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

Alexandra Horowitz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 28 2010
The bestselling book that asks what dogs know and how they think, now in paperback.

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.

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Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know + On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes
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"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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. She teaches psychology, animal behavior, and canine cognition at Barnard College, Columbia University. In New York City, Alexandra walks with her husband, the writer Ammon Shea, her son, and two large, non-heeling dogs.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Delightful Nov. 10 2009
By Gordon Ritchie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We recently added to our family with a puppy who quickly proved more than a match for her erstwhile "owners". In a vain attempt to keep up with her machinations, we acquired this book about what dogs "see, smell and know." It unquestionably gave us a much deeper understanding of what makes the puppy tick. That said, she still runs circles around her family with effortless ease. We have come to understand that she is training us, as in "Give me a treat whenever I bring the red ball and drop it at your feet." Or "please make a point of picking up my poop." Or "Ignore what the label on the bag of puppy chow says. I wish to be fed three times a day."
A charming and insightful book by a dog-lover who has applied her scientific understanding to her close companions and shared the results with us.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSIDE OF A DOG March 10 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We have 2 dogs that are very different.Sometimes it is difficult to interpret the signals they are sending.This book looks into a dog's psyche and his unique abilities.It points out why they behave as they do.All of this creates a better understanding and a tighter bond with the dog.I never appreciated my dog 's capabilities as much until I read this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inside of a Dog not as Inside as I thought Sept. 1 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not a bad read but I found it quite slow is spots. It didn't really illuminate too much with regard to my four legged friend but there were some chapters which gave me more insight into why my dog acts a certain way. Most of her actions/behaviours I already understood. Some chapters spent more time on the various studies already conducted, the results, and the author's reinforcement of why these studies are inconclusive. This would probably help new dog owners more but I've had dogs for almost my entire life so maybe I've gained more experience with them than I had thought.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Scholar's Tail April 27 2012
By Pol Sixe TOP 1000 REVIEWER
As a one dog first time owner this was an interesting book. A little too heavy on the references and footnotes, kind of like a grad student thesis. Good insight into what and how dogs see and smell, mixed with her observations of her own pet. Overall theme is to not to try and put human behavior and emotions onto dogs, just enjoy them for what they are. Roger that!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arf-ully enjoyable Jan. 8 2012
By OpenMind TOP 500 REVIEWER
Ms. Horowitz's book, a composite of scientific fact and personal experience with her own dog (Pump), is highly readable, informative, and entertaining. She avoids jargon, which allows her point to get across more easily. She gives good examples to illustrate her points, all of which are backed up by her own, and others', exhaustive (but still developing) research. As a dog owner, my point of view definitely has changed for the better, as I have come to understand more of my dog's behaviours and his own worldview ("umwelt"). After the last "dog lover's" book (Marley and Me...which I received as a gift TWICE...) failed to provide anything more than a series of minimally humorous anecdotes about an ill-behaved and ill-fated canine, this book is a breath of fresh air. It helps to dispel the conflicting pseudo-empirical "pack mentality" (and the like) hogwash bombarding the naive public. "Inside of a Dog" doesn't pander to dog idol worshippers, nor does it lend credence to the cynical "it's just a dog" mentality. Better than either glorifying or devaluing man's best friend, it sets out to explain him. A must read for anyone who's ever loved, owned, or simply wondered about dogs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Science and the Dog April 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book, amply fulfilling its title. Horowitz the scientist writes with accuracy, affection and style. I have lived with dogs for more than a half-century, yet I had my dog-knowledge confirmed and amplified through this book. I hope for more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Delight for the Reader Without Expectations July 25 2012
By Rule 62 Ken TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book can be a delight or a disappointment, depending on what the reader's expectations are prior to reading it. As a dog owner who loves my pet, I approached this book expecting that the author would explain all the strange, weird and wonderful behaviour of my four-legged best friend. But as author Alexandra Horowitz points out, dogs are as individual as people are, and while we are capable of concluding sweeping generalities (such as how a dog's primary sense isn't sight, but smell), much depends on a dog's breed, life experience and environment to explain a lot of canine behaviour. Still, the author paints a picture of what a dog's eye view of the world looks like and instills in the reader a consciousness about what it must be like to be a dog: seeing the world from a lower vantage point, being led by one's nose. The author is a skilled observer of doggy-style behaviour, with good insight into their play, their interaction with other dogs and of their cognitive functioning. She explains how a dog sees the world, not in black and white as a popular misconception states, but through a different spectrum than humans. The reader will not come away with a complete understanding of why their dogs act the way they do, but he or she will learn things about dogs that he or she didn't know before.

The delight in this book comes from how the author's love of her subject is so apparent. She writes with a light-hearted passion for her subject matter. She gives some amusing yet practical advice about how to name one's dog, and makes a compelling argument in praise of mutts over purebreds. The last chapter about the author's relationship with her own dog (named Pumpernickel, or Pump for short) is especially touching and will probably cause most dog lovers to shed a tear.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Amazing Animals
It wan an excellent book, providing an inside look into a dog's thinking. Amazing animals. The book made it clear to me that I am no dog man, while I like them and admire what... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lone Breeze
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what the hype was about - likely the premise as the book was...
I purchased this book because of all the hype it had; however was sorely disappointed. The author reiterates not once but every few pages that we as humans need to stop labelling... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marlene Szoczek
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting concepts and well written
Published 2 months ago by Bonnie McGhie
5.0 out of 5 stars In appreciation
Such an insightful and enjoyable book for those of us who have lived and loved dogs.
Published 2 months ago by Lesley A. Newall
5.0 out of 5 stars and I thought I was a dog person
I've loved dogs all my life, lived with several for their whole lives. Not until I read this book did I realize how little I knew about them and how much they knew about me but... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Photo-Op Dave
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent research and understanding of our favourite pets
Published 2 months ago by Cameron MacDonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Are they just teasing us?
An enlightened way to look at man's best friend. Quite a few obscure words that stumbled my reading, but interesting anyway. The cover girl is Pumpernickel?
Published 3 months ago by Tom Hammerton
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for dog owners with a bit of a science background
A bit esoteric but fascinating — a good read for dog lovers. Nice to hear about some of the science behind canine behavior, especially from the point of view of the dog for a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
received on time very good content thank your
Published 3 months ago by Madeleine Parisien
2.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting insights buried in mounds of "wordiness".
Interesting insights and perspectives on dogs and their complicated relationships with humans. I've spent most of my life with a dog as a pet and was excited to read this book in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by DBL
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