I can't wait to get a dog. I love dogs. I love puppies. I've wanted a dog for as long as I can remember. My mom was allergic to dogs growing up, so I never had a dog to call my own. Now that I'm older I plan on getting a dog for myself - an English bulldog to be exact - but I am waiting until I'm not working full-time so the pup doesn't have to be alone eight hours a day. Until then, I will read about dogs so I am prepared to welcome a canine into my world.
I found Inside of a Dog an interesting read. It is not a guide to training your dog, but more of a road map to better understand how they think and perceive the world around them. Horowitz, a cognitive scientist, explains why certain dogs act the way they do and what an owner can learn from their everyday actions. She also examines how a dog perceives certain concepts: time, right vs. wrong, emotions and themselves. I found Inside of a Dog to be a nice starting point to learning about dogs' perceptual and cognitive abilities, but it is by no means a comprehensive volume. If you have any sort of background or experience studying animal behavior I would skip this book, because most of the information it contains will be obvious to you. But it does work well as an introduction to the subject, regardless of its occasional repetition.
Horowitz highlights a few ideas to keep in mind when trying to better understand your dog. First, forget what you think you know about your dog. Secondly, if you want to understand the life of any animal, you need to know what things are meaningful to it and how it acts in reaction to those things.
I enjoyed the anecdotes Horowitz included with every chapter - an instance when her dog, Pump, exemplified an action that Horowitz goes on to examine. I also found the chapter on how a dogs vision works particularly interesting. Not only do they perceive colors differently than humans, but they also have a higher flicker-fusion rate than humans (the number of snapshots of the world that the eye takes in every second). It is for this reason that dogs can actually see a thrown frisbee's or ball's new location a fraction of a second before humans do. Also, when dogs see an image on the tv, the image stream is not fast enough for a dog's vision - they see individual frames and the dark space between them too. In other words, the image on a tv does not look real to a dog.
All in all, this was an interesting read that I am going to push onto my dog-owning friends. It has also made me even more excited for the day when I can bring home my own puppy.
|Me and my old friend, Lola|
Publisher: Scribner, 2010