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Living well with domestic animals

  • Feb 17, 2009
Rating:
+3
Grandin, an animal behaviorist known for her humane slaughterhouse designs and her outstanding books on autism (particularly her memoir "Thinking in Pictures") and relationships with animals ("Animals in Translation"), focuses on how we can give domestic animals the best life.

Most people will find the chapters on cats and dogs the most useful. Other chapters explore the emotional and physical worlds of horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals and how each intersects with humans (not always a pretty picture). In each, Grandin engages the reader with illuminating behavioral studies and empathic interpretations.

She approaches her subject with a system. "The rule is simple: Don't stimulate RAGE, FEAR, and PANIC if you can help it, and do stimulate SEEKING and also PLAY."

Much of her advice is common sense but the science offers fascinating reinforcement and explanation. Purebred dogs, for instance, have lost a lot of the wolf's natural submissive behaviors -- designed to keep the peace -- and may no longer be able to recognize warning signs in other dogs.

She also calls the animal's natural social evolution into play. Dogs, she says, descend from families of wolves, not packs, and are looking for a parent, not an alpha. Horses' fear and flight responses are the basis of their survival in the wild and training them requires reassurance, not breaking.

She shows how to recognize emotional states in animals and gives advice on avoiding negative reactions. All animals are frightened by new things -- and all animals are attracted to new things. It all depends on how it's presented -- forcibly or voluntarily.

In conclusion Grandin observes that "many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets," citing separation anxiety in dogs who hate to be left alone for hours. In Grandin's view, if people paid attention to the emotional lives of the creatures that depend on them, all would have a better quality of life.

While particularly of interest to people with pets or farm animals, Grandin's take on animals always sparks reflection.

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About the reviewer
Lynn Harnett ()
Ranked #183
I love to read, always have, and have been writing reviews for more years than I care to say. Early on, i realized there are more books than there is time to read, so I read only books I like and mostly … more
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Product Description
How can we give animals the best life--for them? What does an animal need to be happy

In her groundbreaking, best-selling bookAnimals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her experience as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel. Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life--on their terms, not ours.

Knowing what causes animals physical pain is usually easy, but pinpointing emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals and then explains how to fulfill the specific needs of dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, zoo animals, and even wildlife. Whether it's how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.

Animals Make Us Humanis the culmination of almost thirty years of research, experimentation, and experience. This is essential reading for anyone who's ever owned, cared for, or simply cared about an animal.


A Q&A with Temple Grandin, Author of Animals Make Us Human

Q:InAnimals Make Us Human, you discuss a wide range of animals, from dogs to pigs to tigers. ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0151014892
ISBN-13: 978-0151014897
Author: Temple Grandin
Genre: Outdoors & Nature, Science
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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