Being A Dog: Following The Dog Into A World Of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz – Audio
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 this book 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
My Review: 3 stars
Being A Dog: Following The Dog Into A World Of Smell was recommended to me by an employee at an indie bookstore as one of her favorites. I had just gotten a puppy and thought it may be an interesting read.
This book did fill my mind with amazing tidbits and facts about our four-legged friend’s noses. It explained why they sometimes smell with their head up, sometimes with both nostrils and sometimes with one or the other. I also learned why the smell other dog’s butts and their own excrement.
Smell to a dog is like their mirror to the world. As much as I found all of this notable, I was floored at the similarities and dissimilarities of the human nose and the dog nose. I learned that over time, we’ve lost our sense of smell and don’t use it nearly as much as we potentially could.
Overall, this is the type of non-fiction that you could easily skim and get the results as if you’d read every word. The author goes on some long tangents and of course the scientist in her produced a few too many chemistry-ridden explanations for my liking. Dog lovers will still appreciate this insight into their furry friends.
Quotes I liked:
On humans: “Sights are information; smells are judged. Smelly never means anything but ‘stinking.”