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

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

by Alexandra Horowitz

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903329,768 (3.54)37



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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I like the author's writing. Science plus personal essay. Having read "On Looking" I can see how that project follows this book and is in line with her career of observing animal behavior. Word of the book is umwelt, with a unlaut. Look it up. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
Very interesting, but not an easy reading style. ( )
  fredheid | Jun 30, 2015 |
Notes for the reader: Two things keep this book from being a "5".
1. Unrecognizable, Unpronounceable words on nigh every page. Sometimes, two or three pages have clear, or ignorable, words.
2. Faint font. Very difficult to see. I am not sure if this author had any control of the font in her book. Even with a 100 watt bulb inches away, it looked like spider writing.

What ages would I recommend it too? – Twelve and up.

Length? – A couple of day’s read.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters.

Setting? – Real world, mostly dog parks.

Written approximately? – 2009.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? Readable font. Tone down the abnormal, unrecognizable words. - immutable, quotidian, umwelt (at least they give a definition for this one!), alacrity, and many more!

Short storyline: A complex look at a dog's life.

( )
  AprilBrown | Feb 25, 2015 |
Once upon a time, I gave in to the temptation of an Amazon Kindle Daily Deal and purchased Inside of a Dog. Well, at least I got what I paid for. I was hoping to gain some insight to the sometimes adorable, and sometimes crazy, behavior of my two Labrador Retrievers. I gave up after 70 pages, most of which were devoted to making sure I understood the many ways in which dogs differ from wolves, which seemed to boil down to dogs being domesticated and wolves, wild. The next section promised to tell me about dogs’ sense of smell, but I had the impression the author would once again be padding out very basic concepts with flowery language and descriptions of her own dog. I’m happy to accept my adorable and crazy Labs for what they are. No explanations necessary.
2 vote lauralkeet | Jan 28, 2015 |
[Read to page 142; may well pick up again in near future.]

What we think an object is for, or what it makes us think of, may or may not match the dog's idea of the object's function or meaning. Objects are defined by how you can act on them...their functional tones - as though an object's use rings bell-like when you set eyes on it. (24-25)

[The first few months of development is] a sensitive or critical period of social learning...the time during which dogs will learn who is a dog, an ally, or a stranger. (43)

Dogs show what is called with human infants "attachment": preference for primary caregiver over others. They have anxiety at separation from the caregiver, and greet her specially on her return. (43)

What domestic dogs do seem to have inherited from wolves is the sociality of a pack: an interest in being around others. Indeed, dogs are social opportunists. They are attuned to the actions of others, and humans turned out to be very good animals to attune to. (59)

The genitals, along with the mouth and the armpits, are truly good sources of information. To disallow this greeting is tantamount to blindfolding yourself when you open the door to a stranger. (87)

Relative even to [human] hearing, [dogs'] ability to pinpoint where a sound is coming from is imprecise. They hear sounds unmoored from their origins. (98)

Low moans or grunts are...very common in puppies, and seem not to be signs of pain but rather a kind of dog purr. (101)

Coming to something through the secondary senses first discombobulates, then introduces a feeling of novelty to the ordinary. (134) (Sight is the primary sense for humans, smell is the primary sense for dogs.)

[Humans] have a blind spot for those things that are slightly different - but close enough - to what we expect to see....[Dogs] are much more struck by what they actually see, the immediate details, than what they expect to see. (137) ( )
  JennyArch | Mar 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
“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. But she can be a bit coy and overly stylish in her attempt not to sound too scientific, and to the particular choir to which she is preaching, much of her material will be familiar.

In that same vein, the tone of the book is sometimes baffling — an almost polemical insistence on the value of dogs, as if they’d long been neglected by world opinion. But then Horowitz will drop in some lovely observation, some unlikely study, some odd detail that causes one’s dog-loving heart to flutter with astonishment and gratitude.
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Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
--Attributed to Groucho Marx
To the dogs
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First you see the head.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Alexandra Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains how dogs view and interact with the world.
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A psychologist offers insight into the canine mind, drawing on current cognitive research to illuminate a dog's perceptual abilities and the experiences that shape dog behavior, with stories about the author and her canine friend.

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