Books by Stanley Coren

Released: Nov. 2, 2010

"A tender, charming portrait of a consummate canine connoisseur."
The first truly personal story from Coren (Psychology/Univ. of British Columbia; The Modern Dog: How Dogs Have Changed People and Society and Improved Our Lives, 2009, etc.), an expert on human-dog interaction. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2001

"All bark and no bite. (line drawings)"
Coren (Why We Love the Dogs We Do, 1998, etc.) argues, with no discernible irony, that events and people as disparate as Waterloo and Richard Wagner would have been very different without the influence of dogs. When Napoleon was escaping from Elba, he fell into the water, a dog jumped in and began the rescue effort, and the diminutive Corsican survived to meet his Waterloo. Just think . . . if he had only drowned that day! That is the level of analysis in this truly dreadful example of what-if? history. If the author had adopted a lighter tone and confined himself to amusing stories, odd coincidences, and the little-known obsessions for dogs held by some of history's more engaging figures from Cromwell to Custer, this volume might have been mildly entertaining. Instead, we get solemn pronouncements such as: "Dogs do have a way of weaving their influence through human events and subtly altering the course of history." This is not to say there are no chewy biscuits in the bowl: Florence Nightingale may indeed have been inspired to become a nurse by the sight of an injured dog, and it is interesting to learn that Alexander Graham Bell taught a dog to say "How are you, grandmamma?" But it's quite a stretch from there to speculate that dogs played a significant role in the development of Freud's psychoanalytic theories. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1998

Coren, author of the bestselling The Intelligence of Dogs, wants you to get the right dog and to cut back on the alarming human-dog divorce rate, and here he delivers the kind of goods a professional matchmaker would be proud of. This is a book of pure good intention: Deploying his background in psychology and dog intelligence, Coren endeavors to hitch people and canines in a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. Considering that four out of ten dogs don't last one year with their adoptive families, it is a worthy project. He emphasizes the importance of emotional attraction and companionship over image, and devises a new classification of dogs that, in contrast to the classic kennel-club standards, groups them by behavioral characteristics and temperament (this is accomplished with the input of veterinarians, trainers, dog-show judges, and canine psychologists): friendly, protective, independent, self-assured, consistent, steady, and clever. He then provides a personality test for readers to measure their own extroversion, trust, dominance, warmth, and such. In subsequent chapters, he outlines what dogs fit what categories, including psychological detailings and copious anecdotes (a kind of —dog styles of the rich and famous—): why Steinbeck had a poodle, Eugene O'Neill a Dalmatian, Emily Brontâ a boxer, Picasso an Afghan hound, what dogs presidents have chosen, and those selected by queens. Then he delves into the mechanics of his personality profiles, how readers can use them to find an appropriate dog, or maybe even to learn that they are, like Goethe and Napoleon, not meant to have a dog at all. The final chapter, a listing of the dogs of celebrities, is gratuitous, as readers will likely have little clue as to the glitterati's real personalities. Coren, a humble dog lover and a longtime student of the beast, has the best interests of both dogs and humans at heart. His is a scheme worth a gamble. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: April 9, 1996

Forget that early-to-rise myth; getting too little sleep is unhealthful, costly, and downright unproductive, according to this lively, anecdote-laden report on the perils of sleep deprivation. Coren, a Canadian neuropsychologist whose previous work had wide appeal among dog lovers (The Intelligence of Dogs, 1994), will win the kudos of sleep lovers with this one. After a brief look at sleep in the rest of the animal kingdom, he focuses on what happens to the human mind and body when deprived of sleep. Citing research and using notes from a diary he kept while systematically cutting back on his own sleep, he demonstrates that reducing sleep decreases the quality and quantity of one's work. Furthermore, to ignore our biological clocks is to court disaster, for Coren notes that sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, leaving the body more vulnerable to infection and illness, even death. He looks specifically at the effects of sleep deprivation on truck drivers, airline pilots, air traffic controllers, hospital interns and residents, and shift workers such as police and firefighters. The statistics and anecdotes he provides are certainly eye-opening. A 1988 figure he cites gives the cost of sleep-related accidents in the US that year as $56.02 billion, and he presents persuasive evidence that the major disasters of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and the Exxon Valdez were all caused by human beings with too little sleep. Tucked in among the sobering data are several charts and tables, quizzes to help one analyze one's own sleep habits and needs, and some tips on overcoming jet lag and getting a good night's sleep. All the justification one needs for turning off the alarm and catching another 40 winks. Read full book review >
Released: April 20, 1994

Everyone thinks that their own dog is brilliant. Coren has written an intriguing study that will help dog owners to gauge realistically their own dog's intelligence. After discussing the evolution of the dog from its wolf ancestry, Coren looks at the canine and what it has meant in history, its influence on religion, and even its image as harbinger of death. But the meat of the book lies in the author's evaluation of intelligence. He concludes that ``dogs can learn to discriminate over a hundred spoken human words'' and that dogs use different ways of communicating—including barks, growls, and movements of the tail, ears, eyes, and mouth—all in carefully nuanced ways. Coren goes on to suggest that what Americans consider a ``bow-wow'' may simply be the dog speaking in the local dialect; a dog's kiss may ``really mean that it is treating you as its parent and asking for a snack''; ``tail wagging is a completely social gesture. In some ways, it serves the same functions as a human smile''; and urination is a way of saying, ``This territory is mine.'' We are reminded that even today, especially in parts of Asia, the dog is thought of as a form of sustenance and that during the Franco- Prussian war in 1870 the following culinary evaluations were applied: ``Spaniel, like lamb; Poodle far the best; Bulldog coarse and tasteless.'' Coren also presents a 12-part canine IQ test and an obedience personality test that measures the future obedience quotient of a puppy. He also provides tips for teaching and training less intelligent dogs. After a dry, academic start, this becomes an interesting, at times stimulating, manual for the intelligent dog owner. Read full book review >