323 pages, b/w illustrations
Alexandra Horowitz, the author of the lively, highly informative New York Times bestselling blockbuster Inside of a Dog, explains how dogs perceive the world through their most spectacular organ the nose and how we humans can put our under-used sense of smell to work in surprising ways.
To a dog, there is no such thing as fresh air. Every breath of air is loaded with information. In fact, what every dog the tracking dog, of course, but also the dog lying next to you, snoring, on the couch knows about the world comes mostly through his nose. In Being a Dog Alexandra Horowitz, a research scientist in the field of dog cognition, unpacks the mystery of a dog's worldview as has never been done before.
With her family dogs, Finnegan and Upton, leading the way, Horowitz sets off on a quest to make sense of scents, combining a personal journey of smelling with a tour through the cutting edge and improbable science behind the olfactory powers of the dog. From revealing the spectacular biology of the dog snout, to speaking to other cognitive researchers and smell experts across the country, to visiting detection-dog training centers and even attempting to smell-train her own nose, Horowitz covers the topic of noses both canine and human from surprising, novel, and always fascinating angles.
As we come to understand how complex the world around us appears to the canine nose, Horowitz changes our perspective on dogs forever. Readers will finish Being a Dog feeling that they have smelled into a fourth dimension breaking free of human constraints and understanding smell as never before; that they have, however fleetingly, been a dog.
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Alexandra Horowitz is the author of the bestselling Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know. She teaches psychology, animal behaviour and canine cognition at Barnard College, Columbia University. She earned her PhD in Cognitive Science at the University of California. She lives in New York City with her husband, the writer Ammon Shea, her son, and two dogs.