Publishing Author : Peggy Moran
Date Published : 13/04/18
There are several academic disciplines including anthropology, zoology, ethics,
psychology, cognitive science, and environmental studies that explore issues pertaining to
human—nonhuman animal studies, collectively known as the emergent social science field of
“anthrozoology.” Studies within these disciplines examine many content areas including human/
non-human animal relationships, domestic canine studies, canine cognition and behavior, interspecies
communication, and animal ethics. The works gathered for this literature review include
several books, many academic papers, several films or video recordings, and several websites or
databases that share research by experts from all of these disciplines, ad has been performed within the last ten years. Some older materials remain pertinent, and are also
included. This literature provides ample support for ongoing, original research investigating
whether dogs can make choices to decisively act in their own best interest. The literature
reviewed has been organized into general categories of inquiry.
Western Theoretical Frameworks for Human Interactions with Domestic Dogs
As companion dogs have increasingly become a subject of academic focus, new
questions regarding human responsibility toward them have contributed to a growing body of
multi-disciplinary research pertaining to ethical issues including animal rights, welfare,
marginalization, and personhood. The majority of these works call for a modern society that
considers new ways to view and treat non-human animals in consideration of their intrinsic
Allen and Bekoff argue for an examination of ethical issues concerning research with
non-human animals, and strive to provide a means for balancing skepticism and credulity about
animal minds within areas pertaining to cognitive ethology. Burghardt asserts the major
controversies in nonhuman animal rights involve their level of awareness of ill treatment, and
calls for a more holistic and ecological moral vision for valuing other animals. Newmyer looks at
issues surrounding modern ethical issues through an exploration of ancient argument for animal
rationality and sentience as posited by Plutarch. Derrida addresses the perceived line of
separation between human and non-human animals, reduced collectively to “the animal,” and
traces a history of how man has displaced onto the animal his own failings.
Calarco, on the other hand, offers up an alternate disagreeing viewpoint, through a
primary text featuring Levinas arguing against “natural rights” for animals, with Levinas
contrasting the human and animal “face” and citing higher ethical responsibilities to human
beings over the “animal.”
Western Perceptions of Dog Cognition and Behavior
There is a great deal of literature featuring the domestic dog as a cognitive science
research subject, and the majority of experiments performed along this line of scientific inquiry
are conducted with extreme transparency and reassurances regarding the ethical treatment of
their canine subjects. Questions specific to the ways dogs think, feel, and learn, perceive, and
remember, and whether—and how—they are able to understand human cues are explored in a
number of the works reviewed.
In an examination of the literature addressing the topic of canine cognition, there is
strong and growing support for the Coppingers’ and also Fox’s arguments that the domestication
of dogs involved co-evolution, and even reciprocal domestication, with human beings. Research
by Call, Brauer, Kaminski, and Tomasello, and also Kubinyi, Miklos, Topal, and Vilmos
suggests dogs have developed a unique ability to “read” and respond to human cues compared
with other non-human animal species. Luce, Duncan, and Raiffa, and separately, Dugatkin
examine canine learning and social play through game theoretical models. Hauser reveals
insights from evolutionary theory and cognitive science in order to explore animal emotions and
thought. Jensen supports Hauser’s argument through an examination of the behavioral biology of
dogs, focusing on canine evolution and development. Horowitz delves into and disambiguates
domestic dog “guilty looks,” exploring common pet owner misinterpretations of their dogs’
presumed sense of accountability, failings, and inferred resulting emotions. Horowitz also
examines what dog behaviors prompt anthropomorphism and identifies four relevant patterns of
dog-human play that are important in answering this question.
The Max Planck Institute’s Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology
investigates the evolution of domestic dog cognitive and social-cognitive processes. Their
research examines dogs’ general cognitive abilities as well as their responsiveness to attentional
states from human beings and their ability to understand communicative cues.
Western Understanding and Applications of Domestic Dog Training
The deliberate efforts by individual human beings to assert pressures that result in
behavioral changes in a familiar pet dog is, for this work, referred to as “training.” Dog training
is a controversial subject, with conflicting and questionably ethical methods abounding in both
theory and in spin-off applications sold as professional services by pet dog trainers. Arguments
for and against training, and for and against specific methods of training, proliferate, and all sorts
of how-to instruction, from sugar-coated to tortuous, can be found in print as well as electronic
media. This literature review presents a small but broad slice of some of the sources available,
with an emphasis on visual media.
Larlham presents video instruction across a spectrum of tricks and tasks emphasizing
modern, pain-free training applications based on the theory of “progressive reinforcement.”
Larlham argues against placing any force or pressure upon dogs to comply, instead emphasizing
a liberal and steady flow of positive reinforcement in the form of food treats, praise, and social
play as means of persuasion and motivation. Similarly, Yin and Dunbar each offer video
instruction for pet owners seeking to initiate behavior modifications in their pet dogs without the
application of harsh, punitive methods. In all three of these sources, arguments or instances of
noncompliance from dogs are ignored and lower level challenges are used to replace cues that
fail to illicit compliant or desired responses. Kerasote takes an even more liberal approach,
exploring the question of how dogs would live if they were free, and evaluating whether they
would stay with human “friends” if they were able to make the choice, by letting his own dog, as
his research subject, live free of fences or confinement of any sort.
At the other end of the spectrum, TV dog training celebrity Cesar Milan shares an
instructional video series demonstrating controversial, punitive methods based on physical force
and dominance. Milan shares many insights into his non-scientific perception of “dog
psychology,” and constructs his training rational based upon these perceptions.
Though his research predates the use of video-recording devices, Pavlov also constructed
training experiments that were performed upon dogs. Pavlov was concerned with physiological
activity in the cerebral cortex in general, rather than seeking to answer questions about dog
training. Despite this fact, results from Pavlov’s research reveal “classical conditioning,” which
continues to inform contemporary dog training systems including most of those featured in
modern media representations.
Dog-Human Cooperative Interactions
The cooperative interaction between people and domestic dogs, commonly referred to as
the human-companion dog bond, is the final area of literature research for this review. These
works address an idealized middle ground where human beings attend to, and attempt to interact
with, companion dogs in a cohesive, social, hopefully-mutually-gratifying manner.
Birke and Hockenhull consider the ways in which people connect with non-human
animals, arguing for the importance of relationship as the focus in human-animal studies, rather
than just the ways humans and non-human animals affect each other. Blouin presents three
different approaches to the human-companion animal bond, based on three different orientations,
“dominionist,” “humanist,” and “protectionist,” and argues these different perspectives are
informed by multiple, competing cultural logics and also personal experiences. Bradshaw argues
pervasive misunderstandings of dogs as either pack-oriented wolves-in-dogs’-clothing or hairy
people places dogs in a serious crisis that may impede the human-companion animal bond.
Carlisle-Frank and Frank support Blouin’s argument with results from their research
demonstrating distinct ways people view and interact with companion animals informed by their
own views of themselves in roles as either pet “guardians,” or “owners.” Shapiro and DeMello
survey the “state of human-animal studies,” looking at anthrozoological trends such as animal
assisted therapy programs, transpecies psychology, critical animal studies, and animal welfare
Something to Bark About
Within the academic and popular literature, including electronic media, there is an
increasing interest in, and resulting sophisticated understanding of, domestic dogs. Living as
companion animals amongst human keepers in human-dominated culture, ethical questions dogs
cannot ask for themselves become an important human responsibility. The question this research
is most interested in, whether dogs make deliberately non-compliant choices in response to cues
during training, is important because of its impact upon safety for both pets and people. The
growing body of anthrozoological literature provides new ways to consider and provide care for
humankinds’ non-human best friend; this includes rethinking the ethics, concepts and
applications that pertain to dog training.
Civil Dog Disobedience:
Latency during training as evidence dogs make noncompliant choices
An annotated bibliography
Aaltola, Elisa. “The Anthropocentric Paradigm And The Possibility Of Animal Ethics.” Ethics &
The Environment 15.1 (2010): 27-50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.
This paper explores two variants of approaches to animal ethics, an analytical approach,
and a paradigmatic account that emphasizes common paradigms and meanings. the
author argues both of these approaches face severe difficulties that make them, without
further development, an unfruitful basis for ethics concerning non-human animals.
Allen, Colin, and Marc Bekoff. “Animal Minds, Cognitive Ethology, and Ethics.” The Journal of
Ethics 11.3 (2007): 299-317. Print. The authors provide an account of the origins of
cognitive ethology and the controversy surrounding it. The authors strive to provide
ethicists with a means for balancing skepticism and credulity about animal minds when
communicating with scientists. This paper may inform my research through the
examination of a variety of approaches to cognitive phenomena in animals.
American Ethnologist Volume 34. Issue 1. February 2007 (Pages 3 – 24) How Dogs Dream:
Amazonian Natures and the Politics of Trans-species Engagement: Eduardo Kohn. The
author draws upon research among the Upper Amazonian Runa, focusing on the question
of how to interpret the dreams dogs have. The author explores sign processes as inherent
to life and not just restricted to humans through the Amazonian lens of nonhuman selves.
The examination of the relationships the Runa have with other life forms, and their
employment of embodied and emergentist understanding of semiosis in efforts to move
anthropology beyond “the human,” both as analytic and as bounded object of study, will
inform my own research examining human perceptions and interactions with dogs.
Bailey, Cathryn. “A Man And A Dog In A Lifeboat: Self-Sacrifice, Animals, And The Limits Of
Ethical Theory.” Ethics & The Environment 14.1 (2009): 129-148. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 23 Feb. 2013. The author argues that hypothetical scenarios are frequently
used in animal ethics discourses in order to try to force the clarification of intuitions
about the relative value of human and animal life. The author argues such scenarios
indirectly reinforce anthropocentric assumptions tied to racist, sexist and ethnocentric
stereotypes. This paper is important to my own research pertaining to cultural and ethical
analysis of notions of self-sacrifice as well as the limitations of certain popular Western
approaches to animal ethics.
Behavioral Aspects of Animal Domestication Edward O. Price The Quarterly Review of Biology
, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Mar., 1984), Pp. 1-32 Published By: The University of Chicago Press
Article Stable URL: Http://www.jstor.org/stable/2827868 The author explains the
domestication process and its biological consequences with an emphasis on behavior.
This article pertains primarily to concerns regarding wild-bred animals in captivity, but
may be useful in my own research from the standpoint of comparisons with domestic dog
environmental adaptations. The author argues reductions in animal responsiveness are
due to changes in the animal’s environment, such as reduced competition for resources.
Domestication and behavioral adaptation is argued to be achieved by some combination
of genetic changes occurring over generations, as well as by environmentally induced
changes in development that recur during each generation. Some animal behaviors,
according to the author, may have been altered because of man’s role as a buffer between
the animal and its environment. This article may inform my own research through its
examination of related buffering.
Birke, Lynda I. A., and Jo Hockenhull. Crossing Boundaries: Investigating Human-animal
Relationships. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Print. This book considers the ways in which people
strongly bond with nonhuman animals, and how these relationships are central to much
emerging scholarship in human-animal studies. The authors argue research often focuses
on the ways people and animals affect each other rather than on the relationships
themselves, citing the history of disciplinary divisions, such as those between natural and
social sciences, as a primary causal factor. Contributors from a broad range of
disciplinary backgrounds reflect on methodological challenges to studying relationships
between people and animals. This article informs my own research from the perspective
of understanding the animals with whom people bond.
“Bizarre Bird Behavior Predicted By Game Theory.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 07 Mar. 2009.
Web. 01 Jan. 2013. A team of scientists, led by the University of Exeter, uses game
theory to explain a group of ravens’ adoption of the unusual strategy of foraging for food
in ‘gangs’. Juvenile birds from a roost in North Wales are observed and new research
methods are utilized to explain how this curious behavior can be predicted by adapting
models typically used by economists to analyze financial trends. Because game theory
based analysis of animal behavior factors into my own research, this article may prove
Blouin, David. “Are Dogs Children, Companions, Or Just Animals? Understanding Variations In
People’s Orientations Toward Pets.” Conference Papers — American Sociological
Association (2009): 1. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. This paper
examines 28 in-depth interviews with Midwestern dog owners pertaining to their
attitudes toward, and engagements with, animals. The author argues pets are an important
part of many people’s lives, despite radical differences in the ways human beings interact
with them. The author examines three approaches to the human-companion animal bond,
based upon three different orientations toward pets: “dominionist,” “humanist,” and
“protectionist.” These different perspectives toward animals, according to the author, are
informed by multiple, competing cultural logics as well as personal experiences,
demographic characteristics, and family structure. This paper directly relates to my focus
and is likely to inform my research project.
Bradshaw, John. Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better
Friend to Your Pet. New York: Basic, 2011. Print. According to the author, despite dogs
having been humankind’s faithful companions for tens of thousands of years, in modern
times dogs are generally interacted with as either pack oriented wolves-in-dog-clothing,
or furry human beings. The author argues dogs are neither wolves nor hairy people, and
that human misunderstanding places them in serious crisis, stating dogs need a
spokesperson who will assert their specific needs. This research, based on recent
scientific findings, shows how people can live in respectful harmony with companion
dogs. The author analyzes different approaches to dog training as well as breed specific
stereotypes that may impede the human–companion animal bond. This applies directly to
my research specific to dog training.
Branson, N. J., and L. J. Rogers. “Relationship between Paw Preference Strength and Noise
Phobia in Canis Familiaris.” Journal of Comparative Psychology 120.3 (2006): 176-83.
Print. In this paper the relationship between degree of lateralization (paw preference)
and noise phobia is evaluated in experiments involving 48 domestic dogs. These
experiments were performed by scoring paw preference in response to food objects
presented in conjunction with recorded, typically anxiety-inducing sounds of
thunderstorms and fireworks. The author asserts dogs without a
significant paw preference were markedly more reactive to the sounds than the dogs with
either a left-paw or right-paw preference. The author hypothesizes results are similar to
findings in other research that demonstrate weaker human hand preferences correlate
with extreme levels of anxiety, suggesting neural mechanisms may be involved in dog
behavioral expressions. This paper may not prove useful to my final project but is
important as a source of insight into canine cognition.
Burghardt G. “Ethics and Animal Consciousness: How Rubber the Ethical Ruler?” Journal Of
Social Issues [serial Online]. September 2009;65(3):499-521. Available From: Academic
Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 12, 2013. According to the author, one of
the major controversies involved in nonhuman animal rights and welfare discussions
involves the level of their awareness or consciousness of ill treatment. The varying ways
in which this issue has been conceptualized, studied, and applied to the lives of other
species throughout history are reviewed, and the difficulties of setting thresholds for
differential ethical and moral concern for various taxa are discussed. A more holistic and
ecological moral vision for valuing other animals is proposed.
Calarco, Matthew. “Emmanuel Levinas; The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights.” Animal
Philosophy: Essential Readings in Continental Thought. London [u.a.: Continuum, 2008.
N. Pag. Print. In this primary text Emmanuel Levinas examines the issues of natural
rights and specifically the paradox of a pure nature leading to rights. Levinas makes
comparisons and contrasts between the human “face” and the animal “face” and cites
higher ethical responsibilities to the human over the “animal.”
Call, Josep, Juliane Bräuer, Juliane Kaminski, and Michael Tomasello. “Domestic Dogs (Canis
Familiaris) Are Sensitive to the Attentional State of Humans.” Journal of Comparative
Psychology 117.3 (2003): 257-63. Print. During experimental trials with twelve domestic
dogs, questions regarding dog behavior under different conditions of observation be
human beings influenced the dogs interactions with accessible food. The researchers
explore questions regarding domestic dogs’ social–cognitive skills and their unique
evolutionary and ontogenetic histories. This research is useful to my investigation of dog
Carlisle-Frank, Pamela, and Josh M. Frank. “Guardians Vs. Owners: Differing Styles With Pets.”
Conference Papers — American Sociological Association (2005): 1-18. SocINDEX with
Full Text. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. A national study conducted in the U. S. compares animal
caregivers who consider themselves “guardians” and those who consider themselves their
pets’ “owners”. Pet owners were surveyed about their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors
regarding their companion animals. The results of this research demonstrate distinct
differences in the way respondents view and interact with their companion animals. This
paper informs aspects of my own research relating to the human/ companion animal bond
Catlaw, Thomas J., and Thomas M. Holland. “Regarding The Animal.” Administrative Theory &
Praxis (M.E. Sharpe) 34.1 (2012): 85-112. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar.
2013. This article outlines several of the limiting and violent consequences for animals
and humans stemming from anthropocentric modes of thought rooted in critical
approaches in public administration. the authors suggest how this process, described as
“radical othering,” connects with other, more widely explored, human-to-human forms of
marginalization in the field. They conclude by outlining personal, disciplinary,
regulatory, and institutional possibilities for imagining a different kind of relationship
with nonhuman animals.
Cavell, Stanley. Philosophy and Animal Life. New York: Columbia UP, 2008. Print. The authors
explore animal rights, human obligation to animals, and the nature of philosophy. This
paper explores the responsibilities of human beings toward nonhuman animals as well as
the animal question as it relates more generally to philosophical skepticism. The author
situates these arguments within the broader context of contemporary continental
philosophy and theory, particularly Jacques Derrida’s work on deconstruction of the nonhuman
“Cesar Millan Online Videos.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2013. Professional dog
trainer and television dog training celebrity Cesar Millan demonstrates and explains his
controversial approach which relies heavily on dominance theory and punitive training
methods. These videos are important to my research as a basis of methodological
comparison as well as serving as examples for making a film about dog training.
“Comprehension Of Human Communicative Signs In Pet Dogs (Canis Familiaris).” Journal Of
Comparative Psychology 115.2 (2001): 122. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Jan.
2013. The performance of family dogs responses to directional cues given by the
experimenter compare responses to pointing and gazing, head-nodding, head turning, and
glancing only at a target. The research compares results from previous studies comparing
chimpanzee and human child responses to a similar test, and suggests dogs, like children,
interpret the test situation as being a form of communication. The author hypothesizes
this similarity is attributable to dogs’ social experience and acquired social routines
gained during time spent in close contact with humans. Unlike apes, and more like human
toddlers, the research suggests dogs are probably more experienced in the recognition of
human gestures.This paper is important to my examination of canine cognition and
learning during interactions with human beings.
Coppinger, Raymond, and Lorna Coppinger. Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin,
Behavior, and Evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2002. Print. Authors Lorna
and Raymond Coppinger explore the processes by which dog breeds have evolved into
their unique shapes and behaviors. The authors show how both genetics and the
environment play equally key roles in dogs’ different abilities. They also reveal that many
people inadvertently harm their canine companions by failing to understand dogs’
biological needs and dispositions. This research is fundamental to my own investigation
into the modern relationship between human beings and domestic dogs through its
exploration of that relationship across time.
Darwin, Charles. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Chicago: University of
Chicago, 1965. Print. This primary text by Charles Darwin, published in 1872, concerns
genetically determined aspects of behavior. Darwin seeks to trace the animal origins of
human characteristics, such as facial gestures and efforts of memory. This book is
unlikely to directly inform my research but may prove useful during the examination of
contemporary research that references Darwin’s work.
Derrida, Jacques, and David Wills. “The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow).”
Critical Inquiry 28.2 (2002): 369. Print. This semi-autobiographical book considers the
multiple roles played by animals in Derrida’s work. Derrida addresses the perceived line
of separation drawn between human and nonhuman animals–reduced collectively to “the
animal.” Derrida analyzes this distinction, noting its appearance in the works of
Descartes, Kant, Heidegger, Lacan, and Levinas. The author explores mythologies of
“man’s dominion over the beasts,” tracing a history of how man has systematically
displaced onto the animal his own failings. The author argues against the modern
industrialized treatment of animals, and this research may serve to inform my own with
regard to animal rights.
Dog Training. Perf. Emily Larlham. YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2013. Dog trainer
Larlham offers many self-produced videos that provide insights into modern dog training
theories and application, specifically implementing “progressive reinforcement” methods
that emphasize rewarding desired actions and responses rather than punishing unwanted
behaviors. These videos provide important contrast to those of Millan, which utilize
punishment-based training methods, and will inform my own final film project.
Dogs and Slaves: Genetics, Exploitation and Morality D. H. M. Brooks Proceedings of the
Aristotelian Society , New Series, Vol. 88, (1987 – 1988), Pp. 31-64 Published By: Wiley
on Behalf of The Aristotelian Society Article Stable URL:
Http://www.jstor.org/stable/4545071 Using domestic dogs as the model, the author
suggests in the future it may be possible to produce nicer people and societies by means
of genetic engineering. The author argues that Kant and the utilitarians cannot provide an
answer to the recently posed question ‘What sort of people should there be?” and states
human moral thinking has, for the most part, busied itself with the concerns of just one
species on one planet. The author describes, morally assesses, and consider the
implications of a possible future slave-owning society that references successful humandomestic
dog relationships as the model.This article is very far removed from my own
arguments; however it provides a strongly contrasting point of view through its
exploration of controversial ethical viewpoints specific to the concepts of owning other
lives of any sort. .
Dogs Decoded. Dir. Dan Child. Nova, Season 38, Episode 4, 2010. PBS. The documentary film
Dogs Decoded reveals the science behind the relationship between humans and their dogs
and investigates new discoveries in genetics that explore the origin of dogs and its impact
on the evolution of human culture. Dogs are revealed as having an uncanny ability to read
and respond to human emotions, and new research on the human-dog relationship reveals
people, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding between
human mothers and their babies. This film explores domestication and the manner in
which domestic dogs may have evolved into creatures very unlike their wild cousin, the
Dr. Yin’s Animal Behavior and Training Videos. Animal Behaviorist. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Jan.
2013. The author is a veterinarian, behaviorist, trainer, lecturer and videographer whose
website provides insight into dog behavioral modification and training using positive
reinforcement methods. Materials, especially video clips, may be used to inform my own
Dugatkin, L. “Play and the Evolution of Fairness: A Game Theory Model.” Behavioural
Processes 60.3 (2003): 209-14. Print. The author builds a game theoretical model
designed to formalize some of the ideas laid out by Bekoff, specific to mammalian social
play. Social play is argued to be a useful behavioral characteristic for research to examine
whether ‘fair’ strategies can in fact be evolutionarily stable. The models presented in this
paper examine fairness at two different developmental stages during an individual’s
development, creating four strategies and resulting general predictions which the author
argues have significant implications for the evolution of fairness. This paper addresses a
model–specifically game theory–which applies to my own assessment of the choices
dogs make when presented with a cue to perform a particular action, and for this reason it
is an important resource for my own research.
“Effective Dog Training – Ian Dunbar.” YouTube. YouTube, 12 Jan. 2009. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.
In this videotaped lecture, noted veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and writer Dr. Ian
Dunbar offers a few of the “million different ways” to train a dog, outlining three simple
strategies. Dunbar, who in his own professional dog training applications straddles a
fence between the use of operant conditioning, or “four quadrant” methods and socialemotional
modes of discipline, is critical of certain systems and uses a somewhat cynical
approach in explaining and comparing them, but his delivery is concise and to the point.
This lecture will inform my research from the perspective of dog training methodologies
and also effective use of video as a medium for disseminating similar intellectual
Fenton A. “Neuroscience and the Problem of Other Animal Minds: Why It May Not Matter So
Much for Neuroethics.” Monist [serial Online]. July 2012;95(3):463-485. Available
From: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 12, 2013. Recent
arguments within the behavioral sciences, including cognitive ethology, comparative
psychology, and ethology, reveal epistemological uncertainties about nonhuman animal
minds. The author claims brain-mental-state identities do not resolve the problem of other
animal minds and suggests a ‘sea change’ in the perceived grounds for human moral
obligations to non-humans, rather than focus upon brain-mental-state identities as the
deciding factor in this continuing issue in applied ethics.
Ferguson, Kennan. “I ♥ My Dog.” Political Theory 32.3 (2004): 373-395. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. This author argues that human love for pet dogs transcends
the human/ non-human animal boundary, with this love overturning assumptions
regarding the role of abstraction in people’s lives, and that such a connection can only be
understood through new ways of understanding the roles of ethics and philosophy. This
essay examines topics that may inform my own research, specifically questions regarding
the primacy of human beings and animals rights, privileges, and legal standing in human
Fox, Michael W. The Dog: Its Domestication and Behavior. New York: Garland STPM, 1978.
Print. The author explores how dogs became domesticated and the impact of that process
on contemporary pet behavior, arguing domestication of dogs has influenced behavior we
see today such as docility, adaptability, and a reduction of instinctive behavior such as
aggression and predation as they continue to manifest in wolves. The author also argues
that domestication led to dogs developing dependence on human beings for survival. This
book is less likely to inform my research than more current texts, such as the book by the
Coppingers, addressing the same issues due to changes in research, especially with regard
to the dog genome, that may render some of this work outdated. The book still may serve
a purpose to my research, offering alternative arguments for dog behavioral adaptations
and bonding with human beings over time.
Fox, Michael W. Inhumane Society: The American Way of Exploiting Animals. New York: St.
Martin’s, 1990. Print. The author argues problems in modern society are mirrored in the
ways human beings treat non-human animals, and that the greatest percentage of animal
suffering is caused by people rather than by nature. The author suggests applying the
principles of basic philosophy to animal life, and argues against purebred pet ownership
and breeding. This book explores both sides of animal rights issues while striving to
maintain a balanced viewpoint. This book is important to the ethical aspects of my own
research, and will be an important resource.
Fox, Rebekah. “Animal Behaviours, Post-human Lives: Everyday Negotiations of the Animal–
human Divide in Pet-keeping.” Social & Cultural Geography 7.4 (2006): 525-37. Print.
This paper explores human categories of ‘animal’ and ‘human’ as they inform people’s
attempts to understand their pets. The author argues that the keeping of companions
animals constructs one of the closest forms of human–animal interaction in contemporary
western society and offers opportunities for the examination of the manner in which
people perceive similarities and differences in pet-human relationships in the course of
their daily lives. Because of these relationships, according to the author, people come to
understand pet animals in ways that extend beyond instinctual behavior. These new ways
of knowing animals allow people to recognize individual subjectivity and ‘personhood’,
while maintaining respect for ‘animalness’ and difference, rather than valuing pets purely
on the basis of their similarity to human beings. The author states “these disruptions of
binary categories provide a model for understanding notions of ‘post-humanism’ in the
lived reality of everyday life.” This paper is important to my own research with regard to
the human-dog bond and underpinning issues specific to personhood.
Gage, M. Geraldine, and Donna Hendrickson Christensen. “Early Adolescents’ Values About
Their Pets.” Journal Of Psychology 124.4 (1990): 417. Academic Search Premier. Web.
29 Jan. 2013. The authors present essays written by adolescent boys and girls (N = 354)
explaining their decisions to save a pet in the event of a fire, and analyze the content of
these essays for underlying value orientations, determining hedonistic utility, a moral
value characteristic of the second of Kohlberg’s (1976) moral development stages, was
the primary value underlying adolescents’ choices. This paper may inform my research in
the topic areas specific to anthropomorphism and relationship development between
people and pet animals.
Griebel, Ulrike, and D. Kimbrough Oller. “Vocabulary Learning in a Yorkshire Terrier: Slow
Mapping of Spoken Words.” PLoS ONE 7.2 (2012): 2-10. Print. This paper shares results
from an experiment performed to validate results from a previous experiment, both
examining “fast mapping”–the learning of new words through a single presentation–in
domestic dogs. This research is important to my own data collection specific to canine
learning and cognition, which features fast mapping as one of its key components.
Grier, Katherine C. Pets in America: A History. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina,
2006. Print. The author examines the social history of pets in America. This work may
not be informative to my own research, due to its emphasis on history, while my own
research is specific to contemporary human-dog relationships. However this book may
provide a better understanding of contemporary issues in the context of the long standing,
culturally evolving bond people have with pets. .
Hanrahan, Rebecca. “Dog Duty.” Society & Animals 15.4 (2007): 379-399. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. The author argues against the position that has been taken in
prior research, specifically that people have duties to their companion animals similar to
the duties they have to their children. This paper argues a creature’s rights rest solely on
the creature’s intrinsic properties, and that a person taking custody of a creature does not
endow the creature with new rights, but rather assumes custodial responsibilities
associated with ensuring that the creature’s rights are protected and preserved. The author
argues human children possess intrinsic properties and rights, especially the right to life,
that companion animals lack, and states pet animals are more akin to human slaves than
human children. This paper informs my own research in the areas that address animal
rights, ethical concerns specific to dog “obedience,” and the issue of pet-animal
Hauser, Marc D. Wild Minds: What Animals Really Think. New York: Henry Holt, 2000. Print.
This book asks questions specific to canine cognition and emotion, using insights from
evolutionary theory and cognitive science to examine animal thought. Hauser treats
animals neither as machines devoid of feeling nor as extensions of humans, but as
independent beings driven by their own complex impulses. The author explore whether
animals have a “theory of mind” and thus can think morally, suspecting they don’t and
can’t, but is open to further experiments by himself and others, arguing part of the
problem is so-called Kuhnian perseverance in which animals, like humans, “have the
greatest difficulty solving those problems that require a theoretical shift away from core
principles.” This is another book that explores issues that directly relate to my own
research and will be beneficial to my exploration of dog emotions and cognizance.
Havas, Randall. “Individuality as Reliability: A Dog Trainer’s Guide to Nietzsche.” Journal of
Nietzsche Studies 43.1 (2012): 18-31. Print. The author explores notions of authority and
obedience in Nietzsche’s work through the perspective of the formal obedience training
of dogs. The author argues that understanding the distinction between predictability and
reliability in the sense that interests Nietzsche, and understanding one’s authority as a
function of obedience, suggests a better understanding of training more generally might
help people understand Nietzsche’s conception of the achievement of intelligibility.
While this paper isn’t intended to address matters literally pertaining to dog training, the
use of dog training as an analogy may prove useful to my research in the area of ethics
and non-human animal personhood.
Hearne, Vicki. Adam’s Task. N.p.: Heinemann, 1987. Print. The author argues human beings in
relationships with non-human animals recognize something more than simple instinctual
responses to them and relate with more intelligence than humans give credit for, and are
capable of developing an understanding of “the good,” a moral code that influences their
motives and actions. The author examines animals through the lens of different
philosophical schools of thought, and also provides insights into her own system of
animal training that contradicts modern animal behavioral research. This research serves
as a good example for my own due to the author similarly presenting original research
based on work as an animal trainer.
Herron, Tom. “The Dog Man: Becoming Animal In Coetzee’s “Disgrace.” Twentieth Century
Literature 51.4 (2005): 467-490. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. Focuses
on the presentation of animals in literature through the lens of Levinas and Coetzee, and
explores a European philosophical tradition that views animals as a thing possessing
neither language nor ethics. This article examines the distinction between the
philosophical animal and the poetic animal, and argues their fragile marginality, paired
with their never-ending struggle for survival, renders non-human animals essential to the
workings of a novel. This paper may or may not inform my own research as I am not
addressing literary animals.
Horowitz, Alexandra C., and Marc Bekoff. “Naturalizing Anthropomorphism: Behavioral
Prompts to Our Humanizing of Animals.” Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of
The Interactions of People & Animals 20.1 (2007): 23-35. Print. The authors seek to
determine what behaviors prompt anthropomorphism–the use of human characteristics to
describe or explain nonhuman animals. Four distinct patterns of dog–human play are
examined and analysed for their relevance to anthropomorphism and the importance of
this developing scientific area.
Horowitz, Alexandra. “Disambiguating the “guilty Look”: Salient Prompts to a Familiar Dog
Behaviour.” Behavioural Processes 81.3 (2009): 447-52. Print. Pet owners commonly
describe their dogs’ behavior anthropomorphically, and this paper examines the
attribution of a “guilty look” displayed by dogs described as feeling guilt for having
performed an action disallowed by their owners. The authors empirically test this
anthropomorphism with results indicating the so-called guilty look is a response to owner
cues, rather than that a display of concern regarding so-called misdeeds. This research
pertains to my own work due to its dealings with domestic dogs interacting with human
Jensen, Per. The Behavioural Biology of Dogs. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI International,
2007. Print. This book examines the behavioral biology of dogs, focusing on canine
evolution and development. Additionally, the book addresses the basic aspects of dog
behavior, and explores the modern dog within the niche of human coexistence, broadly
studying the behavioral aspects of living near human beings, and more narrowly focusing
on the prevention and resolution of dog behavior problems that arise from coexistence
with people. This book very directly addresses many of the same content areas of my
own research, especially behavior problems and issues coexisting with people and may
be useful as a resource.
Jerolmack, Colin. “Animal Archeology: Domestic Pigeons And The Nature-Culture Dialectic.”
Qualitative Sociology Review 3.1 (2007): 74-95. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 29
Jan. 2013. This paper examines domestication of pigeons as a lens for exploring the
dialectical relationship between nature and culture. The author argues animals are
ascribed social meaning and culture is literally inscribed into the physical structure of
animals domesticated for specific purposes. Though not directly about dogs, this paper
may inform my research through its examination of animal domestication and human/
non-human animal relationships.
Kaminski, J. “Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for “Fast Mapping”” Science
304.5677 (2004): 1682-683. Print. This paper examines whether dogs show evidence of
“fast mapping”–forming quick and rough hypotheses about the meaning of new words
after just one exposure. The research sought to determine a domestic dog’s “word
learning” ability through a study of the dog’s ability to retrieve both familiar and novel
items. This paper explores dog cognition, which is a content area important to my own
Kerasote, Ted. Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007. Print.
This book explores the relationship between humans and dogs, exploring the questions
regarding how dogs would live if they were free, and whether they would stay with their
human friends, as posited by one man who allows a dog to make his own decisions.This
book will inform my own research through its examination of issues pertaining to animal
consciousness and leadership, as well as the origins of the human-dog relationship
Knight, Sarah, and Harold Herzog. “All Creatures Great And Small: New Perspectives On
Psychology And Human–Animal Interactions.” Journal Of Social Issues 65.3 (2009):
451-461. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. This paper considers the morally
significant, intense, enduring, and pervasive bond between humans and nonhuman
animals through an exploration of current perspectives on both social and psychological
aspects of human–animal interactions. The articles focus on three main themes that
inform my own research—human attitudes regarding the use of other species, the effects
of relationships with companion animals on human health and well-being, and the ethical
and policy implications of human interactions with other species.
Konecki, Krzysztof T. “Pets Of Konrad Lorenz. Theorizing In The Social World Of Pet
Owners.” Qualitative Sociology Review 3.1 (2007): 110-127. SocINDEX with Full Text.
Web. 29 Jan. 2013. This article explores ethologist Konrad Lorenz’ lines of
argumentation and categories of pet perception, reconstructed from his personal
recollections. The author tends to anthropomorphise companion animal behavior, despite
arguing against “sentimental anthropomorphisation” in his writing. Konrad Lorenz is
argued to represent the “cult of nature” approach which, in the opinion of his opponents,
has a great deal in common with the Nazi doctrine. This paper supports my research
through its examination of anthropomorphism.
Konopka, Adam. “Ecological Goods That Obligate: A Husserlian Approach.” Environmental
Ethics 31.3 (2009): 245-262. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. This paper
argues that phenomenological resources can be used to develop a non-anthropocentric
theory of ecological values that gives rise to an obligation for moral agents. According to
the author, there is logical space in Edmund Husserl’s early theory of value that is
inclusive of nonhuman animals and vegetation. Rather than judging the “rightness” or
“wrongness” of actions on the law-based and single-rule philosophical theories of
normativity found in modem humanism, this paper explores ecological obligation in light
of a communal good. This work informs my own research specific to questions about
humans and ethical interactions with non-human animals.
Kubinyi, Enikõ, Ádám Miklós, József Topál, and Csányi Vilmos. “Dogs (Canis Familiaris)
Learn From Their Owners via Observation in a Manipulation Task.” Journal of
Comparative Psychology 117.2 (2003): 156-66. Print. This paper uses an experiment in
which dogs had to solve a task after witnessing a demonstration by their owners, to see if
dogs demonstrate social learning in response to a human model or whether they develop
their own respective resolutions. Results suggest human instruction through
demonstration plays only a small role. This research relates strongly to my own
investigation of dog learning and the importance of human non-verbal cues as an
influence on dog responses to human handlers..
Luce, Robert Duncan., and Howard Raiffa. Games and Decisions: Introduction and Critical
Survey. New York, Ny: John Wiley & Sons, 1957. Print. This book provides an
introduction to game theory and related disciplines, primarily as applied to the social
sciences, introducing utility theory, 2-person zero-sum games, 2-person non-zero-sum
games, n-person games, and individual and group decision-making. I may use game
theory models to explain my future research data, and this information may also serve to
inform my current capstone research.
Lévinas, Emmanuel. Entre Nous: On Thinking-of-the-other. New York: Columbia UP, 1998.
Print. This book is a collection of essays and interviews featuring twentieth century
philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, published a few years before his death, discussing issues
pertaining to suffering and responsibility. The main theme of these works is that
philosophy begins with ethics, and ethics begin in the “face of the other.”
Macpherson, Krista, and William A. Roberts. “Do Dogs (Canis Familiaris) Seek Help in an
Emergency?” Journal of Comparative Psychology 120.2 (2006): 113-19. Print. This
paper examines whether dogs recognize an emergency and understand the need to seek
help from a bystander. Dogs, whose owners feigned heart attacks in a field, were video
taped as part of an experiment to determine whether they understand the nature of the
emergency or the need to obtain help, with results indicating they did not.
“Marc Bekoff – Animal Behavior and Emotions.” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Mar. 2009. Web. 02
Jan. 2013. The author, an expert in animal cognition and ethology, shares insights based
on over 30 years researching and teaching about the importance of understanding animal
emotions. New scientific data and stories are presented in this video presentation which
prods viewers to look at animals in new, more open-minded ways.
Martinelli, Dario. “Anthropocentrism As A Social Phenomenon: Semiotic And Ethical
Implications.” Social Semiotics 18.1 (2008): 79-99. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12
Mar. 2013. Aesthetically and culturally opposite extremes of perception and display of
“the product animal” are examined in this paper. Common denominators between various
instances of the human-animal relationship, and the idea of otherness as applied to the
human-other animal relationship, are explored. Different typologies and classifications of
anthropocentric attitudes are considered as a social phenomenon and as the result of a
semiotic process. This paper may inform my research in the areas of the human/ nonhuman
animal bond and personhood.
McHugh, Susan. “Literary Animal Agents.” PMLA: Publications Of The Modern Language
Association Of America 124.2 (2009): 487-495. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar.
2013. The author discusses the study of animals in literature as well as how the use of
animals, as literary metaphors, promotes anthropocentrism. The relationship between
animal studies and literary critique and the role of animals as agents of cultural
production are discussed. This paper may reinforce my own research in the area of
animal meanings within human culture.
McShane, Katie. “Neo-sentimentalism And Environmental Ethics.” Environmental Ethics 33.1
(2011): 5-23. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. This paper explores a neosentimentalist
understanding of what intrinsic value might be and how it exists in the
natural world. It also considers the extent to which value is an essentially anthropocentric
concept, and how human understanding of value could be compatible with both
naturalism and normativity.
Michael Tomasello, Et Al. “The Domestication Of Social Cognition In Dogs.” Science 298.5598
(2002): 1634. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. Dogs are shown to be more
capable than great apes at performing several tasks during experiments involving the use
of human communicative signals to indicate hidden food. The authors argue these
findings suggest domestic dogs have been selected for a set of social-cognitive abilities
that facilitate unique abilities to communicate with human beings.
Michel, George F. “Behavioral Science, Engineering, And Poetry Revisited.” Journal Of
Comparative Psychology 124.3 (2010): 336-441. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12
Mar. 2013. This paper examines two orientations of research regarding the world of
animals and the world of humans, the natural history orientation, and the anthropocentric
orientation. This paper may be useful to my own research with regard to
Miklósi, Áam, Péter Pongrácz, Gabriella Lakatos, Jázsef Topál, and Vilmos Csányi. “A
Comparative Study of the Use of Visual Communicative Signals in Interactions Between
Dogs (Canis Familiaris) and Humans and Cats (Felis Catus) and Humans.” Journal of
Comparative Psychology 119.2 (2005): 179-86. Print. The authors examine and compare
the ability of dogs and cats to use human pointing gestures in an object-choice task. In
response to signal gestures, both dogs and cats were similarly able to find hidden food. In
a subsequent experiment, food was hidden out of the subjects’ reach, in order to
determine whether they could draw a naive owner’s attention to the hiding place. Results
suggest species-specific differences may cause varying results in animals signaling
behaviors toward human handlers. This research may be important to my own because it
explores animal cognition, ability to demonstrate intention,and interspecies
Miklósi, Ádám. Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Print. This
book gathers and synthesizes primary research literature on dog behavior, evolution, and
cognition. The author presents a new ecological approach to the understanding of dog
behavior that illustrates dogs are able to perform as subjects of comprehensive scientific
study without having to be confined within a laboratory environment. This book is of
relevance to my own research as a general reference pertaining to dog research and
cognition, and also, thanks to its comprehensive bibliography, may prove useful in
directing me toward other related sources.
Miller, H. C., K. F. Pattison, C. N. DeWall, R. Rayburn-Reeves, and T. R. Zentall. “Self-Control
Without a “Self”?: Common Self-Control Processes in Humans and Dogs.” Psychological
Science 21.4 (2010): 534-38. Print. The authors test the hypothesis available blood
glucose impacts the ability of dogs to exert self-control.. Findings support the hypothesis
that dog self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy resource. This research
reinforces the importance of understanding biological processes as a basis for behavior
and performance and may prove useful to some aspects of my own research, since it deals
with self control issues as an aspect of dog training.
Miller, Pat. “Whole Dog Journal.” Young Dogs Can Learn From Older Well-Behaved Dogs.
N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2013. This paper explores the domestic dog’s social dependency,
arguing this characteristic makes dogs particularly aware of the behavior of others. This
awareness, in turn, informs dog behavior and learning through social interactions with
others. The author asks whether dog social learning occurs through active participation or
purely through observation without participation.
Mitchell, Robert W., and Mark Hamm. “The Interpretation of Animal Psychology:
Anthropomorphism or Behavior Reading?” Behaviour 134.3 (1997): 173-204. Print. The
authors argue an ongoing problem in the study of behavior has been the influence of
anthropomorphism on psychological terminology. According to the authors, the
psychological terms used to describe observed animal behavior are the foundation for
deeper inquiry into a given organism’s psychological abilities. They suggest calling such
terms ‘anthropomorphic’ inaccurately implies these terms are extrapolated from human
behavior, when research indicates they actually appear to be applicable to particular
behavior-in-context, independent of which species is behaving in the given manner. This
paper does not relate heavily to my own work, but because it addresses
anthropomorphism from a different perspective I am keeping it as a possible source.
Mullin, Molly H. “Mirrors and Windows: Sociocultural Studies of Human-Animal
Relationships.” – Annual Review of Anthropology, 28(1):201. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan.
2013. This paper explores questions about the ways human-animal relationships are
examined and understood for their meanings specific to human beings. The author
considers the interdisciplinary exchange between key trends in the history of social
analysis and the ways that animal studies have become part of that discourse. Some
aspects of this discourse, as presented in this paper, directly engage moral and political
concerns about animals and may inform my own research.
Newmyer, Stephen Thomas. Animals, Rights, and Reason in Plutarch and Modern Ethics. New
York: Routledge, 2006. Print. The author explores Plutarch’s place, as expressed through
three animal-related treatises, in the argument for animal rationality and sentience. The
author argues Plutarch’s position in this discourse set him apart from ancient anti-animal
thinkers such as the stoics, and foreshadows later works of major modern animal rights
philosophers such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan. This paper may prove informative to
my own research, which carefully explores issues of ethics pertaining to the training of
Nippak, Pria M. D., Alan D. F. Chan, Zachariah Campbell, Bruce Muggenburg, Elizabeth Head,
Candace J. Ikeda-Douglas, Heather Murphey, Carl W. Cotman, and Norton W. Milgram.
“Response Latency in Canis Familiaris: Mental Ability or Mental Strategy?” Behavioral
Neuroscience 117.5 (2003): 1066-075. Print. The abstract from this paper states “Animal
studies of cognitive aging typically use measures of response accuracy (RA) to evaluate
cognitive function, which declines with age. Human aging studies, by contrast, frequently
measure response latency (RL), with faster responses being indicative of superior
performance. To examine the influence of age on RL in an animal model, the authors
assessed RA with RL in young and aged beagle dogs (Canis familiaris) tested on a 3-
component delayed nonmatching-to-position task, which comprised 3 subtests. Young
dogs displayed significantly slower RLs and higher RAs and showed RL slowing with
greater complexity, compared with aged dogs. In addition, the slower responding young
dogs made fewer errors. Thus, RL appears to reflect the learning strategy applied, rather
than the level of mental ability.” I have annotated using the authors’ abstract due to the
complex nature of the paper and the fact it directly and importantly informs my own
research specific to response latency.
Oliver K. “Animal Ethics: Toward an Ethics of Responsiveness. Research In Phenomenology.”
[Serial Online]. June 2010;40(2):267-280. Available From: Academic Search Premier,
Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 12, 2013. The author explores concepts of animal, human,
and rights as part of a philosophical tradition that trades on foreclosing the animal,
animality, and animals. The author investigates the relationship between human and
nonhuman animals, rather than looking to qualities or capacities that make animals the
same as or different from humans. The author argues human ethical obligations to
animals based on their similarities to human beings reinforces the type of humanism that
leads to treating animals—and other people—as subordinates. The author suggests ethics
itself is transformed by considering animals.This work is important to the ethical
considerations of my own research.
One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss and Betrayal. HBO: : Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 01
Jan. 2013. This documentary film exposes unpleasant truths about dog ownership, care
and commerce through a three-part examination of America’s complex relationship with
dogs. In the opening segment, “Part One – Fear”, a pet owner with a biting dog he is
deeply committed to is taken to court after a child is harmed by his dog. In “Part Two –
Loss”, the loss of beloved pet is examined. “Part Three – Betrayal” explores issues of
overpopulation, shelters, rescuing, spaying and neutering. This film provides another
example of a documentary film examining a related topic, and also offers insights into
aspects of my own research on domestic dogs in relationship with contemporary
Page, Jake. Dogs: A Natural History. New York, NY: Smithsonian /Collins, 2007. Print. The
author examines wild canids as a basis for and explanation of the newest theory of how
dogs were domesticated. The author describes a dog’s development from puppyhood on
with a special emphasis on the emotional life and intelligence of dogs.This book may be
useful to my own research because it offers a broad look at dog cognitive abilities.
Pavlov, Ivan P. “Conditioned Reflexes: An Investigation of Physiological Activity in the
Cerebral Cortex.” Classics in the History of Psychology. Christopher D. Green York
University, Toronto, Ontario, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. The classic experiments
conducted by Ivan Pavlov examine dog behavior as a basis for research into
physiological activity in the cerebral cortex. Pavlov’s use of dogs as research subjects
offers insights into studies upon which modern understanding of classical conditioning as
a dog training process are based. This research directly informs my exploration of dog
training methodologies and canine cognition.
Plant, Bob. “Welcoming Dogs: Levinas And ‘The Animal’ Question.” Philosophy & Social
Criticism 37.1 (2011): 49-71. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. According
to the author, philosopher Emmanuel Levinas has argued western philosophy has
routinely ‘assimilated every Other into the Same’ while neglecting the ethical
significance of other human beings in their vulnerable, embodied singularity. The author
argues Levinas’ recasting of ethics as ‘first philosophy’ ignores his own relative disregard
for non-human animals. The author examines a number of Levinas’ anthropomorphic
prejudices including the use of the term ‘the animal’ used in the general singular, despite
a more positive evaluation of animality specific to a dog named Bobby.) This paper
examines a primary text by Levinas that I am also citing, and is useful to my research as
another ethical lens for examining the human/ non-human animal bond.
Pongracz, Peter, Adam Miklosi, Katalin Timar-Geng, and Vilmos Csanyi. “Preference for
Copying Unambiguous Demonstrations in Dogs (Canis Familiaris).” Journal of
Comparative Psychology 117.3 (2003): 337-43. Print. The authors examine the effect of
the direction of the demonstrated detour and the dogs’ detouring experience around a Vshaped
fence. They also explore the influence of dogs’ trial-and-error experiences on
subsequent detours, as well as the interactions between individual experience and socially
provided information. This research studies canine cognition and behavioral interactions
with human beings, and should prove useful because it relates to my own research
dealing with the same issues.
Pongrácz, Peter. “Chapter 3: Social Learning in Dogs.” Canine Ergonomics: The Science of
Working Dogs. Ed. William S. Helton. Boca Raton: CRC/Taylor & Francis, 2009. 43-61.
Print. The authors describe social learning as an act where there is a demonstrator who
performs an action, with at least one observer witnessing this action, who later will do
something similar to what they have observed which, without demonstration, would be
less similar. The authors argue that dogs are excellent subjects for examining both
interspecific and within-species social learning. The authors state that dogs are able to use
social information provided by humans in problem solving situations because dogs have a
special sort of receptivity to human behavior cues. This material informs my own
research specific to canine cognition and learning, as well as examines aspects of the
human/ dog bond in a learning/ training context.
Pongrácz, Peter, Petra Bánhegyi, and Adam Miklósi. “When Rank Counts – Dominant Dogs
Learn Better from a Human Demonstrator in a Two-action Test.” Behaviour 149.1
(2012): 111-32. Print. This paper examines dogs’ ability to complete problem-solving
tasks in response to demonstrations by human demonstrators, and also how these results
are altered when influenced by the social rank of the dog among conspecific companions.
Results indicate dominant dogs solved the task significantly more often than subordinate
dogs did. This experiment demonstrates that effects of social rank should be taken into
account when social learning in dogs is being studied and tested, because dominant and
subordinate dogs perform differently after observing a demonstrator. this paper strongly
and directly relates to my own research and should factor strongly as one of my cited
Pongrácz, Péter, Ádám Miklósi, Katalin Timár-Geng, and Vilmos Csányi. “Verbal Attention
Getting as a Key Factor in Social Learning Between Dog (Canis Familiaris) and Human.”
Journal of Comparative Psychology 118.4 (2004): 375-83. Print. This paper seeks to
understand how pet dogs are able to learn a directed detour through human demonstration
supported by constant verbal communication as compared with instructive examples
provided by an unfamiliar dog as demonstrator. Results indicated the unfamiliar dog was
as efficient as the unfamiliar experimenter. The experiments indicate communicative
context with humans is needed in order for effective interspecific social learning to take
place. This is another paper that strongly informs my own research pertaining to
interspecific communication between human beings and domestic dogs in a training
Porter, Pete. “My Dog, My Self; Or Dogs-R-Us.” Society & Animals 18.3 (2010): 319-323.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. This paper critiques dog films that portray
the pervasive American stereotypes of pet dogs as surrogate children that model human
behavior. The films reviewed demonstrate the use of anthropomorphism in media
depictions of nonhuman animals, especially dogs. The author argues these media
portrayals of pampering and permissiveness are examples of care ethics gone awry that
undermine applications of empathic training that could enable dogs to thrive as canines in
a human-dominated world.This paper hits the nail on the head, so to speak, as far as my
own research goes, and will be useful in supporting my own arguments about dog
training and the undermining impacts of anthropomorphism.
Range, F., L. Horn, Z. Viranyi, and L. Huber. “From the Cover: The Absence of Reward Induces
Inequity Aversion in Dogs.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.1
(2009): 340-45. Print. This research examines whether domestic dogs will refuse to
participate in cooperative problem-solving tasks if they witness another dog receiving a
more attractive reward for the same effort. Dogs were evaluated for their responses with
results showing that the presence of a second dog receiving food caused a change in the
subjects’ behavior, while a second dog not receiving food did not. The authors argue dogs
show at least a primitive level of inequity aversion, which may underpin a more elaborate
sensitivity to efforts and payoffs of joint interactions. This research is valuable to my own
because it examines similar questions regarding dog cognition and cooperation, as well as
motivation and undermining pressures that influence cued performance.
“Research with Dogs.” Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology. The Max
Planck Institute, n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2013. <http://www.eva.mpg.de/psycho/dogcognition.php>.
The Max Planck Institute’s Department of Developmental and
Comparative Psychology investigates the evolution of cognitive and social-cognitive
processes The comparative approach includes the study of a variety of animal species
including the domestic dog. Research examines questions pertaining to dogs’ cognitive
abilities, dogs’ sensitivity to the attentional state of humans, and dogs’ understanding of
communicative cues. This website shares a great deal of ongoing research that addresses
a number of questions I have regarding my own research into dog cognition and
Rose, Deborah Bird. Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction. Charlottesville, VA: University
of Virginia, 2011. Print. The author explores what constitutes an ethical relationship with
nonhuman others in the form of a dialogue between science and the humanities through
the lens of perceived, looming mass extinction. The author focuses upon the endangered
dingo of Australia, a species facing extinction in response to pressures from human
beings, citing the dingo as evidence of the purportedly likely fate of countless other
animal and plant species. The author questions whether humans are capable of loving and
caring for the animals and plants that are disappearing in a cascade of extinctions. This
research provides insights into the ethical dimensions of the human/ non-human animal
relationship and asks questions important to philosophical elements of my own research.
Rugaas, Turid. On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals. Wenatchee, WA: Dogwise Pub.,
2006. Print. The author, a dog trainer and behaviorist, explains calming signals dogs use
to communicate with one another to avoid conflict, invite play, and communicate a wide
range of information. The author offers suggestions regarding ways people might use this
knowledge to more effectively interact with domestic dogs, such as the identification of
situations that are stressful to dogs in order to resolve or avoid them and the rehabilitation
of dogs that have lost the ability to read or give calming signals. This book may be useful
for my research pertaining to dog behavior and body language as well as inter-species
Scheider, Linda. The Command Hypothesis Versus the Information Hypothesis: How Do
Domestic Dogs (Canis Familiaris) Comprehend the Human Pointing Gesture? Diss.
Berlin University, 2011. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 1 Jan. 2013. <http://www.diss.fuberlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000009851/Dissertati
on_Linda_Scheider.pdf?hosts=>. The author of this thesis discusses the social cognitive
abilities of domestic dogs through the investigation of the mechanism by which dogs
comprehend human forms of communication. This paper examines evidence for and
against two ways dogs are thought to use human communication. The first is the
command hypothesis, which is based on the assumption that dogs perceive human
pointing gestures as instructions. The second is the information hypothesis, which states
that dogs perceive the pointing gesture as pure information given to inform them about
some entity in the environment.This paper relates to my research inquiries into dog
cognition and communication, especially in response to cues from human handlers.
Schwab, Christine, and Ludwig Huber. “Obey or Not Obey? Dogs (Canis Familiaris) Behave
Differently in Response to Attentional States of Their Owners.” Journal of Comparative
Psychology 120.3 (2006): 169-75. Print. This research asks whether dogs behave
differently depending on whether their owners are paying attention to them after being
cued to lie down. Results, based on observable behavioral cues such as eye contact and
eye, head, and body orientation, indicate dogs are aware of their owners’ attentional
states. This is one of the more important sources I have found for my own research, as it
involves a similar experiment involving multiple dogs being given a task specific to lying
down when cued. It is different in that is examines whether dogs stay under observation,
while my research asks a different question.
Schwartz, Marion. A History of Dogs in the Early Americas. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1997.
Print. The author investigates views about dogs in a wide range of native societies in
North and South America, discussing the early domestication of the dog as well as how
hunting and gathering peoples relied on dogs to help with the hunt and to transport food
and goods. The author provides details about the ways the dog was portrayed and the
various meanings attributed to it by different cultures from different regions and time
periods in the Americas. This book provides interesting cultural insights into historical
interactions between dogs and people in the Americas and informs my own research from
an ethical and historical perspective.
Serpell, James A. “Having Our Dogs And Eating Them Too: Why Animals Are A Social Issue.”
Journal Of Social Issues 65.3 (2009): 633-644. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 29 Jan.
2013. According to Serpell, animals occupy an intermediate boundary zone between the
worlds of people and “things.” This ambiguity allows human beings to exploit animals
with relative impunity, while at the same time assigning some with the status of pseudohuman
social partners or even kin. Serpell examines fundamental questions regarding
what it means to be “human” and whether human moral responsibilities should include
Serpell, James Andrew. In the Company of Animals. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996. Print.
The author studies human attitudes to the natural world, contrasting the way people love
some animal species while ruthlessly exploiting others.The author argues animal
companionship can positively influence human health and provide new ways to
understand certain moral contradictions inherent in human treatment of non-human
animals and nature. This book encompasses aspects of history, anthropology, and animal
and human psychology, providing insights into people’s relationships with other living
beings. The author is a major figure within the field of anthrozoology and addresses
several topics important to my research.
Shapiro, Kenneth, and Margo DeMello. “The State Of Human-Animal Studies.” Society &
Animals 18.3 (2010): 307-318. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. The
authors look at trends in the field of human-animal studies (HAS) including the
increasing popularity of animal-assisted therapy programs, the rise of new fields like
trans-species psychology and critical animal studies, and the importance of animal
welfare science. They also explore problems that continue to face the field, including the
conservative culture of universities, the interdisciplinary nature of the field, the current
economic crisis, and general anthropocentrism within academia. The paper concludes
with a discussion about the tension between the scholarly role and the role of animal
advocate, and offers some suggestions for HAS to continue to grow.
Soproni, Krisztina, Adám Miklósi, József Topál, and Vilmos Csányi. “Comprehension of Human
Communicative Signs in Pet Dogs (Canis Familiaris).” Journal of Comparative
Psychology 115.2 (2001): 122-26. Print. The authors examine the responses of family
dogs to different types of directional human gestural cues, based on an earlier study that
compared the performance of dogs and chimpanzees to that of human children. The
authors argue that dogs’ behavior in this test situation is more similar to that observed
with children, in contrast to chimpanzees’ behavior and hypothesize that, like children,
dogs interpret the situation as being communicative. This study informs my research
from the perspectives of canine cognition and learning as well as human/ dog
Sorabji, Richard. Animal Minds and Human Morals: The Origins of the Western Debate. Ithaca,
NY: Cornell UP, 1993. Print. The author traces the roots of human thinking about
animals back to Aristotelian and Stoic beliefs, citing a recurrent theme in ancient
philosophy of mind and arguing that today’s controversies about animal rights represent
only the most recent chapter in long-standing debates. The author focuses on the
significance of ritual sacrifice and the eating of meat while exploring religious contexts
of the treatment of animals in ancient Greece and in medieval Western Christendom. The
author also considers contemporary defenses of animal rights, shedding new light on
traditional arguments surrounding the status of animals as well as current moral
dilemmas. This book informs my own research through its investigation of ancient
philosophy and animal ethics pertaining to human relationships with other species.
Steiner, Gary. Anthropocentrism and Its Discontents: The Moral Status Animals in the History of
Western Philosophy. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, 2005. Print. The author
provides a comprehensive examination of views of animals in the history of Western
philosophy, from Homeric Greece to the twentieth century, arguing that contemporary
scholars have shown increasing interest in animal experiences such as consciousness,
self-awareness, intention, deliberation, and moral agency in terms of human mental
capacities. The author cites a shift from behavioral to cognitive ethology as the driving
force recent scholarly attempts to affirm the essential similarities human beings and
animals.This book is important to my own research in the areas of ethics and the human/
non-human animal bond.
Thompson, P. B. “Animal Ethics and Public Expectations: The North American Outlook.”
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 37.1 (2010): 13-21. Print. The author explores
issues pertaining to public attitudes toward animal welfare as a philosophical issue,
considering two sides of a debate reflecting traditions of ethical thinking with a history
dating back to ancient times. The author argues a view emphasizing animal well-being is
in conflict with ethological views that conceive of what is natural for an animal of a given
“Through a Dog’s Eyes.” PBS. PBS, N.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. This documentary film explores
service dogs, animals trained to aid people with disabilities. Jennifer Arnold, founder of
Canine Assistants, explains her teaching methods and the life altering impact service
dogs have on their recipients and their families. Ádám Miklósi, Ph.D., one of the world’s
foremost experts in dog cognition, discusses the science behind Jennifer’s training
philosophy. The film examines the puppy-rearing and training process specific to future
service dogs, and also views several examples of the emotionally intense process of
matching people with their dogs.
Thurston, Mary Elizabeth. The Lost History of the Canine Race: Our 15,000-year Love Affair
with Dogs. New York: Avon, 1997. Print. The author provides a comprehensive historical
account citing ancient artifacts, engravings, archival documents and historical and
contemporary photographs to explain the evolution of the human-dog relationship
throughout the ages. This book examines topics that are important to my own research,
specifically in the areas of the history of dog domestication and the human/ domestic dog
Tough Love – A Meditation on Dominance and Dogs. An Anchorhold Films Production. N.p.,
n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2013. Chad Montrie, history professor and documentary filmmaker,
debunks dominance-based training as the best method for educating family pets.
According to the filmmaker, many dog owners believe they are supposed to use physical
restraint and punishment in order to establish themselves as the dominant ‘alpha dog’ in
relation to their pets. This film seeks to answer questions regarding the conflict between
feelings of respect and love with the demand for submission, and asks whether
dominance is justified by the nature of dogs, based on biological facts and evolutionary
history, while confronting the disconnect between accepted science and popular practice.
This film informs my own research both from the perspective of dog training
methodologies and as an example of a documentary film addressing similar questions.
Udell, Monique A. R., Robson F. Giglio, and Clive D. L. Wynne. “Domestic Dogs (Canis
Familiaris) Use Human Gestures but Not Nonhuman Tokens to Find Hidden Food.”
Journal of Comparative Psychology 122.1 (2008): 84-93. Print. The authors compare
domestic dogs’ ability to use human gestures versus nonhuman cues in an object choice
paradigm.The authors address the importance of the human familiarity on dogs’ success
in using cues. This research also examines the role of the human as cue-giver, and the
impact of variations in the experimenter’s attentional state during cue presentation. The
authors argue results indicate dogs are more sensitive to human cues than equivalent
nonhuman cues, and that the size of the cue is a critical element in determining dogs’
success in following it. This research pertains to my examination of the human/ dog bond
and its effects upon interspecies communication.
Udell, Monique A.R, and C.D.L Wynne. “A Review of Domestic Dogs’ (Canis Familiaris)
Human-Like Behaviors: Or Why Behavior Analysts Should Stop Worrying and Love
Their Dogs.” Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 89.2 (2008): 247-61.
Print. According to the authors, despite domesticated dogs having shared a common
environment with humans for over ten thousand years, dog behavior has only recently
become a subject of scientific research. The authors argue most of this research has a
basis in human cognitive psychology and suggests dogs are more human-like than any
other species, including nonhuman primates. The authors suggest behavior analysts
should contribute to the study of dog behavior, in order to add objective behavioral
analyses of experimental data and to effectively integrate this new knowledge into
applied work with dogs. This article directly informs my own research in ares of both dog
cognition and applied behavioral training.
Varner, Gary. “Speciesism And Reverse Speciesism.” Ethics, Policy & Environment 14.2
(2011): 171-173. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. In this paper, the author
discusses speciesism and reverse speciesism through the exploration D. Schmidtz
argument regarding anthropocentrism. Schmidtz argues that proper respect to humans
and animals requires axiological anthropocentrism. The author finds P. Singer’s argument
regarding speciesism to be more fundamental and less controversial because it follows
the principle of universality compared to the argument of Schmidtz.
Wang, Xiaoming, Richard H. Tedford, and Mauricio Antón. Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and
Evolutionary History. New York: Columbia UP, 2008. Print. The authors explore the
evolutionary history of the family Canidae and present a detailed examination of the
origin and evolution of canids over the past 40 million years. The authors especially
focus upon fossil records from North America, which show diverse adaptations to various
environments as well as different predatory specializations. This book is important to my
research specific to canine evolution and the underpinnings of dogs’ earliest interactions
with human beings, and also provides a basis for understanding modern human/ canine
relationships through an evolutionary lens.
Wright, Hannah F., Daniel S. Mills, and Petra M.J. Pollux. “Development and Validation of a
Psychometric Tool for Assessing Impulsivity in the Domestic Dog (Canis Familiaris).”
International Journal of Comparative Psychology 24.2 (2011): 210-25. Print. According
to the authors, this research was conducted in order to develop a valid tool for the
assessment and exploration of the pervasive effects of impulsivity on behavior in dogs.
While the specific data collected is unlikely to inform my own research, this paper
provides insight into dog research methods for data collection and analysis.
Wyre, Jen. “Beyond Pets: Exploring Relational Perspectives Of Petness.” Canadian Journal Of
Sociology 34.4 (2009): 1033-1063. Academic Search Premier. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. The
author examines prior research that situates pets in humans’ lives while taking for for
granted pets are certain animals. This paper explores the possibility that the state, quality,
or conditions under which a pet is constituted arise from social relations and the treatment
of objects. The author argues there is no essential “petness” to anything and that a “pet” is
a social construct and the product of the investment of human emotion into objects. The
author concludes with some discussion of how pet relations can be understood in the
context of late capitalism.