First, apologies. It’s kind of crazy at work right now, and I’ve been under-the-weather on top of the craziness (probably related somehow, but I’m not going to thin about that.)
More importantly: I just finished an awesome book that all dog owners and dog lovers should read. I mean, you should read it right now! Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Knowby Alexandra Horowitz. It is fan-freaking-tastic.
She explains the biology, physiology and, to the extent that dogs are capable of it, the psychology of our dear Canis lupus familiaris. She explains all of the science in a very easy-to-comprehend sort of way, without talking down to the readers. I’m guessing she correctly assumes that anyone who picks up a book about the biological and cognitive abilities of dogs will have a basic understanding of the concepts. I appreciated that.
The book made me look at my puppy-dog in a whole new light. I feel like I understand her and where she’s coming from better than I did before reading the book. For example: have you ever thought that your dog (or a dog you know) can anticipate what you are going to do? They can! Kind of. Horowitz discusses at length how dogs observe humans and can remember those observations, which accounts for some if not most of the anticipation. However, they can almost see ahead of us, too. Humans experience about sixty still images per second to make a continuous stream of what we see; this is called a flicker-fusion rate. Dogs, remarkably, have a flicker-fusion rate of seventy or even eighty cycles per second. They sort of see more and almost faster than we do.*
There’s lots more in the book where that came from. It’s just fascinating! I could go on and on gushing about the book, but it would probably be better if you just read it for yourself.
If you’re interested in the science of dogs, but don’t feel up to the commitment of a 300+ page book, check out the PBS documentary Dogs Decoded: NOVA (which is available to stream on Netflix if you got it.) It covers some of the same studies as in the book, and is generally very good, as well. I personally, liked the documentary and it lead me to read the book.
*Horowitz, Alexandra Inside of a Dog …[all that good citation stuff] p130-131.