In a previous post (September 7, 2008) I reviewed Barbara Handelman’s “Canine Behavior: A Photo Illustrated Handbook” (WoofandWord Press, 2008). At the time, I reported that it is a very useful book, showing dogs in a variety of action photos doing many different behaviors. My only criticism was that many of the photos were very pale, lacking in crispness and definition.
Barbara Handelman recently sent me a second edition of the book, in which the photos have been reprinted. In this edition, the photos have really good contrast, are crisp, and it is very easy to see the behaviors that the photos are illustrating.
At the time of my original post, I thought that this was a terrific book for anyone who wanted to get a visual impression of dog behavior. I still think so.
As best I can tell, the only thing that has changed between the first and second editions is the way the photos have been printed. The book now is available through Dogwise, www.dogwise.com.
Here is what I said about the first edition:
The book, “Canine Behavior: A Photo Illustrated Handbook” by Barbara Handelman (copyright 2008, 347 pages, Woof and Word Press, Norwich VT, ISBN 978-0-9765118-2-3) is quite an impressive tome. The book cover says that the book has 1000 pictures, and although I did not count, I can well believe it. Each page has at least several black-and-white photos of dogs behaving. Measuring 8.5x11 inches (21.5x28 cm), the book is large, with an attractive color cover of dogs performing a variety of behaviors.
The book is organized alphabetically, starting with “acquired bite inhibition” on page 1 and ending with “zoomorphism” on page 280. Each entry provides a brief definition or description of a particular behavior. In places where the definition is not always easy to understand (such as learning), the book usually also has an example that is much more concrete and more comprehensible than the official definition. For example, “Counter Conditioning” (p 140) has a definition that is standard to the psychological literature, and an example that can be understood by those who get lost in the psychological jargon.
Pages 283 to 294 have 24 photos of dogs either interacting or showing different facial expressions, and the reader is asked to identify as many behaviors as possible in each photo. Pages 295 to 312 have detailed answers to the behaviors in each of the previous photos, and the reader can easily flip back to the alphabetically-organized subjects to get a more detailed look at each behavior.
At the very back of the book is an extensive section of references, titled “Works Cited,” and a topical bibliography, again alphabetized, that lists the more important books and other resources, starting with “Aggression” and ending with “Websites.”
The photographs in the book are provided by 9 different photographers, including Barbara Handelman. Most photos are action shots, with the dogs caught in the middle of some behavior that is featured in the text. A number of photos are of wolves, but many different dog breeds are represented as well.
Clearly, everything in the book has been well-thought-out and well-presented. The book is useful to everyone who is interested in dog behavior, both the seasoned professionals with lots of experience and the novices just starting out.