Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know


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Psychology professor and dog person Horowitz was studying the ethology (the science of animal behavior) of white rhinos and bonobos at the San Diego Zoo when she realized that her research techniques could just as easily apply to dogs at the local dog park; there, she began to see “snapshots of the minds of the dogs” in their play.

Over eight years of study, she’s found that, though humans bond with their dogs closely, they’re clueless when it comes to understanding what dogs perceive-leading her to the not-inconsequential notion that dogs know us better than we know them. Horowitz begins by inviting readers into a dog’s umwelt-his worldview-by imagining themselves living 18 inches or so above the ground, with incredible olfactory senses comparable to the human capacity for detailed sight in three dimensions (though dogs’ sight, in combination with their sense of smell, may result in a more complex perception of “color” than humans can imagine). Social and communications skills are also explored, as well as the practicalities of dog owning (Horowitz disagrees with the “pack” approach to dog training). Dog lovers will find this book largely fascinating, despite Horowitz’s meandering style and somnolent tone.


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