Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review - Being A Dog by Alexandra Horowitz

Being a DogBeing a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ebook, 336 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Audio
Source: Netgalley

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.

What the dog sees and knows comes mostly through his nose, and the information that every dog takes in about the world just based on smell is unthinkably rich. To a dog, there is no such thing as “fresh air.” Every gulp of air is full of information.

In Being a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz, an eminent research scientist in the field of dog cognition, explores what the nose knows by taking an imaginative leap into what it is like to be a dog. Inspired by her own family dogs, Finnegan and Upton, Horowitz sets off on a quest to make sense of scents. In addition to speaking to experts across the country, Horowitz visits the California Narcotic Canine Association Training Institute and the Stapleton Group’s “Vapor wake” explosives dog training team; she meets vets and researchers working with dogs to detect cancerous cells and anticipate epileptic seizure or diabetic shock; she travels with Finnegan to the west coast where he learns how to find truffles; Horowitz even attempts to smell-train her own nose.

Featuring more of the fetching and whimsical drawings by the author that charmed fans of Inside of a DogBeing a Dog is a scientifically rigorous book that presents cutting-edge research with literary flair. Revealing such surprising facts such as panting dogs cannot smell to explaining how dogs tell time by detecting lingering smells, Horowitz covers the topic of noses—both canine and human—from curious and always fascinating angles. As we come to understand how rich, complex, and exciting the world around us appears to a dog’s sense of smell, we can begin to better appreciate it through our own.

My Thoughts:
After reading Horowitz's first book 'Inside of a Dog', I was really excited to be able to get my hands on this one too. Being a self-confessed dog lover I am fascinated by books to do with our canine friends and just love reading everything I can about them.

Being a Dog was very highly focused on how dogs smell and how their noses work. It really got me thinking a lot more about how my own dogs smell and why they find certain scents so appealing compared to others.

I was totally amazed at some of the statistics given in this book in relation to the power of a dogs nose. I own two beagles and being that they have one of the strongest noses around I now pay so much more attention to how they react to certain smells and find myself watching them a lot more in everyday situations. It's very interesting when you start to compare how much scent rules a dog's world whereas ours is much more vision orientated. You start to realise just how little we do pay attention to the smells around us throughout the day and it starts to make you more aware of your surroundings once you do pay more attention to everyday scents.

The author tells about her experience in controlled scent tests and these just fascinated me. I couldn't imagine how interesting it would be to participate in something like that. It is obvious that the author is very passionate about her subject and willing to do practically anything to gather research material.
I admit that I was expecting this book to be a bit more dog orientated like the first one but it ended up focusing a lot more on the author's journey of trying to experience life in the way that dogs do.

Even though there were definitely some interesting parts in this book, I did feel that it dragged on in some sections as the author tried to be a bit too over-descriptive to get her point and experience across. There definitely could have been some major condensing down in some chapters and the point still would have come across just as well.

Overall I did enjoy this book and would easily read anything else this author brings out in the future.

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