Interesting Tidbits from “Inside of a Dog”

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


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Hi, guys!

So, I’m dragging a little bit this afternoon, but for a good reason. I ended up staying up late and reading Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know well into the evening last night. I plowed through the first 4 or 5 chapters during one of our flights home from Oahu, but I haven’t picked it up since then. No reason really”” I just haven’t wanted to read before bed”” but when I started reading it again last night, I totally got sucked in and couldn’t put it down.

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I’ve really enjoyed reading Inside of a Dog and thought some of the dog lovers might too, so here’s just a sampling of the interesting things I’ve learned so far!

Interesting Tidbits from “Inside of a Dog:”

  • Dogs make eye contact; wolves avoid it unless they feel threatened. Even though they share all but a third of 1% of their DNA, dogs and wolves are actually different species. The author discusses a number of these differences, but I thought the information on eye contact was especially interesting since Murphy is always making eye contact with me”” almost like he’s waiting for my next move. In both dogs and wolves, eye contact can be a threat, but dogs generally make eye contact and look to us for information (about the location of food, about our emotions, about what is happening).
  • Dog “kisses” aren’t actually displays of love or affection. (I know, I was bummed too.) Researchers report that wild puppies (wolves, coyotes, foxes) lick the face of their mother when she returns from a hunt in order to get her to regurgitate partially digested meat to them. Well, ok, then. But, here’s the good news, the behavior of licking (“kissing”) has become a ritualized greeting for most dogs. It no longer serves as a way to ask for food, but now as a way to say hello, which is why your dog might lick you like crazy when you get home. (I still think Murphy is showing me love with his kisses!)
  • What we smell as humans is no where near what dogs smell. Human noses have about 6 million sensory receptor sites for smelling while most dogs have around 200 and beagle noses have 300! Imagine smelling freshly brewed coffee or baked bread with that type of nose! Whoa. Dogs actually have more genes, more cells, and kinds of cells committed to detecting different types of smells, so what and how much they smell is out of this world compared to what we do. Ever since I read this little tidbit, I give Murphy a lot more time on our walks to stop and sniff. His brain must go crazy every time he encounters a new smell!
  • When a dog “marks” a spot with urine, they’re not actually “claiming” it as their property. Instead, urine marking is a method of communication””conveying a message, almost like leaving a note for another dog to find. The chemicals in urine provide information to other dogs, so the marker wants to leave their scent in easily visible places, which is why most dogs lift their legs up high to get their, um, stream to where other dogs can find it. In a busy neighborhood, these invisible piles of (pee) scents, like on a fire hydrant, become a “community bulletin board” with old, deteriorating announcements being covered up by the more recent posts of activities and events. The dogs who visit most frequently wind up being on top of the heap, so a natural hierarchy is created. Basically, dogs are leaving notes, like  “Hey, what’s up? Murphy was here,” around the neighborhood instead of trying to claim a rock or mailbox post as property.
  • Some dogs can sniff out disease. Researchers have started training dogs to recognize the smells produced by unhealthy, cancerous tissues. In one study, scientists collected the smells of cancer patients and patients without cancer in small urine samples or by having them breathe into tubes. When dogs were asked to sniff out the difference between healthy and unhealthy patients, they only missed 14 out of 1,272 attempts. Pretty amazing, right?
  • Of all dogs (even Rottweilers and Pit Bulls), Dachshunds are the most aggressive to both their own owners and to strangers. I would have never guessed!

I’m a little more than halfway through the book so far, but, as you can see, it’s a really amazing read and, of course, so interesting! I love learning about what is going on inside Murphy’s little eraser brain!


Today’s lunch was a random mix of leftovers from the refrigerator. On Sundays, I typically cook up a whole bunch of meat and veggies for the upcoming week, so I can just grab-and-go when it comes to meals and snacks.

In the mix today: mashed butternut squash, chopped steamed asparagus, and chunked chicken sausage.


About an hour after lunch, I had a craving for something sweet, so I ate a No Bake Chocolate Fudge Cookie. Ever since I posted about this recipe, I’ve been obsessed with these cookies. I make them ALL the time and usually enjoy one (or two) after dinner every night. I cannot get enough of them! They’re like sweet and salty brownie Larabar cookie. So good.


Questions of the Day

Did any of these dog behavior tidbits surprise you?

Is there something your dog does that you just don’t understand?



  1. My doxie is the best! No signs of aggression, or any other doxie I have known. That really surprises me.

  2. Charlie stops and sniffs EVERYTHING! Now that I know what this means for him, I’ll let him stop a bit longer. The dachshund thing is actually kind of funny because we had a run in with a male dachshund at the dog park. He um…had his way with Charlie. We’re talking a little 4lb wiener dog doing at it with my 38lb Corgi mix. Kind of unsettling as a dog parent…

  3. My little yorkie waits until the middle of the night ( when she gets cold) and comes to the side of our bed and whimpers until I reach down to pick her up. No matter how anxious she is to get onto our bed she first backs up and stretches before allowing me to pick her up?? Crazy!!!

  4. My Chihuahua runs right up to me for cuddles, but always flinches when I first go to touch her. And she has a completely irrational fear of my brother, to the point where she barks at his shoes or even if you say his name!

  5. Well i also have one of the dog’s book and have known the things which you have mentioned. I want to look for some more salads for my meals specifically vegan dishes so that i can include them with my diet. the fudge cookies are good options for after meal dessert , it suppresses the craving.

  6. I didn’t know some of those dog facts, but they make sense! I have a beagle, and she is so ridiculous with smelling everything that when we take her outside we call it “going for a sniff” instead of “going for a walk.”

  7. Did the book call out the fact that dachshunds are more agressive than pits and rotts specifically? I’m actually a bit disappointed that you called out these two breeds specifically, as it’s a very common misconception that they’re bad breeds and are unsafe to own or be around. By referencing them in a statement about a completely different breed, you’re continuing to support the stereotype. There are so many great rotts and pitts that need homes, but aren’t even considered based on this misconception. Rottweilers and Pitbulls are only agressive when trained to be so, and when trained in a loving home, they can be the best pets ever.

    1. @Jessie K:

      AGREED! I just came on here to post the same thing. Based on temperament scores done by the American Temperament Test Society, pitbulls scored a 90.6%, while the average passing rate for the other 121 breeds of dogs in the tests was 77%. (reference: Please do not continue to misconstrue this ridiculous and very untrue stereotype on your blog. The only way to change this misconception is to stop perpetuating it.

      1. @Leigh: I also agree! I work at a veterinary hospital and Rotties and Pitties are some of the nicest patients I’ve encountered.

          1. Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to go back to the book and check. I just used those breeds as an example since so many people think they are aggressive dogs.

  8. I always think its interesting to see a dog in a deep sleep dreaming. The paws can start running, there can be a bit of whimpering going on. So you’d think they do a bit of thinking too then. Wonder how deep though?

  9. I’m a veterinarian and smaller breed dogs like a dachshunds, chihuahua, or a toy poodle are generally the ones more likely to be aggressive for sure…but they do not make the evening news because their bites can only do so much harm as compared to a larger breed dog.

  10. I’m interested in reading that book – sounds cool! There are so many “silly” things that Charlie does on a daily basis that leave us wondering… Like how he stacks his water and food bowls but doesn’t spill anything?! We’re never home when he does it but he’s done it at least 3 times – we keep meaning to put a camera out to record him 😛

  11. As the mom of two Dachshunds, I concur that they are the most aggressive with strangers and other animals that dare to cross their path. My 13 lb dachshund broke through a sturdy screen door to attack a white german shepherd. She never bit him, but she tried very, very hard. Embarrassed much?? Uh, yeah.

  12. I’ve read that book. It was pretty good. My dog like Murphy looks me in the eyes all the time like he is trying to tell me something (like FEED ME!); mine does it more than other dogs I know and I like to think it is a pug thing (mine is part pug). Pugs seem more personable (and not as doggish) than other breeds I know.

    Another great dog behavior book (even better than Inside of a Dog in my opinion) is How to Speak Dog by Stanley Coren. I learned a lot!

    One random tidbit, did you know cats only meow at people? They never meow at other cats or other animals. Also, weirdly people still don’t know how cats purr.

  13. Your book sounds super interesting! I knew the thing about Doxie’s…they are SUPER protective. They just don’t look it because they are so small! And the licking thing makes me kinda sad…I always think of them as kisses!


  14. Thanks for all the insights to what is obviously a great book – I have 2 German Shepherds that are part of the family. We wouldn’t stop the ‘kisses’ for anything. They are just wonderful to have around the place.
    And if you would like another book along similar lines try ‘A Dog is Listening’ by Roger Caras – sub titled ‘The way some of our closets friend view us’

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