Your dog licks your face because he loves you, right?
Ah, if it were only that simple.
There are those that will assure you that yes, those licks mean affection — your “fur babies” are showering you with, in addition to a little slobber, love and gratitude.
There are also those more scientific types who will dissect the act so emotionlessly as to leave you never wanting another lick again — or perhaps even another dog, or at least not another dog book.
Thank Dog, then, for Alexandra Horowitz, who in her new book “Inside of a Dog,” manages to probe doggie behavior in a manner both scientific and passionate, without stomping on the sanctity of the human-dog bond like it’s a cigarette in need of extinguishing.
The book’s title comes from the Groucho Marx quote: “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
What makes “Inside of a Dog,” released in September, one of the best dog books of the year is that it’s not too dark to read. Horowitz, a psychology professor, former staff member at The New Yorker, and long-time dog-lover is able — based in equal parts on her scientific research and her own personal experiences as a dog owner — to correct the many misconceptions about dogs without snuffing out the special light we see inside them.
As for those face licks, they have an evolutionary basis — it originally was a way for pups to encourage their moms and dads to regurgitate what they had eaten while hunting, thus sharing their prechewed bounty.
That doesn’t mean your dog is trying to make you puke everytime it licks your face, only that what’s now a ritualized greeting began that way.
The book gets to the root of other canine behaviors, as well, including:
· How dogs tell — and actually smell — time.
· Why it’s been futile leaving your television on for your dog all these years (and why this may be different now).
· How your dog really feels about that raincoat you make him wear.
· Why some dogs joyfully retrieve tossed balls and sticks while others just stare at you like you’re a fool for throwing them.
While not a training manual, it’s a book every dog trainer should read, and perhaps every dog owner who wants to truly understand not just what their pet means to them, but what their pet means.
The book goes into how dogs see, smell and hear the world, what their barks mean, what their tail wags mean. And it avoids the common oversimplifications associated with seeing dogs solely in terms of human behavior, or seeing them solely as modern-day wolves.
Horowitz, and the book, show some appreciation and understanding of the evolutions that have taken place, and continue to — the evolution of dogs, the evolution of humans, and the evolution of the bond between the two.
(Learn more about the latest dog books at ohmidog’s book page, Good Dog Reads.)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, behavior, bond, book, books, books on dogs, cognitive, dog, dog books, dogs, evolution, good dog reads, human, inside of a dog, kiss, know, lick, misconceptions, psychology, regurgitate, relationship, scientist, see, smell, tail, understanding, wag
We’re not taking credit (or blame) for these, just passing them along, as they were passed along to us — the top 10 Pet Peeves of Dogs:
1. Blaming your farts on me … Not funny … Not funny at all.
2. Yelling at me for barking. I’M A DAMN DOG.
3.Taking me for a walk, then not letting me check stuff out. Exactly whose walk is this anyway?
4. Any trick that involves balancing food on my nose. Stop it!
5. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you’re not home.
6. The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw. You fooled a dog! Woo hooo! What a proud moment for the top of the food chain.
7. Taking me to the vet for ‘the big snip’, then acting surprised when I freak out every time we go back!
8. Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry, but I haven’t quite mastered that handshake thing yet.
9.Dog sweaters. Hello??? Haven’t you noticed the fur?
10.How you act disgusted when I lick myself. Look, we both know the truth. You’re just jealous.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: barking, behavior, dogs, fake fetch, fart, food, haircut, humor, lick, list, nose, peeves, pet, pet peeves, sniff, sweaters, top ten, walks
If you’ve got an iPhone, you can now download an application that allows you to call up the image of a virtual puppy, scratch his belly until his leg shakes, play tug of war with him, or pet him until he licks the screen.
Joseph Dolan, a recent graduate of Texas State Technical College, created the interactive program — Pocket Puppy Raiser — for Apple Inc., and a portion of proceeds from its sale will go to Guide Dogs of Texas, which raises and trains guide dogs to visually impaired Texans.
The application costs $2.99 per download and proceeds will be split among the iPhone App Store, Dolan and Guide Dogs of Texas, according to an article from the San Antonio Business Journal.
Dolan’s mother works for Guide Dogs of Texas as a puppy raising program manager. Dolan says he plans to upgrade the Pocket Puppy Raiser to reflect the different tasks guide dogs perform as they grow older.
To download the app, go to iTunes and search “Pocket Puppy Raiser.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: app, apple, application, dog, guide dogs, guide dogs of texas, inc., iphone, itunes, joseph dolan, lick, pet, pocket puppy raiser, puppy, scratch, tug, virtual puppy