Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 3.5
( 249 )
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(87)

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(28)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

This is the best dog book ever!

The Inside of a Dog is very true to its title. I could not put it down at night, partially because my black labrador sleeps diagonally between my husband and I. If you are a dog lover, this book will forever change how you look at your dog. It gives you the inside scoop...
The Inside of a Dog is very true to its title. I could not put it down at night, partially because my black labrador sleeps diagonally between my husband and I. If you are a dog lover, this book will forever change how you look at your dog. It gives you the inside scoop about why your dog enjoys smelling everything. There are suggestions in the book about simple things that will make your dog happy, which really work.

The book shows how the dog has evolved into our common house dog, and what makes the dog the canine he is.

posted by KatrineHB on May 16, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

39 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

Dull and pretentious

I too got sucked in by the "New York Times Bestseller" billing. I could not get through more than 35 pages. The prelude started ok enough, but then the author felt the need to spend 2 pages expaining why she uses the term "the dog" and what she means by it. You get t...
I too got sucked in by the "New York Times Bestseller" billing. I could not get through more than 35 pages. The prelude started ok enough, but then the author felt the need to spend 2 pages expaining why she uses the term "the dog" and what she means by it. You get the point after a paragraph, but it goes on. And on. The whole thing comes across to me as a pretentious mess. I have a PhD of my own, and when I pick up a book to read for leisure I expect to have an enjoyable read, not a book that is exponentially longer than it needs to be because of the use of extremely long-winded explanations of the author's opinions and unnecessary "$100 words" Case in point, and there are many: page 15- "Anthropomorphisms are not inherently odious." It reminds me of a gathering of stuffed-shirt university professors who feel the need to show their intelligence and superiority by out-wording each other. The author's dog must be glad he doesn't understand English.

posted by 4825654 on September 30, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2010

    Dull and pretentious

    I too got sucked in by the "New York Times Bestseller" billing. I could not get through more than 35 pages. The prelude started ok enough, but then the author felt the need to spend 2 pages expaining why she uses the term "the dog" and what she means by it. You get the point after a paragraph, but it goes on. And on. The whole thing comes across to me as a pretentious mess. I have a PhD of my own, and when I pick up a book to read for leisure I expect to have an enjoyable read, not a book that is exponentially longer than it needs to be because of the use of extremely long-winded explanations of the author's opinions and unnecessary "$100 words" Case in point, and there are many: page 15- "Anthropomorphisms are not inherently odious." It reminds me of a gathering of stuffed-shirt university professors who feel the need to show their intelligence and superiority by out-wording each other. The author's dog must be glad he doesn't understand English.

    39 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    This is the best dog book ever!

    The Inside of a Dog is very true to its title. I could not put it down at night, partially because my black labrador sleeps diagonally between my husband and I. If you are a dog lover, this book will forever change how you look at your dog. It gives you the inside scoop about why your dog enjoys smelling everything. There are suggestions in the book about simple things that will make your dog happy, which really work.

    The book shows how the dog has evolved into our common house dog, and what makes the dog the canine he is.

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    From inside a cognitive scientist...

    Horowitwz is a scientist, after all. She has rigorously edited her book so that it is accessible to non-scientists, and tries to tell us which of the dog behaviors we observe are actually what we may believe them to be. Are dogs as knowledgeable as they appear? What do their behaviors signify? But first she must describe what she will do, set the parameters, explain her approach...I did not become engaged until late in the game, when Horowitz gave us a section on "theory of mind": can the dog know what we're thinking or are they simply responding to other physical cues?

    From this point the book explains some experiments conducted, their results, the conclusions. This is unfailingly interesting to me, though I get breathless at the amount of time and energy involved in constructing a successful experiment which may yield one data point and no firm conclusions.

    At the end of the book, Horowitz takes off her scientist hat and tells us what she thinks. She urges us to look on our pets as individuals with unique behaviors and not to be too regimented in our thinking about how they should perform or behave. Her final quote is a paean to her dead pet, Pump, in which she describes one of his ears "like a felted leaf, dried in the sun." Dog-people will find this an interesting book which will inform their understanding.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    A Sound (if smelly) Perspective on Dogs

    Curious dog lovers (like me) often try to better understand these great companion animals, but we're hampered by our tendency to ascribe human motives and traits to our pets. This book brings a scientific understanding of these animals to the endeavor and provides us with a richer awareness of dog behavior. I have put the knowledge to use and am enjoying these creatures even more.

    The main downside of the book is disappointment that there isn't more research on dog behavior.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    The Dog as Subject

    I highly recommend this book for other dog lovers. The author, Alexandra Horowitz, is a scientist in the field of animal cognition, and her book is about using cognitive science to try to understand how dogs view the world--the dog as subject, not just as an object and extension of human desires. Though Horowitz is a scientist writing about cognitive science, the text is accessible and entertaining. Another reviewer complained about the scientific language, but it seems to me that Horowitz has done a good job of making the science accessible to a non-scientist reader. But you do have to be a reader willing to read carefully and maybe even (gasp!) look up unfamiliar words.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 26, 2010

    OK at Best

    I have been a dog lover all of my life and thus this book was of tremendous attraction to me. Honestly, I was disappointed. The author clearly knows her subject but the presentation was ok at best. Was really looking to grow in my understanding of dogs..can't say that I learned what I hoped I would. In addition, the book could have been 100 pages shorter...

    If you have dogs and really appreciate them, you already know most of what is in the book..if you don't, it will provide some insight to better understand "man's best friend".

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    I found the book insightful and helpful for both long-term dog owners and those new to the world of dogs. I recommend this book for dog-lovers of all ages.

    Definitely going in our permanent library. We understand our own dogs' behaviors much better in context of the author's insights and research.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Inside Of A Dog

    Being an animal lover especially of dogs, I was eager to buy this book. I have read Alexandra's article in newspapers explaining how a dog thinks from their perspective and was excited to read it. I was highly disappointed because it's too technical and scientifically based. It was difficult to get through the introduction let alone the first chapter. I scanned through the middle of book and found it continuing the on same path. It did not hold my attention because it was difficult to comprehend for the average reader. I would not recommend this book unless you have a science degree.

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An enlightening look into the mind of your dog.

    "Inside Of A Dog" by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz is a fascinating book which will make you look at your dog in an entirely new way and I feel enriched in my relationship with my dogs for having read it. Staying completely away from any anthropomorphic tendecies, the book lives up to it's title, providing the reader an excellent overview of canine cognition, senses, and "umwelt", which is defined as the dog's viewpoint and world view. Who would have thought that dogs really dislike when their owners make them wear sweaters, which is actually a show of dominance over the dog or that dogs identify us not through vision but primarily through smell? Throughout this book the reader discovers the above and many other intriguing and fascinating clues which led me to conclude that in reality dogs are not "little people in fuzzy costumes" but are their own species with their own motives, incentives, and inner driving forces. I recommend this book for anyone who really wants to "understand" their dog and be able to at least approach the ability of seeing the world as our canine companions see it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    A WEALTH OF DOG INFORMATION

    Makes me look at my four legged friend in a whole new light. Also makes me remember my past friends with a whole new respect. A must for dog owners and dog lovers alike.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Insightful and humorous, with a unique (scientific) perspective ...

    I really am enjoying this book. I haven't quite finished it yet, because it really makes you think through your own dogs behavior and before you know it... you are really INVOLVED with your dog! Well written, logical, eye opening!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Disappointed

    She writes well and I've only gotten into the book a few chapters, but it's hard to stay with it. I feel like I'm reading a textbook.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    The book is a scientific work and is written scientifically. Alt

    The book is a scientific work and is written scientifically. Although the author does a decent job of explaining the terms she uses and the research she cites, the book is at times difficult to read if you aren't fluent in scientific jargon. I loved the introduction paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter. I thought including personal experience with a dog the author knew and loved made the book less pretentious and more relateable. Overall, this book is filled with a lot of valuable information. The presentation is just a little off.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    So disappointed!

    This book is one string of useless, pretentious sentences after another! There are occasional bits of information of interest, but one has to endure WAY too much extraneous junk to mine the tidbits of interest. Save your money and don't bother.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Very insightful.

    As a dog owner I now look at my dog through much different eyes full of a new understanding. I hope that what I've learned from this book only adds to the enjoyment of Stella's life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not recommended

    I kept reading thinking I'd be given knowledge I didn't already know about dogs, but that never happened. I complained the whole way and only appreciated 2 sections (at most). If you keep up with dogs in the news or specials on tv over time, you don't need to read this book. I felt like I wasted my time and therefore I don't recommend this book. Also, Without saying his name, I understood her to criticize The Dog Whisperer. her opinion is that her understanding of scientific articles she's read and personal experience is more in line with the evolution of dogs.

    I agree with another reviewer's comments about the book being dull. Vocabulary words were frequently used and made the author sound pretentious. The book was way longer than it needed to be. I even skipped her last ditch efforts to try to train the reader how to work with their dogs. Overall disappointed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    Why your dog is so weird :)

    Really helps you better understand what, why, and how your dog does the wierd things she does.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    good read

    although i had come across some of the information before, it had a lot of good analysis into a dogs viewpoints. i think that i will be looking at my dogs with a different view. i will say that you probably need a little scientific background to be comfortable with it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    very informative

    Learned a lot about dogs that I didn't know and was curious about.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    Very Insightful!

    Contains very detailed information on what makes a dog act the way he does, siting both scientific studies as well as everyday observation. Although it may be a little too detailed for the average dog-owner, with my background as a veterinary technician, with a special interest in behavior, I found it very thought-provoking....and I find that I have become more patient with my resident canine, realizing that some of the behaviors that I tend to find frustrating are, after all,typical dog behaviors. It also re-enforces my opinion that dogs should not be treated as if they are humans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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