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Book Review: Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

What’s it like to be a dog? Ethologist Alexandra Horowitz seeks to answer this question in her New York Times Bestseller, Inside of a Dog. By exploring what German biologist Jakob Von Uxekull called the Umwelt, the subjective self-world, Horowitz delves into how dogs experience the world through their senses and their comparatively shorter stature to help us understand our dogs better.

 Okay – so we all know dogs have a stronger sense of smell and they hear better than we do, and we may have heard they’re color blind (they’re not). But Horowitz digs much deeper into each of these areas, and explains not only the differences in detail, but also their implications. Using scientific studies about dogs, personal observations, and studies about other animals where none exist about dogs, the author weaves a narrative that exlains the history of dogs, (No investigation of the dog can go without a look into their ancestry, and this book includes information both about wolves and the famous fox study started in 1959 by Dmitry Belyaev, and which continues to this day), how dogs perceive the world and learn – and the subjects that science simply does not address – the questions it doesn’t ask, the questions we so desperately want the answers to.  

 While the material is scientific, it’s also personal and well written. No matter how many dog books you’ve read before, I hazard to say you’ll learn some surprising new things about:

 Anthropomorphization

Why no training method is proven

That “guilty” look your dog displays

Why the wolf pack theory (and related training and dog rearing methods) are off the mark

Why dogs mark

Barking

 A joy to read, Inside of a Dog is 297 pages, published by Simon and Schuster, and available right here at my Amazon store!

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Posted in At home with dogs, Behavior, canine, Nature, reading, Reviews, Science, Training, wellness.


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