The Social Dog

The Social Dog

Behavior and Cognition

1st Edition - May 6, 2014

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  • Authors: Juliane Kaminski, Sarah Marshall-Pescini
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124079311
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124078185

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Dogs have become the subject of increasing scientific study over the past two decades, chiefly due to their development of specialized social skills, seemingly a result of selection pressures during domestication to help them adapt to the human environment. The Social Dog: Behaviour and Cognition includes chapters from leading researchers in the fields of social cognition and behavior, vocalization, evolution, and more, focusing on topics including dog-dog and dog-human interaction, bonding with humans, social behavior and learning, and more. Dogs are being studied in comparative cognitive sciences as well as genetics, ethology, and many more areas. As the number of published studies increases, this book aims to give the reader an overview of the state of the art on dog research, with an emphasis on social behavior and socio-cognitive skills. It represents a valuable resource for students, veterinarians, dog specialists, or anyone who wants deeper knowledge of his or her canine companion.

Key Features

  • Reviews the state of the art of research on dog social interactions and cognition
  • Includes topics on dog-dog as well as dog-human interactions
  • Features contributions from leading experts in the field, which examine current studies while highlighting the potential for future research


Researchers in animal behavior; ethology; comparative cognition, evolutionary psychology and biology; behavioral genetics; zoology; as well as advanced UG/graduate students and professors in these areas, as well as veterinarians and dog trainers

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Section I. Theoretical Aspects
      • Chapter 1. The Social Dog: History and Evolution
        • 1.1. Where do Dogs’ Sociality and Socio-Cognitive Abilities Come from? The Canid Story
        • 1.2. Where do Dogs’ Sociality and Socio-Cognitive Abilities Come from? The Dog–Human Story
        • 1.3. Conclusions and Book Overview
      • Chapter 2. On the Way to a Better Understanding of Dog Domestication: Aggression and Cooperativeness in Dogs and Wolves
        • 2.1. Dog Domestication and Human Evolution: The Role of Wolf–Dog Comparisons
        • 2.2. Human-Like Behaviour in Dogs but Not in Wolves: Part 1
        • 2.3. Explaining Dog–Wolf Differences: Domestication Hypotheses
        • 2.4. Selection for Reduced Aggression in Dogs: But what Kind of Aggression?
        • 2.5. Earlier Origins of Dog–Human Cooperation: Canine Cooperation Hypothesis (Range et al., 2012; Range & Virányi, 2013, 2014)
        • 2.6. Human-Like Behaviour in Dogs but Not in Wolves: Part 2
        • 2.7. Practical Relevance
    • Section II. Social Behaviour
      • Chapter 3. The Social Organisation of a Population of Free-Ranging Dogs in a Suburban Area of Rome: A Reassessment of the Effects of Domestication on Dogs’ Behaviour
        • 3.1. Introduction
        • 3.2. Dog Population
        • 3.3. Within Group Relationships
        • 3.4. Intergroup Relationships: Spacing Pattern
        • 3.5. Variation in Dog Society
        • 3.6. Conclusions
      • Chapter 4. Social Behaviour among Companion Dogs with an Emphasis on Play
        • 4.1. Introduction
        • 4.2. Social Play
        • 4.3. Dominance
        • 4.4. Dog–Dog Aggression and Reconciliation
        • 4.5. Friendly Behaviour
        • 4.6. Conclusions
      • Chapter 5. Auditory Communication in Domestic Dogs: Vocal Signalling in the Extended Social Environment of a Companion Animal
        • 5.1. Introduction
        • 5.2. How Dogs Produce Vocal Signals
        • 5.3. Description of Dog Vocal Repertoire (and Comparison with Wolves, Canis Lupus)
        • 5.4. The Communicative Function of Acoustic Variation
        • 5.5. The Perception of Human Vocal Signals by Dogs
        • 5.6. Conclusions
      • Chapter 6. The Immaterial Cord: The Dog–Human Attachment Bond
        • 6.1. Being Social, Being Bonded, Being a Dog
        • 6.2. Attachment: A Bridge between Ethology and Psychology
        • 6.3. On the Nature of the Dog–Human Bond
        • 6.4. Origin of Dog–Human Bond: What Do We Know?
        • 6.5. When a Bond is Not Forever
        • 6.6. Conclusions
      • Chapter 7. The Personality of Dogs
        • 7.1. The Study of Individuality
        • 7.2. The Concept of Personality in Dogs
        • 7.3. Nature and Nurture: The Role of Genetic and Environmental Factors in Dogs’ Personality
        • 7.4. Consistency of Personality Traits
        • 7.5. Conclusions
      • Chapter 8. When the Bond Goes Wrong: Problem Behaviours in the Social Context
        • 8.1. Introduction
        • 8.2. An Initial Framework for Considering Human–Dog Social Relationships
        • 8.3. Dimensions within Human–Dog Relationships
        • 8.4. Origins of Tension within the Relationship: Their Expression and Consequences
        • 8.5. Cognitive and Affective Considerations of Some Manifestations of a Problematic Relationship
        • 8.6. Communication within the Relationship
        • 8.7. Conclusions
    • Section III. Social Cognition
      • Chapter 9. Social Learning in Dogs
        • 9.1. Introduction: From Social Behaviour to the Social Dog
        • 9.2. Social Learning as an Adaptive Mechanism
        • 9.3. The Dog as a Model for Studying Con- and Heterospecific Social Learning
        • 9.4. Conclusions
      • Chapter 10. What Dogs Understand about Humans
        • 10.1. Monitoring
        • 10.2. Perspective Taking
        • 10.3. Seeing Leads to Knowing
        • 10.4. Intentions
        • 10.5. Theory of Mind in Domestic Dogs?
        • 10.6. Mind Reading or Behaviour Reading?
      • Chapter 11. Dogs’ Sensitivity to Human Ostensive Cues: A Unique Adaptation?
        • 11.1. Introduction
        • 11.2. Human Communication System: A Uniquely Powerful Way of Knowledge Transmission
        • 11.3. The Interactive Nature of Dog–Human Communication as a Hallmark of Dogs’ Social Competence
        • 11.4. Summary and Conclusions on the ‘Infant-Likeness’ of Dogs’ Communication Skills
      • Chapter 12. Do Dogs Show an Optimistic or Pessimistic Attitude to Life?
        • 12.1. Introduction
        • 12.2. Cognitive Bias
        • 12.3. Points of Consideration
        • 12.4. Conclusions
      • Chapter 13. Wagging to the Right or to the Left: Lateralisation and What It Tells of the Dog’s Social Brain
        • 13.1. Introduction
        • 13.2. Brain Lateralisation and Dogs’ Emotions: The Tail-Wagging Experiment
        • 13.3. Right and Left in the Canine World: Complementary Specialisations of the Two Sides of the Dog’s Brain
        • 13.4. Paw Preference and its Implications for Dog Cognition
        • 13.5. Conclusions
    • Index
    • Color Plates

Product details

  • No. of pages: 418
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2014
  • Published: May 6, 2014
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124079311
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124078185

About the Authors

Juliane Kaminski

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Portsmouth, Department of Psychology, Portsmouth, UK

Sarah Marshall-Pescini

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Milan, Italy Comparative Cognition, Messerli Research Institute, University of Vienna, Austria Wolf Science Centre, Ernstbrunn, Austria

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