May 11, 2016

Inside of a Dog

What Dogs See, Smell and Know
by Alexandra Horowitz

What do dogs really see when they look at us? How do they take in the world- are its sights, scents and sounds very different from how we perceive them? The author examines scientific studies that show just how the dogs' five senses work, and what that means in terms of how they act or respond to things. Their focus can be quite the opposite of what you imagine. Also their social behavior, why they are so responsive to humans, how you can better read their body language and teach them what you want them to know. She brings in the perspective of experiences with her own dog. A lot of this was familiar material to me, some of it even revealed the book's age. It looks at questions such as: do dogs feel guilty? how can big dogs and tiny ones manage to play so well together? are dogs bored when you're not at home? One of the more interesting parts to me was about how dogs' play and interaction with humans is so very dependent on timing, the cues and responses. I found the book an interesting read for the new viewpoint it gave me of things. It's very nicely organized.

Side note: did you know of a device called the Mosquito that emits a high-pitched noise only audible to younger people? Apparently it has been in use since 2009, installed outside shops to deter troublemaking teenagers. You can test it to see if you can hear the noise yourself- it's definitely out of my range, but my kids could hear it. Funny, this page reports that some kids turned around and used that sound to their own advantage.

Rating: 4/5      353 pages, 2009

more opinions:
The Blue Bookcase
Don't Be Afraid of the Dork


Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Oh! And did you find out whether dogs do indeed feel guilty? I've read studies saying they don't, but when I drilled down into them a bit, it turned out that the people had owners yell at their dogs when the dogs hadn't done anything, and since the dogs displayed "guilt" behaviors in those situations, they concluded dogs didn't really feel guilt. I thought it was unconvincing because if someone started yelling at me, even if I thought I hadn't done anything, I would ALSO probably display guilt behaviors. So the question of dog guilt remains up in the air for me!

Jeane said...

Her conclusion was no, they don't actually feel guilt. She described an experiment that setup opportunity for dogs to do wrong- in some cases they were scolded or not, in some cases they'd done wrong or not. It was interesting, but I'm not really convinced. My mom's dog used to greet her at the door looking guilty when it had done something in her absence- even before she walked into the other room and saw the mess. It knew what it had done was going to get a negative response and anticipated that. Isn't that akin to feeling guilt?