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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; a edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416583432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416583431
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (462 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychology professor and dog person Horowitz was studying the ethology (the science of animal behavior) of white rhinos and bonobos at the San Diego Zoo when she realized that her research techniques could just as easily apply to dogs at the local dog park; there, she began to see "snapshots of the minds of the dogs" in their play. Over eight years of study, she's found that, though humans bond with their dogs closely, they're clueless when it comes to understanding what dogs perceive-leading her to the not-inconsequential notion that dogs know us better than we know them. Horowitz begins by inviting readers into a dog's umwelt-his worldview-by imagining themselves living 18 inches or so above the ground, with incredible olfactory senses comparable to the human capacity for detailed sight in three dimensions (though dogs' sight, in combination with their sense of smell, may result in a more complex perception of "color" than humans can imagine). Social and communications skills are also explored, as well as the practicalities of dog owning (Horowitz disagrees with the "pack" approach to dog training). Dog lovers will find this book largely fascinating, despite Horowitz's meandering style and somnolent tone.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...causes one's dog-loving heart to flutter with astonishment and gratitude..." -The New York Times

"...a thoughtful take on the interior life of the dog....long on insight and short on jargon..." -Washington Post

"nearly flawless" -The Bark magazine

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More About the Author

Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the #1 New York Times best-selling "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

This book is very well written and quite enjoyable to read.
Robert Dansereau
This really seemed like it would be an interesting book - presumably based on science, authored by a scientist.
ds
I would definitively recommend this book for all dog lovers.
comprasamazon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

566 of 603 people found the following review helpful By M. Carterette on September 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
After having read this book weeks ago (advanced copy), I was left a little unsatisfied. I'd give it 3.5 stars if could.

It's more of a cursory glance at canine cognitive ethology rather than a definitive volume, but if you're looking for a good introductory to canine cognitive ethology, this would be a great starter. The anecdotes are sweet and the science is pretty good, and written in a way that the regular Joe Dog Guardian can read it without breaking his brain.

HOWEVER. There is one VERY glaring "scientific" experiment that I feel she used for a bad conclusion, a conclusion whose inclusion of the flawed scientific experiment betrays the entire premise of the book itself.

In the section on "Hero Dogs" (dogs that have responded to emergencies and saved the lives of their owners and people in general), Horowitz details what she calls a "clever experiment" with dogs where

"owners conspired with the researchers to feign emergencies in the presence of their dogs, in order to see how the dogs responded. In one scenario, owners were trained to fake a heart attack, complete with gasping, a clutch of the chest, and a dramatic collapse. In the second scenario, owners yelped as a bookcase (made of particleboard) descended on them and seemed to pin them on the ground. In both cases, owners' dogs were present, and the dogs had been introduced to a bystander nearby--perhaps a good person to inform if there has been an emergency.

In these contrived setups, the dogs acted with interest and devotion, but not as though there was an emergency...

...In other words, not a single dog did anything that remotely helped their owners out of the predicaments.
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185 of 197 people found the following review helpful By R. Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Scientifically, we might know a lot more about rats than we do about dogs. There are some experimental labs that have dogs as subjects, but lab rats get a lot of scientific attention. Dogs get a lot of domestic attention, but scientific study of dogs, and the ways they get along with humans and with other dogs, has not been a high concern. That may be because we think we know dogs; they are frank and open, and we live closely with them. Alexandra Horowitz thinks we don't know enough, and some of what we know is wrong, and she is out to change our perception of dogs and to do it scientifically. She has to work at making herself a detached observer; she might be a psychologist who has studied cognition in humans, dogs, bonobos, and rhinoceroses, but among the first sentences of her book _Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know_ (Scribner) is, "I am a dog person." Is she ever. She didn't deliberately make Pumpernickel, her mixed breed live-in friend (she is an advocate for adopting mutts), a subject of scientific study, but Pump was her entrance, for instance, to the dog park where she could film the interactions of other dogs for acute detailed study later. She gives loving anecdotes of the late Pump in every chapter to illustrate her more objective findings, nicely showing how her scientific examination of dogs paid off in her understanding of her own dog. There are people who worry that scientific examination of any phenomenon takes away the mystery and specialness of the phenomenon, and among the fine lessons in this amusing and enlightening book is that this is far from true.

Dogs do not sense the world we do. To take one of Horowitz's examples, a rose for humans is a thing of visual and olfactory beauty, and also has connotations of a love gift.
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485 of 551 people found the following review helpful By hydrophilic on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I expected to love this book. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired.

First, there is surprisingly little information in it. The author touches on each subject so briefly that only the most superficial observations can be made. Dog body language gets maybe two pages and includes such revelations as the meaning of a tucked tailed (discomfort and/or submission). Is there a dog owner in the world who doesn't already know that? Note: if that's new to you and you own a dog, stop reading this review and find a dog trainer immediately. In the 250 pages I managed to read, I found two things of interest: the description of canine vision, and speculation on a potential flaw in experiments on dog intelligence (to wit: dogs know that humans are great providers of food, so if a dog that gives up on the puzzle in front of him and runs over to the researcher for help, maybe he's being smart, not dumb).

Second, the author spends way too much time bemoaning human chauvinism. Apparently, all research into animal behavior is done to shore up our belief that humans are the rightful masters of the earth.

Third, the tone of this book is insistently, forcibly whimsical. Sometimes it hits the right note, and I did find myself laughing out lot a few times, particularly at an anecdote about a doberman put to work guarding a collection of valuable teddy bears. Unfortunately, it's more often grating, and I found myself rolling my eyes at the little vignettes about the author's dog that start every chapter. It truly pains me to write that, as love between a dog and an owner is such a wonderful thing.

Fourth, the text has some odd contradictions, one which is noted by the reviewer below me.
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