It’s no news that dogs have a way better sense of smell than we do. Whereas our vision of the world is mostly shaped by what we see, theirs takes form thanks to the uninterrupted flux of odorant information that passes through their nose. A fascinating, wonderfully engineered organ, especially when told by Alexandra Horowitz, professor of cognitive science.
Highly readable, written with wit and a good dose of humour, her latest book not only exposes all the extraordinary things dogs can be trained to do – like finding drugs, cancers, landmines or missing people – it also shows how many familiar canine behaviours can be explained by smell: wagging their tails to spread the scent from their anal sacs, or peeing against walls or lampposts to leave their personal information for other dogs to sniff, for example. If you don’t already have one, it will make you want to get a dog – or better yet, become one yourself.
Being a Dog – Following the Dog into a World of Smell, Alexandra Horowitz, Simon & Schuster Editions, October 2016, 336 pages, $17
This review has been published in Nez, the olfactory magazine – #03 – The Sex of Scent. This issue is available on www.nez-editions.us for North America and on the Auparfum Shop for other countries.