dog bond

Military working dog

Veterans Day Salute to War Dogs

Every November 11, our nation honors the brave men and women who went to war to defend our country. The DogWatch team joins in this salute, and thanks all veterans for their courageous service. In honor of this important day, Dog Tails is devoting this week’s post to the subject of veterans. With so many heroes to praise, we turn our attention to the subject we know best: dogs.
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Dog Days of Summer Reading List

dogbookA trip to the beach is not just a chance to soak up some sun and dig your feet in the sand; it is also a place where you can relax and finally catch up on your pleasure reading.  Even if you are not headed to the beach, these books are a good addition to your summer reading list.

While individual tastes in books may differ, the DogWatch Hidden Fence team loves good beach reads, especially those that feature our favorite subject – dogs!  So for this week, we are sharing with you our favorite dog-themed books.  Check out our list below, and visit our own Amazon store to purchase any or all of the titles!

The Dogs of Babel, by Carolyn Parkinson

A tragic yet redemptive tale of love and loss, Parkinson’s novel is a best-seller and a New York Times Notable Book.  The book centers on Paul, a linguistics professor who is mourning the recent death of his wife Lexy.  Lexy’s death was ruled an accident, but Paul is suspicious.  To find out the truth, he attempts to train his Rhodesian Ridgeback Lorelai – the only witness to his wife’s death – to speak.   This emotional mystery is sure to draw you in and keep you engrossed until after the sun sets.

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Dog Matters

Book cover, Inside of a DogAlexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, takes us into the dog’s world in a way few authors have before. She describes in great detail their umwelt: their subjective or self-world.

Not only does the the book provide insights into a dog’s sight, sound and olfactory abilities, it also explains the wondrous dog-human bond. Horowitz asks us to consider what accounts for our bond with dogs, and offers eleven worthy explanations: they’re diurnal, a good size, their body is familiar with parts that match ours, they move more or less the way we do, they have a relaxation to their stride and a grace to their run, they are manageable, we can leave them by themselves for long stretches of time, they are readable, they are resilient and reliable, their lifetime is in scale with ours, and they are compellingly cute. While all of these are relevant she says, “They don’t fully explain why we bond.”

The human-dog bond, we learn, is formed over time. Not just on looks, but on how we interact together. Horowitz suggests that there are three essential behavioral means by which we maintain—and feel rewarded by—bonding with dogs. The first is contact, the second is a greeting ritual, the third is timing (the pace of our interactions with each other) Together, they combine to bond us irrevocably.

Horowitz believes that the bond strengthens and changes us. Physically we are calmed by simply petting a dog, and the social support they offer us reduces our risk for various diseases, from cardiovascular to diabetes to pneumonia, and provides better rates of recovery from the diseases we do get. The bond with our dogs makes us someone who can commune with animals, and according to Horowitz, “a large component of our attachment to dogs is our enjoyment of being seen by them.”

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