Two books new to Manhattan Public Library contain lots of interesting information about dogs–if you are a dog owner or dog lover these books offer insight into your dog’s behavior. In his book The Power of the Dog: Things Your Dog Can Do That You Can’t by Les Krantz, the author relates many stories and incidents that illustrate the remarkable abilities that dogs may have, from an ability to predict earthquakes, sense impending death, or alert us to impending seizures to helping autistic children communicate, learn what is dangerous to the blind and, perhaps most importantly, loving us unconditionally. Krantz describes a dog’s visual abilities and how a dog’s world is organized by scent rather than sight. His facts are presented in the form of stories about various dogs which leaves us with a great appreciation for the many ways dogs help their human friends and enrich our lives.
Alexandra Horowitz uses scientific research and observation that has been done on dogs to tell of their abilities in her book Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know. Fascinating information about how dogs interpret the world is presented and their powers are in many ways amazing. Dogs encounter the world through scent and their ability not only to detect odors but to “layer” odors–to identify older smells from more recent odors, is nothing short of astonishing. Humans have about 2 million odor receptors–dogs have from 200-300 million (depending on the breed) and their physiology helps them to be able to recognize and learn millions of scents–they interpret their world in a rainbow of smells rather than color. Her chapter on how dogs learn to interpret human behavior and at times anticipate our behavior offers insight into a dogs perception.
Both of these books, though different in their approach to the information, offer wonderful insights into the captivating behavior and abilities of man’s and woman’s best friend.