Sunday, August 4, 2013

"Inside of a Dog" by Alexandra Horowitz

In this non-fiction book "Inside of a Dog", Alexandra Horowitz (a scientist who studies animal behaviour and also a dog-lover) tries to give insights into what it would be like to be a dog, what senses and perceptions they have that are similar and different to ours, how they have evolved and been bred by humans to be our 'best friend'.

An interesting book, but overall disappointing for me. I expected a lot more from it. There were countless examples where the author  would describe some aspect or ability of a dog, then completely forget to apply that knowledge to another situation described in the book. E.g. the interesting ability that dogs possess where they can detect minute changes in chemical smells such as when a human has cancer, or can detect if you are sad by smell etc...then a bit later the author describes a 'clever' experiment in which dog owners pretend to have a heart attack and the dog ignores them, and she interprets this to be because the dog fails to recognise an emergency situation. I think it is more likely the dog realised that the person was not having a heart attack (in the absense of any stress/heart attack chemical signals) and that their owner was just fooling around. Anyway there were lots of examples like this that were a bit disappointing, but other bits were really interesting to read..and many that I would have liked to learn more about. On the positive side, I have found myself observing dogs when I'm out walking and looking at different signals I never noticed before reading this book.  

Started reading on my kindle: 12th July 2013
Finished: 3rd August 2013
My score 6.5/10

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