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Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs

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The bestselling author of "When Elephants Weep" provides surprising insights into the delightful and curious behavior of canines. Like the dogs he loves, Masson's writing--drawn from myth and literature, scientific studies and true accounts--will capture readers with its playful, mysterious, and serious sides. The bestselling author of "When Elephants Weep" provides surprising insights into the delightful and curious behavior of canines. Like the dogs he loves, Masson's writing--drawn from myth and literature, scientific studies and true accounts--will capture readers with its playful, mysterious, and serious sides.


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The bestselling author of "When Elephants Weep" provides surprising insights into the delightful and curious behavior of canines. Like the dogs he loves, Masson's writing--drawn from myth and literature, scientific studies and true accounts--will capture readers with its playful, mysterious, and serious sides. The bestselling author of "When Elephants Weep" provides surprising insights into the delightful and curious behavior of canines. Like the dogs he loves, Masson's writing--drawn from myth and literature, scientific studies and true accounts--will capture readers with its playful, mysterious, and serious sides.

30 review for Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Great read! I liked when he mentioned his dog looking at him with a "long, rueful gaze," and when he wrote that "dogs return love so fiercely, so openly, so unambivalently" (that it's hard not to return the sentiment). I've seen lot's of emotion in dogs, I feel like sometimes they are more emotional than humans. However he claims that "to dogs, smelling and feeling are essentially the same. and to smell is to feel an emotion." Instead of the 5 million olfactory cells that humans have, dogs have Great read! I liked when he mentioned his dog looking at him with a "long, rueful gaze," and when he wrote that "dogs return love so fiercely, so openly, so unambivalently" (that it's hard not to return the sentiment). I've seen lot's of emotion in dogs, I feel like sometimes they are more emotional than humans. However he claims that "to dogs, smelling and feeling are essentially the same. and to smell is to feel an emotion." Instead of the 5 million olfactory cells that humans have, dogs have 200 million, so therefore their experience of smelling is more like an emotion than a sense. I'm glad I will be able to relate to my dog because I have often thought that if I had to give up a sense I would give up taste not smell. I really like smell. Weird I know. Most people I talk to would give up smell. I liked this quote too: "Dogs don't lie to you about how they feel because they cannot lie about their feelings. A dog is utter sincere. It cannot pretend. Not an ounce of deceit." Super psyched for this many-year dream of becoming a dog owner to come true in a few weeks!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ninya Ignacio

    A book of knowledge about the feelings and love of dogs! The best dog book I've read! Perhaps the best book Jeffrey Masson has ever written! Dog-owners should read this and also those that do not appreciate dogs as pets or as important as they should really be. I love my dogs much more now since I appreciate all that they do and I know their deep thoughts, feelings, and anxieties! Dogs don't think like humans, but they do not think like "real" animals. "A dog is the only thing on earth that love A book of knowledge about the feelings and love of dogs! The best dog book I've read! Perhaps the best book Jeffrey Masson has ever written! Dog-owners should read this and also those that do not appreciate dogs as pets or as important as they should really be. I love my dogs much more now since I appreciate all that they do and I know their deep thoughts, feelings, and anxieties! Dogs don't think like humans, but they do not think like "real" animals. "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself." - Josh Billings

  3. 4 out of 5

    LizG

    I appreciate that the author set out to explore the emotional, higher consciousness of dogs in defiance of the traditional, rather cold-hearted "mere beast" stance science typically takes, but he waxes overly sentimental about his own pack. His position is that when you live with and really observe them, you recognize a deeper relationship with dogs. Then he dismisses cats the way he accuses typical scientists of dismissing dogs! I lived with two cats for 12 years. They were communicative, social I appreciate that the author set out to explore the emotional, higher consciousness of dogs in defiance of the traditional, rather cold-hearted "mere beast" stance science typically takes, but he waxes overly sentimental about his own pack. His position is that when you live with and really observe them, you recognize a deeper relationship with dogs. Then he dismisses cats the way he accuses typical scientists of dismissing dogs! I lived with two cats for 12 years. They were communicative, social, affectionate, sensitive to my emotions, and expressive of their own. I have countless stories with which I won't bore you, but I can unequivocally state the cats are not independent and aloof, and neither are their owners. One particularly offensive comment by the author, that "cat people" are unable to accept the unconditional love of dogs, implies that anyone who does not love dogs is somehow flawed. Personally, I've always wondered if men love dogs so dearly because their dogs will adore them no matter how poorly they treat the human beings around them. "Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." - Ann Landers "The dog is a yes-animal, very popular with people who cannot afford a yes-man." - Robertson Davies

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This was a very interesting book. I read it on the heels of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's The Hidden Life of Dogs, which Masson cited on one of the very first pages of the book. I actually started this one first, but then when I hit that reference, read Thomas's book first. In general, I think Thomas was more successful than Masson, perhaps because she attempted less. A former psychoanalyst, with a long list of liberal arts accomplishments, Masson tries to interpret perhaps a bit too much. While T This was a very interesting book. I read it on the heels of Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's The Hidden Life of Dogs, which Masson cited on one of the very first pages of the book. I actually started this one first, but then when I hit that reference, read Thomas's book first. In general, I think Thomas was more successful than Masson, perhaps because she attempted less. A former psychoanalyst, with a long list of liberal arts accomplishments, Masson tries to interpret perhaps a bit too much. While Thomas stuck fairly close to her observations, Masson goes deeper, which weakens the book. While he occasionally provides useful insights into what a dog might be thinking, and always cautions us that we can never know for sure, he is also prone to sweeping, dramatic statements such as "Dogs don't just feel love, dogs are love." These sentences actually weaken his argument, because the reader doesn't know what he actually means by them, and because they're unnecessary to make his argument. He also tends to denigrate the field of science, and scientists, for their insistence on "facts" and "data" in order to draw conclusions. While it's true that some scientists ignore intuition and many animal-based experiments were and are heartless, ignorant, and pointless, it is certainly not true that science is therefore worthless. Anecdotal evidence, personal experience, and intuition are all important, but science can often help us see through a cloud of impressions to the verifiable fact. And while, yes, we shouldn't always assume that Morgan's Canon always applies, it's good not to let yourself get lost in fancy, explaining away anything you disagree with as "ignorant." He also seems to believe anecdotes that agree with him, without offering outside verification, and dismiss anecdotes that would discount his theories. Despite those two caveats, this was an enjoyable book, and presented some thought-provoking ideas and enlightening anecdotes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Interesting read. I picked up this book because, well, I love dogs and have grown up with them :) I enjoyed reading it at times but it was quite easy to put down. What I liked about it, is that I could relate because I saw my dog in some of the dogs the author wrote about.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    I have read other books by Masson and enjoyed them. And I enjoyed this one too, published in 1997. He discusses the emotions of dogs and when the book came out there was a lot of opposition to the idea of animals feeling emotions. I think the idea is much more accepted now (?). For me, nothing very new but I enjoyed the anecdotes related in the book. Masson writes about his experiences with his dogs and also many other stories from other people. He covers the emotions of love ( The Master Emoti I have read other books by Masson and enjoyed them. And I enjoyed this one too, published in 1997. He discusses the emotions of dogs and when the book came out there was a lot of opposition to the idea of animals feeling emotions. I think the idea is much more accepted now (?). For me, nothing very new but I enjoyed the anecdotes related in the book. Masson writes about his experiences with his dogs and also many other stories from other people. He covers the emotions of love ( The Master Emotion of Dogs), loyalty and heroism, gratitude, fear and loneliness, disappointment and others. In one of the most interesting chapters, he compares wolves and dogs. And he tries to answer the question: Why do we cherish dogs? I can't imagine my life without dogs--or a world without our canine companions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edwina Callan

    I really enjoyed listening to this one and even learned a thing or two. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    I started reading this in high school, I need to go back and start over 2/2/21 - I can see why I didn't finish this in high school, quite tedious, especially the first half. At this point, 20+ years later, there's even more research and even more books about this subject. As I read this I almost approached it more historical than current. Also, having 3 super behaved Shelties, which were the dogs we owned, that were loving family pets that I grew up with, I didn't yet have the perspective I have I started reading this in high school, I need to go back and start over 2/2/21 - I can see why I didn't finish this in high school, quite tedious, especially the first half. At this point, 20+ years later, there's even more research and even more books about this subject. As I read this I almost approached it more historical than current. Also, having 3 super behaved Shelties, which were the dogs we owned, that were loving family pets that I grew up with, I didn't yet have the perspective I have now, which is a lot more. Having now owned and trained 2 Australian Shepherds through multiple agility championships and having to deal with a reactivity issue, this book was probably more appreciated after these life experiences. Books like these tend to be quite philosophical while going back and looking at experiments and of the remarkable stories people have written about dogs. Also, mentions of various animal experiments from the last few centuries are also hard to read, and yes on dogs, not just rodents and traditional lab animals as we think of today. With that said, I found the massive amounts of quotes, stories, etc a bit distracting, and one point I disagree with is the mention that tail didn't serve a purpose. Because later he says the tail is the dog's smile, which is true, but owning dogs with no tails, there's a lot more research about balance and tails serving as rudders, the likely cause of one of my Aussie's serious pain issues resulting in a beloved agility career cut short and tons of PT and maintenance and a TPLO surgery. So in short (or long) this book was hit and miss at times, but at the end, dogs are remarkable, and those that don't understand dogs, don't like dogs, or don't want to own one will likely not read this book, so this is for a true dog lover, and yes those of us that fit that mold know they are highly intelligent, emotive and definitely have a soul.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    In his book, The Outermost House... "We need another & a wiser & perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal Nature, & living by complicated artifice, Man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge & sees thereby a feather magnified & the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, & greatly err. For the Animal shall not be measured In his book, The Outermost House... "We need another & a wiser & perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal Nature, & living by complicated artifice, Man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge & sees thereby a feather magnified & the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, & greatly err. For the Animal shall not be measured by Man. In a World older & more complete than ours they move finished & complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of Life & Time, fellow prisoners of the splendour & travail of the Earth."- Henry Beston, 1928

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ayelet Cooper

    I enjoyed reading this book, the tone of the author is very casual and conversational. My complaint about the book (why it’s not 5 stars) is that there are a number of times when the author is a little repetitive and kind of referencing an earlier point, in very similar language, without further development (ie connecting the immediately preceding section with that earlier point). Editorial oversight, in my opinion.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paula Kramer

    This was an insightful book about dogs and their feelings. He recognizes that it is not a scientifically proven book but he cites many other authors who have worked with dogs and have many of the same feelings that he has. It made me think a little more seriously about my own dog's feelings. I bought this book just by chance at a library sale and glad I did. I already have a friend who would like to read it next. You surely have to be a dog lover to fully appreciate it. This was an insightful book about dogs and their feelings. He recognizes that it is not a scientifically proven book but he cites many other authors who have worked with dogs and have many of the same feelings that he has. It made me think a little more seriously about my own dog's feelings. I bought this book just by chance at a library sale and glad I did. I already have a friend who would like to read it next. You surely have to be a dog lover to fully appreciate it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Keilman

    This is basically just some guys' ramblings about his life with his dogs and how he loves them and thinks they have all these complex emotions. As a dog-lover myself I agree with him on most of it and it kept me entertained while at work. It didn't really tell me much I didn't already know just by having a dog though. This is basically just some guys' ramblings about his life with his dogs and how he loves them and thinks they have all these complex emotions. As a dog-lover myself I agree with him on most of it and it kept me entertained while at work. It didn't really tell me much I didn't already know just by having a dog though.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christine Fay

    This book’s style is a bit stiff -- bordering on the scientific, but nevertheless the theme rings true -- dogs DO experience a range of human-like emotions, more so than any other creature put on this Earth. All I have to do is pull out a suitcase for my dog to become smitten with a look of forlorn hopelessness on his face as he seems to anticipate my absence. By the same token, returning home from such a trip, no one is more excited to see me than good old Teddy -- practically falling over hims This book’s style is a bit stiff -- bordering on the scientific, but nevertheless the theme rings true -- dogs DO experience a range of human-like emotions, more so than any other creature put on this Earth. All I have to do is pull out a suitcase for my dog to become smitten with a look of forlorn hopelessness on his face as he seems to anticipate my absence. By the same token, returning home from such a trip, no one is more excited to see me than good old Teddy -- practically falling over himself to climb into my lap and get his long overdue belly rubs. “The dog is the only being that loves you more than you love yourself.” ~ Fritz von Unruh “Perhaps the word no should never be used with a dog, for it is simply too devastating. . . somehow, when they hear that terrifying sound from their beloved friends, they enter a kind of gloom from which it can seem unlikely they will ever emerge. Of course, minutes later, they do emerge -- and that is something else I love about dogs. While they experience an emotion to its full potential, once it is over, that is that, and they are ready for the next experience. Dogs do not seem to waste time brooding over the past or anxiously awaiting the dreaded future. They are always present” (xvii). “Humans have a tendency to immerse themselves in their own narcissistic concerns, losing awareness of the world around them. Not only pity for the self, but self-concerns of many varieties, preoccupy us. Perhaps one central reason for loving dogs is that they take us away from this obsession with ourselves. When our thoughts start to go in circles, and we seem unable to break away, wondering what horrible event the future holds for us, the dog opens a window into the delight of the moment. To walk with a dog is to enter the world of the immediate. Our dog stares up into a tree, watching a squirrel -- she is there and nowhere else” (35). “. . . dogs are now being used in nursing homes for the elderly, in psychiatric hospitals, and in individual therapy as a means to draw patients, the elderly, and children out of isolation or depression by interacting with dogs. . . . The dog seemed to pierce her dementia, drawing out of her some old recognition that here was a female dog and she was cute . . . Dogs used in this way for therapy often bring about surprising results, and lead one to wonder if the very notion of dementia might not need to be rethought” (185). “Such people have every reason to be depressed, but seeing these healthy, happy animals lifts them, momentarily at least, from their sadness. I think it may make dogs feel good, too, as if they know what they are bringing some pleasure to otherwise dreary lives” (185).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bella

    The book was fine, at times it felt boring and redundant but that may be due to it being non fiction. I didn’t agree with some of the authors ideas mainly due to him being a psychoanalyst who believes in some Freudian ideas of which I know are not accepted by the scientific community for good reason. Much of what I read I already knew about dogs also though some of it was interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Henry Witwicki

    Well, I found it interesting. The chpter on animal experiments, cruelty I could of done witnout. I did like it though. Great insights, although I did not agree with a lot of the wolve ancestry stuff.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    While some of it was interesting, it meandered from one story to another. Several good points made, but also a lot of wasteful studies being done (which he points out) and other observations which seem obvious to those of us who love dogs.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Noga Golan

    One data point anecdotes from author’s personal experience often suffice in drawing broader conclusions, which is not convincing. Pretentious with quotes from Thomas Mann, Voltaire, Virginia Woolf and the like which seem forced and not very relevant.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Any dog-lover will agree and find interesting this book. Anyone who hasn't loved or been owned by a dog will probably find this book a bit over the top with stories of loving dogs. Any dog-lover will agree and find interesting this book. Anyone who hasn't loved or been owned by a dog will probably find this book a bit over the top with stories of loving dogs.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Delightful and touching. Good illustrations, too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Me

    Heartwarming examples of different emotions exhibited by dogs.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Wilkins

    Informative musing about the inner lives of dogs, presented with available scientific research.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Dogs are great, maybe not as wonderful as the author thinks but still most of them are very loving.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liz V.

    Some interesting anecdotes but research is dated and, in truth, don't have much interest in the thought processes of dogs. Some interesting anecdotes but research is dated and, in truth, don't have much interest in the thought processes of dogs.

  24. 4 out of 5

    East Bay J

    I dug this book in that it has lots of interesting and cool stories about dogs. Dogs Never Lie About Love is not a scientific book. Masson stresses that he is trying not to anthropomorphize and it is clear he wrote from a lot of research based on observation (scientific and otherwise) and best guesses. Regardless, anyone who has observed dogs, living either with them or around them for long periods of time, will sense the inherent truth in what Masson is saying. You will recognize what he is tal I dug this book in that it has lots of interesting and cool stories about dogs. Dogs Never Lie About Love is not a scientific book. Masson stresses that he is trying not to anthropomorphize and it is clear he wrote from a lot of research based on observation (scientific and otherwise) and best guesses. Regardless, anyone who has observed dogs, living either with them or around them for long periods of time, will sense the inherent truth in what Masson is saying. You will recognize what he is talking about. He repeats himself endlessly and makes weird generalizations and sort of jumps from point to point at times. Ultimately, though, this is a nice read, not exactly candy but sort of. If you're interested in what dogs think about, their inner workings, this book serves as an introduction to the topic with a fair amount of hard data thrown in. It won't answer any questions for you, though. Until dogs can lay it on us, they will remain in mystery.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This was a Christmas present from my sister, so I can now blame her for the new dog we own. About half way through this book I gave into the pressure of my fiance and realized our current dog needed/wanted another dog around. So....we went to the animal shelter and picked out a new dog. It is really wonderful to have another dog around. This book is awesome and should be read but everyone, including non dog lovers! The title is so true! DOGS NEVER LIE ABOUT LOVE! Dogs have the purest emotion and This was a Christmas present from my sister, so I can now blame her for the new dog we own. About half way through this book I gave into the pressure of my fiance and realized our current dog needed/wanted another dog around. So....we went to the animal shelter and picked out a new dog. It is really wonderful to have another dog around. This book is awesome and should be read but everyone, including non dog lovers! The title is so true! DOGS NEVER LIE ABOUT LOVE! Dogs have the purest emotion and could never lie about the way they are feeling. Everyone should read this book!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I highly recommend this book to any of my dog loving FB friends. The author does a great job of exploring whether or not dogs feel emotions such as embarrassment, humility, empathy, and even how deep they feel love. He makes a great point about why dogs are always so happy: they live in the here and now. They're not concerned with what happened yesterday or what's going to happen tomorrow; it's all about the living in the present. We could learn from them. I highly recommend this book to any of my dog loving FB friends. The author does a great job of exploring whether or not dogs feel emotions such as embarrassment, humility, empathy, and even how deep they feel love. He makes a great point about why dogs are always so happy: they live in the here and now. They're not concerned with what happened yesterday or what's going to happen tomorrow; it's all about the living in the present. We could learn from them.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Finally got to this one - interesting book. I felt like the author was very tentative in everything he was saying as if he didn't really want to commit to his words. He certainly cites a lot of sources. I did learn a few interesting things I didn't know - like that members of the dog family do not bark much, unlike domestic dogs. Also liked the chapter on how dogs relate to cats. The best parts were his personal antidotes about his own "pack". Finally got to this one - interesting book. I felt like the author was very tentative in everything he was saying as if he didn't really want to commit to his words. He certainly cites a lot of sources. I did learn a few interesting things I didn't know - like that members of the dog family do not bark much, unlike domestic dogs. Also liked the chapter on how dogs relate to cats. The best parts were his personal antidotes about his own "pack".

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mindy

    This thought-provoking book attempts to persuade readers to believe that dogs also have emotions and are capable of true love, not the human form of love/lust. Numerous accounts, many world-renowned, are provided to prove the theory. Although the book is somewhat wordy, it is written in a way that allows the reader to feel it is more of a "story" than a thesis. Anyone who is a dog-lover/owner feels validated with this book. Dogs have feelings, emotions, thoughts, even a soul. This thought-provoking book attempts to persuade readers to believe that dogs also have emotions and are capable of true love, not the human form of love/lust. Numerous accounts, many world-renowned, are provided to prove the theory. Although the book is somewhat wordy, it is written in a way that allows the reader to feel it is more of a "story" than a thesis. Anyone who is a dog-lover/owner feels validated with this book. Dogs have feelings, emotions, thoughts, even a soul.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen Kinsella

    Interesting book, but felt a bit schizo... neither fish nor fowl. Part a summary of what is known about the emotions of dogs, especially the positive emotions. And part the personal observations and conclusions of the author as a dog owner. Still, well written and an enjoyable read that expanded my knowledge of our doggy friends a bit, at the same time giving me some things to think about and to try to observe in my own dog.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Livia Stone

    This is the kind of book I was expecting when I read Rats by Robert Sullivan and Condor by John Nielson - a book entirely about dogs. It's a very thoughtful book that celebrates our connection with canine companions. It will give you a new appreciation for the depth of emotion they are capable of, and that they inspire in us. This is the kind of book I was expecting when I read Rats by Robert Sullivan and Condor by John Nielson - a book entirely about dogs. It's a very thoughtful book that celebrates our connection with canine companions. It will give you a new appreciation for the depth of emotion they are capable of, and that they inspire in us.

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