A Dog’s World: Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Professor Alexandra Horowitz for a discussion of her book, Inside of a Dog. Professor Horowitz discusses her formative experiences, her interest in cognition in animals, and what led her to focus on dogs. In her analysis, understanding dogs requires consideration of wolf ancestry, cognitive skills and anatomy, and the ways in which dogs interact with humans and how that interaction has affected their evolution.
Listen to On Point’s host Tom Ashbrook’s interview with Alexandra Horowitz, professor of psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University, and author of the new book, Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know which was broadcast Sept 22/2009
Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
Published:September 15, 2009
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
From the Publisher
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.