We recently ran across a good book and an article about dog behavior and of course we thought of you. ♥
Inside of a Dog was featured in the NYT Book Review last week and we really liked the way it approaches dog behavior through science, and uses that information to try and describe to us the way a dog experiences the world.
Not only are we not always smelling, but when we do notice a smell it is usually because it is a good smell, or a bad one: it’s rarely just a source of information. We find most odors either alluring or repulsive; few have the neutral character that visual perceptions do. We savor or avoid them. My current world seems relatively odorless. But it is most decidedly not free of smell. Our own weak olfactory sense has, no doubt, limited our curiosity about what the world smells like. A growing coalition of scientists is working to change that–and what they have found about olfactory animals, dogs included, is enough to make us envy those nose-creatures. As we see the world, the dog smells it. The dog’s universe is a stratum of complex odors. The world of scents is at least as rich as the world of sight.
Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz:
In Time Magazine, Brian Hare, assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University is featured in “The Secrets Inside Your Dog’s Mind,” a fascinating look at how we have co-evolved with dogs:
Once dogs became comfortable in our company, humans began to speed up dogs’ social evolution. They may have started by giving extra food to helpful dogs–ones that barked to warn of danger, say. Dogs that paid close attention to humans got more rewards and eventually became partners with humans, helping with hunts or herding other animals. Along the way, the dogs’ social intelligence became eerily like ours, and not just in their ability to follow a pointed finger. Indeed, they even started to make very human mistakes.
This is a terrific overview of that field of study, and on the website there are lots of great videos and links to other dog articles: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1921614-1,00.html
Good stuff for your brain!