Welcome to What the Dog Knows Blog

Coda in the woods

Coda as a puppy learning how to search for hidden treats in the woods

The tendons that support my cervical vertebrae are unknotting from weeks of bending over page proofs with a red pencil, wondering whether that little line is an en dash or an em dash, what it should be, and why I care. A chunk of the past three years has been devoted to writing, reporting and editing What the Dog Knows, the book.

Now that the book has moved through my cognitive system like a deer through a python in the Everglades and is in the capable production system at Touchstone and Simon & Schuster, it’s time to start my blog! And train the dogs. And train the dogs. Especially little Coda, who at 10 months, is no longer so little and no longer as cute as she was here, in an early hunt for treats in the woods. If I want her to learn how to hunt for cadaver scent in the woods, she needs to learn that deer are not planted in there for her amusement and pleasure, and that I, her handler, am not an extraneous nuisance to ignore. To her, I am not yet as exciting as pee on a tree, or a rabbit, and I need to be.

My hope for this blog? That, like Coda, it will evolve and be a challenging adventure. I’ll focus on working dogs—cadaver, trailing, law enforcement, conservation ), the good science that’s emerging, the legal and social controversies, and the training and handling issues that arise. Occasionally, I’ll throw in a cute dog picture (see above) or video. I’ll have some guest posts from working dog handlers, trainers, and breeders who know better than I about so many working dog issues.

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