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

3.6 255
by Alexandra Horowitz

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The bestselling book that asks what dogs know and how they think. The answers will surprise and delight you as Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal, the human.

Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what


The bestselling book that asks what dogs know and how they think. The answers will surprise and delight you as Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs perceive their daily worlds, each other, and that other quirky animal, the human.

Horowitz introduces the reader to dogs’ perceptual and cognitive abilities and then draws a picture of what it might be like to be a dog. What’s it like to be able to smell not just every bit of open food in the house but also to smell sadness in humans, or even the passage of time? How does a tiny dog manage to play successfully with a Great Dane? What is it like to hear the bodily vibrations of insects or the hum of a fluorescent light? Why must a person on a bicycle be chased? What’s it like to use your mouth as a hand? In short, what is it like for a dog to experience life from two feet off the ground, amidst the smells of the sidewalk, gazing at our ankles or knees?

Inside of a Dog explains these things and much more. The answers can be surprising—once we set aside our natural inclination to anthropomorphize dogs. Inside of a Dog also contains up-to-the-minute research—on dogs’ detection of disease, the secrets of their tails, and their skill at reading our attention—that Horowitz puts into useful context. Although not a formal training guide, Inside of a Dog has practical application for dog lovers interested in understanding why their dogs do what they do. With a light touch and the weight of science behind her, Alexandra Horowitz examines the animal we think we know best but may actually understand the least. This book is as close as you can get to knowing about dogs without being a dog yourself.

Editorial Reviews

In promotional copy, the publishers invite readers to think of this book as "Temple Grandin meets Stephen Pinker," a somewhat daunting assignment, not far wrong. As both a cognitive scientist and a dog-owner, Dr. Alexandra Horowitz has attentively studied both humans and canines. Her Inside of a Dog fulfills many pet lovers' fondest wish: to learn what Fido or Frida really thinks and knows. Scientific rigor, literary flair, and a most endearing subject. Enthusiastic reader response in hardcover; now in paperback.

Michael Schaffer
Alexandra Horowitz's smart new book fills a niche in this field. Most authors seeking to explain canine minds are pushing a trendy training style or a worthy humane-treatment goal. Horowitz sets out to study dogs for their own fascinating sake…Inside of a Dog offers a thoughtful take on the interior life of the dog, a topic often left to poets and philosophers and Marley & Me. A Barnard psychologist, Horowitz doesn't deliver an academic monograph based on, say, freshly unearthed details about the wild dogs of the Siberian steppe. Rather, she mixes observations of her own dog with a breezy survey of animal-science literature as she ponders more basic questions about the pet dogs of the American living room: What's with the sniffing? Why do they bark? Oh, and do they actually like us? The result is a work long on insight and short on jargon.
—The Washington Post
Cathleen Schine
In one enormously important variation from wolf behavior, dogs will look into our eyes. "Though they have inherited some aversion to staring too long at eyes, dogs seem to be predisposed to inspect our faces for information, for reassurance, for guidance." They are staring, soulfully, into our umwelts. It seems only right that we try a little harder to reciprocate, and Horowitz's book is a good step in that direction.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Dry as doggie kibble, this fact-filled book by Horowitz (psychology, Barnard Coll.) is nonetheless full of useful information for the 68 million dog owners in the United States. Actress/narrator Karen White (My Kind of Place) does a superb job of presenting this program, and dog lovers will be interested in much of Horowitz's research. However, because the author's copious notes interrupt the flow of the narrative, at times making it difficult to follow along, the print edition might be preferable to this audio edition. [The Scribner hc received a starred review, LJ Xpress Reviews 9/18/09.—Ed.]—Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ. Lib., Russellville
From the Publisher
"Discover why your dog is so sensitive to your emotions, gaze, and body language. Dogs live in a world of ever-changing intricate detail of smell. Read this captivating book and enter the sensory world of your dog." -- Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

"Inside of a Dog is a most welcome authoritative, personal, and witty book about what it is like to be a dog. This engaging volume serves as a corrective to the many myths that circulate about just who our canine companions are. I hope this book enjoys the wide readership it deserves." -- Marc Bekoff, author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (with Jessica Pierce)

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Inside of a Dog


First you see the head. Over the crest of the hill appears a muzzle, drooling. It is as yet not visibly attached to anything. A limb jangles into view, followed in unhasty succession by a second, third, and fourth, bearing a hundred and forty pounds of body between them. The wolfhound, three feet at his shoulder and five feet to his tail, spies the long-haired Chihuahua, half a dog high, hidden in the grasses between her owner’s feet. The Chihuahua is six pounds, each of them trembling. With one languorous leap, his ears perked high, the wolfhound arrives in front of the Chihuahua. The Chihuahua looks demurely away; the wolfhound bends down to Chihuahua level and nips her side. The Chihuahua looks back at the hound, who raises his rear end up in the air, tail held high, in preparation to attack. Instead of fleeing from this apparent danger, the Chihuahua matches his pose and leaps onto the wolfhound’s face, embracing his nose with her tiny paws. They begin to play.

For five minutes these dogs tumble, grab, bite, and lunge at each other. The wolfhound throws himself onto his side and the little dog responds with attacks to his face, belly, and paws. A swipe by the hound sends the Chihuahua scurrying backward, and she timidly sidesteps out of his reach. The hound barks, jumps up, and arrives back on his feet with a thud. At this, the Chihuahua races toward one of those feet and bites it, hard. They are in mid-embrace—the hound with his mouth surrounding the body of the Chihuahua, the Chihuahua kicking back at the hound’s face—when an owner snaps a leash on the hound’s collar and pulls him upright and away. The Chihuahua rights herself, looks after them, barks once, and trots back to her owner.

These dogs are so incommensurable with each other that they may as well be different species. The ease of play between them always puzzled me. The wolfhound bit, mouthed, and charged at the Chihuahua; yet the little dog responded not with fright but in kind. What explains their ability to play together? Why doesn’t the hound see the Chihuahua as prey? Why doesn’t the Chihuahua see the wolfhound as predator? The answer turns out to have nothing to do with the Chihuahua’s delusion of canine grandeur or the hound’s lack of predatory drive. Neither is it simply hardwired instinct taking over.

There are two ways to learn how play works—and what playing dogs are thinking, perceiving, and saying: be born as a dog, or spend a lot of time carefully observing dogs. The former was unavailable to me. Come along as I describe what I’ve learned by watching.

I am a dog person.

My home has always had a dog in it. My affinity for dogs began with our family dog, Aster, with his blue eyes, lopped tail, and nighttime neighborhood ramblings that often left me up late, wearing pajamas and worry, waiting for his midnight return. I long mourned the death of Heidi, a springer spaniel who ran with excitement—my childhood imagination had her tongue trailing out of the side of her mouth and her long ears blown back with the happy vigor of her run—right under a car’s tires on the state highway near our home. As a college student, I gazed with admiration and affection at an adopted chow mix Beckett as she stoically watched me leave for the day.

And now at my feet lies the warm, curly, panting form of Pumpernickel—Pump—a mutt who has lived with me for all of her sixteen years and through all of my adulthood. I have begun every one of my days in five states, five years of graduate school, and four jobs with her tail-thumping greeting when she hears me stir in the morning. As anyone who considers himself a dog person will recognize, I cannot imagine my life without this dog.

I am a dog person, a lover of dogs. I am also a scientist.

I study animal behavior. Professionally, I am wary of anthropomorphizing animals, attributing to them the feelings, thoughts, and desires that we use to describe ourselves. In learning how to study the behavior of animals, I was taught and adhered to the scientist’s code for describing actions: be objective; do not explain a behavior by appeal to a mental process when explanation by simpler processes will do; a phenomenon that is not publicly observable and confirmable is not the stuff of science. These days, as a professor of animal behavior, comparative cognition, and psychology, I teach from masterful texts that deal in quantifiable fact. They describe everything from hormonal and genetic explanations for the social behavior of animals, to conditioned responses, fixed action patterns, and optimal foraging rates, in the same steady, objective tone.

And yet.

Most of the questions my students have about animals remain quietly unanswered in these texts. At conferences where I have presented my research, other academics inevitably direct the postlecture conversations to their own experiences with their pets. And I still have the same questions I’d always had about my own dog—and no sudden rush of answers. Science, as practiced and reified in texts, rarely addresses our experiences of living with and attempting to understand the minds of our animals.

In my first years of graduate school, when I began studying the science of the mind, with a special interest in the minds of non-human animals, it never occurred to me to study dogs. Dogs seemed so familiar, so understood. There is nothing to be learned from dogs, colleagues claimed: dogs are simple, happy creatures whom we need to train and feed and love, and that is all there is to them. There is no data in dogs. That was the conventional wisdom among scientists. My dissertation advisor studied, respectably, baboons: primates are the animals of choice in the field of animal cognition. The assumption is that the likeliest place to find skills and cognition approaching our own is in our primate brethren. That was, and remains, the prevailing view of behavioral scientists. Worse still, dog owners seemed to have already covered the territory of theorizing about the dog mind, and their theories were generated from anecdotes and misapplied anthropomorphisms. The very notion of the mind of a dog was tainted.

And yet.

I spent many recreational hours during my years of graduate school in California in the local dog parks and beaches with Pumpernickel. At the time I was in training as an ethologist, a scientist of animal behavior. I joined two research groups observing highly social creatures: the white rhinoceros at the Wild Animal Park in Escondido, and the bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees) at the Park and the San Diego Zoo. I learned the science of careful observations, data gathering, and statistical analysis. Over time, this way of looking began seeping into those recreational hours at the dog parks. Suddenly the dogs, with their fluent travel between their own social world and that of people, became entirely unfamiliar: I stopped seeing their behavior as simple and understood.

Where I once saw and smiled at play between Pumpernickel and the local bull terrier, I now saw a complex dance requiring mutual cooperation, split-second communications, and assessment of each other’s abilities and desires. The slightest turn of a head or the point of a nose now seemed directed, meaningful. I saw dogs whose owners did not understand a single thing their dogs were doing; I saw dogs too clever for their playmates; I saw people misreading canine requests as confusion and delight as aggression. I began bringing a video camera with us and taping our outings at the parks. At home I watched the tapes of dogs playing with dogs, of people ball- and Frisbee-tossing to their dogs—tapes of chasing, fighting, petting, running, barking. With new sensitivity to the possible richness of social interactions in an entirely non-linguistic world, all of these once ordinary activities now seemed to me to be an untapped font of information. When I began watching the videos in extremely slow-motion playback, I saw behaviors I had never seen in years of living with dogs. Examined closely, simple play frolicking between two dogs became a dizzying series of synchronous behaviors, active role swapping, variations on communicative displays, flexible adaptation to others’ attention, and rapid movement between highly diverse play acts.

What I was seeing were snapshots of the minds of the dogs, visible in the ways they communicated with each other and tried to communicate with the people around them—and, too, in the way they interpreted other dogs’ and people’s actions.

I never saw Pumpernickel—or any dog—the same way again. Far from being a killjoy on the delights of interacting with her, though, the spectacles of science gave me a rich new way to look at what she was doing: a new way to understand life as a dog.

Since those first hours of viewing, I have studied dogs at play: playing with other dogs and playing with people. At the time I was unwittingly part of a sea change taking place in science’s attitude toward studying dogs. The transformation is not yet complete, but the landscape of dog research is already remarkably different than it was twenty years ago. Where once there was an inappreciable number of studies of dog cognition and behavior, there are now conferences on the dog, research groups devoted to studying the dog, experimental and ethological studies on the dog in the United States and abroad, and dog research results sprinkled through scientific journals. The scientists doing this work have seen what I have seen: the dog is a perfect entry into the study of non-human animals. Dogs have lived with human beings for thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of years. Through the artificial selection of domestication, they have evolved to be sensitive to just those things that importantly make up our cognition, including, critically, attention to others.

In this book I introduce you to the science of the dog. Scientists working in laboratories and in the field, studying working dogs and companion dogs, have gathered an impressive amount of information on the biology of dogs—their sensory abilities, their behavior—and on the psychology of dogs—their cognition. Drawing from the accumulated results of hundreds of research programs, we can begin to create a picture of the dog from the inside—of the skill of his nose, what he hears, how his eyes turn to us, and the brain behind it all. The dog cognition work reviewed includes my own but extends far beyond it to summarize all the results from recent research. For some topics on which there is no reliable information yet on dogs, I incorporate studies on other animals that might help us understand a dog’s life, too. (For those whose appetite for the original research articles is whetted by the accounts herein, full citations appear at the book’s end.)

We do no disservice to dogs by stepping away from the leash and considering them scientifically. Their abilities and point of view merit special attention. And the result is magnificent: far from being distanced by science, we are brought closer to and can marvel at the true nature of the dog. Used rigorously but creatively, the process and results of science can shed new light on discussions that people have daily about what their dog knows, understands, or believes. Through my personal journey, learning to look systemically and scientifically at my own dog’s behavior, I came to have a better understanding of, appreciation of, and relationship with her.

I’ve gotten inside of the dog, and have glimpsed the dog’s point of view. You can do the same. If you have a dog in the room with you, what you see in that great, furry pile of dogness is about to change.


Calling a dog “the dog”

It is the nature of scientific study of non-human animals that a few individual animals who have been thoroughly poked, observed, trained, or dissected come to represent their entire species. Yet with humans we never let one person’s behavior stand for all of our behavior. If one man fails to solve a Rubik’s cube in an hour, we do not extrapolate from that that all men will so fail (unless that man had bested every other man alive). Here our sense of individuality is stronger than our sense of shared biology. When it comes to describing our potential physical and cognitive capacities, we are individuals first, and members of the human race second.

By contrast, with animals the order is reversed. Science considers animals as representatives of their species first, and as individuals second. We are accustomed to seeing a single animal or two kept in a zoo as representative of their species; to zoo management, they are even unwitting “ambassadors” of the species. Our view of the uniformity of species members is well exemplified in our comparison of their intelligence. To test the hypothesis, long popular, that having a bigger brain indicates greater intelligence, the brain volumes of chimpanzees, monkeys, and rats were compared with human brains. Sure enough, the chimp’s brain is smaller than ours, the monkey’s smaller than the chimp’s, the rat’s a mere cerebellum-sized node of the primates’ brains. That much of the story is fairly well known. What is more surprising is that the brains used, for comparative purposes, were the brains of just two or three chimpanzees and monkeys. These couple of animals unlucky enough to lose their heads for science were henceforth considered perfectly representative monkeys and chimps. But we had no idea if they happened to be particularly big-brained monkeys, or abnormally small-brained chimps.1

Similarly, if a single animal or small group of animals fails in a psychological experiment, the species is tainted with the brush of failure. Although grouping animals by biological similarity is clearly useful shorthand, there is a strange result: we tend to speak of the species as though all members of the species were identical. We never make this slip with humans. If a dog, given the choice between a pile of twenty biscuits and a pile of ten biscuits, chooses the latter, the conclusion is often stated with the definite article: “the dog” cannot distinguish between large and small piles—not “a dog” cannot so distinguish.

So when I talk about the dog, I am talking implicitly about those dogs studied to date. The results of many well-performed experiments may eventually allow us to reasonably generalize to all dogs, period. But even then, the variations among individual dogs will be great: your dog may be an unusually good smeller, may never look you in the eye, may love his dog bed and hate to be touched. Not every behavior a dog does should be interpreted as telling, taken as something intrinsic or fantastic; sometimes they just are, just as we are. That said, what I offer herein is the known capacity of the dog; your results may be different.

Training dogs

This is not a dog training book. Still, its contents might lead you to be able to train your dog, inadvertently. This will catch us up to dogs, who have already, without a tome on people, learned how to train us without our realizing it.

The dog training literature and the dog cognition and behavior literatures do not overlap greatly. Dog trainers do use a few basic tenets from psychology and ethology—sometimes to great effect, sometimes to disastrous end. Most training operates on the principle of associative learning. Associations between events are easily learned by all animals, including humans. Associative learning is what is behind “operant” conditioning paradigms, which provide a reward (a treat, attention, a toy, a pat) after the occurrence of a desired behavior (a dog sitting down). Through repeated application, one can shape a new, desired behavior in a dog—be it lying down and rolling over, or, for the ambitious, calmly Jet-Skiing behind a motorboat.

But often the tenets of training clash with the scientific study of the dog. For instance, many trainers use the analogy of dog-as-tame-wolf as informative in how we should see and treat dogs. An analogy can only be as good as its source. In this case, as we will see, scientists know a limited amount about natural wolf behavior—and what we know often contradicts the conventional wisdom used to bolster those analogies.

In addition, training methods are not scientifically tested, despite some trainers’ assertions to the contrary. That is, no training program has been evaluated by comparing the performance of an experimental group that gets training and a control group whose life is identical except for the absence of the training program. People who come to trainers often share two unusual features: their dogs are less “obedient” than the average dog, and the owners are more motivated to change them than the average owner. It is very likely, given this combination of conditions and a few months, that the dog will behave differently after training, almost regardless of what the training is.

Training successes are exciting, but they do not prove that the training method is what led to the success. The success could be indicative of good training. But it could also be a happy accident. It could also be the result of more attention being paid to the dog over the course of the program. It could be the result of the dog’s maturing over the course of the program. It could be the result of that bullying dog down the street moving away. In other words, the success could be the result of dozens of other co-occurring changes in the dog’s life. We cannot distinguish these possibilities without rigorous scientific testing.

Most critically, training is usually tailored to the owner—to change the dog to fit the owner’s conception of the role of the dog, and of what he wants the dog to do. This goal is quite different than our aim: looking to see what the dog actually does, and what he wants from and understands of you.

The dog and his owner

It is increasingly in vogue to speak not of pet ownership but pet guardianship, or pet companions. Clever writers talk of dogs’ “humans,” turning the ownership arrow back on ourselves. In this book I call dogs’ families owners simply because this term describes the legal relationship we have with dogs: peculiarly, they are still considered property (and property of little compensatory value, besides breeding value, a lesson I hope no reader ever has to learn personally). I will celebrate the day when dogs are not property which we own. Until then, I use the word owner apolitically, for convenience and with no other motive. This motive guides me in my pronoun use, too: unless discussing a female dog, I usually call the dog “him,” as this is our gender-neutral term. The reputedly more neutral “it” is not an option, for anyone who has known a dog.

1Of course, researchers soon found brains bigger than ours: the dolphin’s brain is larger, as are the brains of physically larger creatures such as whales and elephants. The “big brain” myth has long been overturned. Those who are still interested in mapping brain to smarts now look at other, more sophisticated measures: the amount of convolution of the brain; the encephalization quotient, a ratio that includes both brain and body size in the calculation; the quantity of neocortex; or the gross number of neurons and synapses between neurons.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Essential...for pet owners and students of animal behavior who have followed developments in the emerging field of comparative psychology." —-Library Journal Starred Review

Meet the Author

Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know and On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation. She teaches at Barnard College, where she runs the Dog Cognition Lab. She lives with her family and two large, highly sniffy dogs in New York City.

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Inside of a Dog 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 255 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
KatrineHB More than 1 year ago
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.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
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.
Econo More than 1 year ago
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.
Wiley More than 1 year ago
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.
CLKLKK More than 1 year ago
Definitely going in our permanent library. We understand our own dogs' behaviors much better in context of the author's insights and research.
cmp53 More than 1 year ago
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".
MatthewKarns17815 More than 1 year ago
"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.
mypaljack More than 1 year ago
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!
riki432 More than 1 year ago
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.
UncleSkull More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really helps you better understand what, why, and how your dog does the wierd things she does.
jaki82 More than 1 year ago
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.
slgUT More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring at first but after a while I was really into it, and finished it quickly. Great book for those who somewhat know the anatomy of dogs since the author uses a lot of that. Overall, it helped me understand my dogs better.
Cloud14 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe my expectations were too high. I found this book good, but not as good as I thought it would be. I don't have a dog. But, I'm certainly curious about them! In this book, are lots of interesting things that I didn't know before. What was missing, you ask? Lift off. It didn't set me on fire, but it's interesting!
jerushasmom More than 1 year ago
I just bought this book in paperback. As others said, it is quite wordy and repetitive and I've only read up to the end of the first chapter!! However, I sort of expect this as it is scientifically based. I'll read what I want to get out of it.
Ernesto Amaya More than 1 year ago
full of facts and science! not emotional but real. i love this book.
jen_dressler More than 1 year ago
Some surprising observations are in thes book. The writing stalled me at first but then the doggy factoids were so eyeopening I read it to the end. Dogbrain, how enlightening! Anyone who owns a dog can relate to something inside.
DMT50 More than 1 year ago
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.
Sweeney More than 1 year ago
Learned a lot about dogs that I didn't know and was curious about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
or, at least, some form of email so we don't have to wade through your infantile messages.