What do dogs know? How do 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. Inside of a Dog is a fresh look at the world of dogs -- from the... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
What do dogs know? How do 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. Inside of a Dog is a fresh look at the world of dogs -- from the dog's point of view. As a dog owner, Horowitz is naturally curious to learn what her dog thinks about and knows. And as a scientist, she is intent on understanding the minds of animals who cannot speak for themselves. In clear, crisp prose, 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. The relationship between dogs and humans is arguably the most fascinating animal-human bond because dogs evolved from wild creatures to become our companions, an adaptation that changed their bodies, brains, and behavior. Yet dogs always remain animals, familiar but mysterious. 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.
“Dogs hear all sounds of speech, and are nearly as good as we are at detecting a change of pitch -relevant, say, for understanding statements, which end in a low pitch, versus questions, which in English end in a raised pitch: "Do you want to go for a walk(?)" With the question mark, this sentence is exciting to a dog with experience going on walks with humans. Without it, it is simply noise. Imagine the confusion generated by the recent growth of "up-talking," speech that ends every sentence with the sound of a question?"”
“Navigating the world of human time with their expanded window of the present, dogs function a little ahead of us; they are preternaturally sensitive, a shade faster. This accounts for their skill at catching the tossed ball midair and also for some of the ways they seem out of sync with us, some of the ways we can't get them to do what we want. When dogs don't "obey," or have difficulty learning something we want them to, it is often that we are not reading them well: we don't see when their behavior has begun. They are lunging toward the future a step before us.”
“There are two ways to learn how ... dogs think, perceive and say: be born as a dog, or spend a lot of time carefully observing dogs. The former was unavailable to me.”
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