Ep. 49 – Dog Cognition Expert Alexandra Horowitz on the Quiddity of Puppies

Most books on puppies are dog-improvement manuals, guiding readers ‘How to Raise the Perfect Dog’ or how to achieve ‘Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.’ Alexandra Horowitz’s profound and totally delightful new book is not that type of book. It’s an unprecedented look at the complex, chaotic, fascinating, and often hilarious journeys of puppies becoming themselves. “Instead of following an instruction manual for a puppy, I wanted to follow the puppy,” she writes. The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget famously watched his own kids grow into adults as both a parent and a scientist. His observations of his kids inspired and served as the basis for many of his theories about how young human minds develop. Horowitz, a world-renowned expert in dog cognition, set out to do the same for her spectacularly eye-browed, exquisitely sensitive, and rambunctious new family member, Quiddity. In ‘The Year of the Puppy,’ Horowitz follows Quid from her birthday through the puppy equivalents of infancy, childhood, and adolescence. We spoke with Horowitz about the science of early dog development, how Quid is enjoying her big literary debut, and what we have to learn from trying to understand how puppies encounter and make meaning of the world.