Dogs Themselves, Part 1 - 3

New evidence reveals what dogs understand, about their world and about people, what they say and how they say it - to each other and to us - and what they know that people don't. The hidden lives of dogs themselves are uncovered by dog observers Jon Katz, Alexandra Horowitz, Clive Wynne and Monique Udell, Xioaming Wang, Gillian Ridgeway, Patricia McConnell, Jennifer Arnold and Suzanne Clothier  in conversation with Max Allen.

Listen to Dogs Themselves, Part 1

Listen to Dogs Themselves, Part 3

dogs-ted.jpgDogs and people have lived together as friends for at least 12,000 years.  Remarkably, it's only been in about the last 20 or 30 years that fundamental questions about WHO dogs are, are being answered by detailed research.  

Take dogs' sensory systems.  It used to be said that dogs are colour blind.  They aren't.  Dogs see colours less distinctly than we do and their vision, when they're looking at something really close, isn't as good as ours.  But they can see distant movement and they can see in dim light much better than we can.  Their hearing is better - about 40 times better.  And then there's smell.  It's a dog's primary way of knowing the world.  Ours is vision, theirs is smell.  Their noses include what's called a vomeronasal organ, that "holds" and recirculates airborne molecules for analysis like a chemistry lab.  Some types of dogs have an olefactory system that's thousands of times more sensitive than ours. Imagine what it would be like to be awash in smells and sounds like dogs are.

And then there's the question of what dogs DO with all this information.  

Do they think in visual images - or maps, or strings of ideas, or perhaps in whole stories? 

Do they think at all? 

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.