not that these parts were not enjoyable, but personally, I didn't care about them. I wanted to go right into what the MRI revealed about what a dog thinks (if that was possible to learn through MRI).

So finally, by page 181, the first results are in: dogs' brains have a reward system, and dogs understand hand signal. I'm sorry, but, didn't we know that already?

Do dogs love us? Well... yes, and I don't need MRI scan to prove it. So, to address the title of the book, How Dogs Loves Us I would say that by letting us scan their brain to find out if they have feelings.

At the end, this book did not tell me how my puppy loves me (other than by letting me feed him, wash him, pet him, take him to walks, sleep with him, pick up his shit, wipe his ass, and yes - even rinse his mouth).