A Dog is Listening: The Way Some of Our Closest Friends View Us

Roger A. Caras, Author Summit Books $19.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70249-6
ABC special correspondent Caras ( A Cat Is Watching ) here offers up a valentine to canis familiaris . His detailed and energetic appraisal of the dog's conventional sensory abilities discloses such curiosities as the fact that dogs have 60 degrees more peripheral vision than humans do, and explains how these abilities help the dog fulfill its evolutionary roles (peripheral vision, for example, is ``invaluable'' in hunting). Dogs, according to the author, have a demonstrable sixth sense, the capacity to ``taste air,'' and he uses anecdotal evidence to propose that man's best friend may also have sensory awareness of magnetic fields and barometric pressure, as well as a ``who-knows-what earthquake detection mode.'' The most intriguing hypothesis, that dogs may perceive infrared radiation, is supported by the report of a mutt that invariably knows when its seizure-prone mistress is about to succumb to an attack. Caras's concluding argument that dogs can indeed think defies orthodox animal behaviorists, but, like the rest of his good-natured book, will gratify dog lovers. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
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