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“Dogs and Monsters” by Stanley Coren Essay

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Updated: Apr 9th, 2020

The article is “Dogs and Monsters (2000)” written by Stanley Coren. It was originally published by the Saturday Night Magazine in May, 2000 and has been reprinted in its original form. The author argues that the process of genetic engineering did not start in the modern era, but a long time ago before humans had the knowledge of science and that the type of dog an individual keeps is somehow similar to them in trait.

Thus, the main purpose of the article is to compare the process of bioengineering the domestic dog to that of the evolution of guns so as to satisfy the need of the users as well as the owners. In evaluation, the article is an interesting, especially the manner in which the author compares the two processes. Although, it is evidently clear that such a comparison brings out a complex analogy that is not easily understandable to someone who does not have a keen interest in literature and its analysis.

In summary, the author bases his article on how the domestication of the wild dog began and how the first benefit dogs provided was that of a disposal unit as stated “function as a de facto garbage disposal unit”. The author goes ahead to list other benefits of the dog such as provision of security by barking to scare away thieves and other wild animals. Furthermore, it is also here that the author gives the chronology of bioengineering of the domestic dog in comparison to the gun.

The argument is that this relationship began due to the fact that there was a tailored machine to suit an organism “machine was the gun, organism was the dog” (Coren 192). The first dogs were loud barkers which were then trained to be pointers during hunting around 1500s.

After which they evolved to the setter in 1700s and finally the retriever during the era of cultivation when man had to go to the wilderness to hunt since all wetlands had been converted to farmlands. All these eras were characterized by different types of guns that had different loading speed.

The organization of the work is logical since it begins with an introduction about the writer. This makes the reader more comfortable and in process even enables them to relate to the writer since he is someone they see on television. Furthermore, the work style is even more engrossing to reader since most individuals have dogs at home and thus the selection of the topic is interesting as well as the knowledge that nowadays the dog is engineered to suit our needs.

The author’s effectiveness in making the reader convinced about bioengineering of the dogs is reinforced by the examples that he provides especially at the end when he says that “we have spent 14000 years of biotechnology and genetic manipulation in the creation of the little white beast that who is right now gently snoring with his head resting against my foot” (Coren 190). The topic is treated in an historical fashion and satirical manner that compares the role of a dog to that played by a gun.

More so, the topic also treats the evolution of the dog with the evolution of the gun. The main idea is to emphasize on security and it is with the reinvention of the gun that the dog is also able to adapt to satisfy the needs of the owner. It is important to note that not all dogs are used for security purposes and thus, the author reaffirms his thesis statement that they type of dog we keep says more about us since a hunter would want to keep a retriever while a lazy person would just want to keep a pet.

Work Cited

Coren, Stanley. Dogs and Monsters. New York, NY: Penguin, 2000. Print.

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1. IvyPanda. ""Dogs and Monsters" by Stanley Coren." April 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dogs-and-monsters-by-stanley-coren/.


IvyPanda. ""Dogs and Monsters" by Stanley Coren." April 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dogs-and-monsters-by-stanley-coren/.


IvyPanda. 2020. ""Dogs and Monsters" by Stanley Coren." April 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dogs-and-monsters-by-stanley-coren/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '"Dogs and Monsters" by Stanley Coren'. 9 April.

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