The Fascinating Wolfdog
October is Adopt-a-Dog Month

Recommended Reading: Inside of a Dog


Have you noticed that more and more books about dogs are on the shelves of bookstores and libraries these days? Both non-fiction books about dogs, and fiction books with dogs as characters, are fetching a lot of interest. One recently published book that's creating buzz goes where no human has gone before (kind of): "Inside of a Dog." Author Alexandra Horowitz takes a novel approach -- she tries to understand, and make us understand, the world from a dog's perspective.

Dog lovers already know, of course, that dogs are driven by their acute sense of smell. Horowitz points out that humans have about 6 million receptor cells in their noses, while a beagle has more than 300 million. She explains what that means in terms of a dog's life -- how a particular odor conveys a message to a dog. More than that, Horowitz says, a dog's sense of smell is the means by which he categorizes and identifies things. Sniffing another dog's urine, in fact, provides a lot of information about the other animal -- "who the urinator is, how often he walks by this spot, his recent victories, and his interest in mating," says Horowitz. Dogs view objects differently too. While we know what a chair is, for example, Horowitz says a dog may see it as just an obstacle that stands in the way of a path to their food bowl in the kitchen.

Unlike their wolf ancestors, the author writes, dogs like making eye contact with humans: "...dogs seem to be predisposed to inspect our faces for information, for reassurance, for guidance."

All in all, going "Inside of a Dog" is fascinating stuff. You can read Chapter One, courtesy of The New York Times, by clicking here. If you'd like to purchase the book online, click Inside of a Dog book now.


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