Coppinger and Feinstein’s new book examines dog behavior from evolutionary and cognitive science perspectives.
Raymond Coppinger, professor emeritus of biology, and Mark Feinstein, professor of cognitive science, both leading researchers in the field of dog behavior, are co-authors of the upcoming book How Dogs Work.
Approaching dogs as a biological species rather than just as pets, Coppinger and Feinstein accessibly synthesize decades of research and field experiments to explain the evolutionary foundations underlying dog behaviors.
They examine the central importance of the shape of dogs: how their physical body (including the genes and the brain) affects behavior, how shape interacts with the environment as animals grow, and how all of this has developed over time. Chapters in How Dogs Work explore such questions as why dogs play; whether dogs have minds, and if so what kinds of things they might know; why dogs bark; how dogs feed and forage; and the influence of the early relationship between mother and pup.
Going far beyond the cozy lap dog, Coppinger and Feinstein are equally fascinated by what we can learn from the adaptations of dogs, wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingoes, and even pumas in the wild, as well as the behavior of working animals like guarding and herding dogs.
Raymond Coppinger’s previous books include Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Mark Feinstein’s work has been published in journals ranging from Linguistic Inquiry to the Journal of Zoology. Feinstein is also co-author, with several Hampshire colleagues, of the first cognitive science textbook for undergraduates.