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Clip from NPR program - full program is at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...ft=1&f=1032



DAVID (Caller): Hi.


CONAN: Hi, go ahead, please.


DAVID: I can barely hear you, but I'll go ahead anyway. I can tell what my dogs are thinking, most of the time, by just looking into their eyes. As she said, dogs definitely are more - more based on eye contact. And I have herding dogs, border collies and Australian shepherds, and they are all about staring into my eyes and looking at each other and reading my body language. So I can usually know what's on their minds or what they're wanting, just by taking some time and looking at them and looking at their body language as well.


CONAN: And do any of their behaviors puzzle you?


DONALD: Yes. Why do they roll in dead things.


(Soundbite of laughter)


DONALD: And on top of that, why do they want to run up to me after they have done so to let me know how happy they're that they stink.


(Soundbite of laughter)


Prof. HOROWITZ: The later is probably sharing with you their excitement, right, as you share with them all their successes. This is like a constant question for science, that science is not answered - why they roll in something smelly. And I think the best answer is really that they probably just like the smell and that's about it. But there are plenty of other theories you'll hear, but none has been supported or really tested.


CONAN: You say one of the things that happened is, ordinarily, a lot of times after a dog has been given a bath, they will run outside and find something to roll in.


Prof. HOROWITZ: Right. I don't think that they enjoy being bathed in coconut lavender shampoo. I mean, their scent is part of their identity. Obviously, we see them sniffing each other all the time and they're trying to get a good whiff of the other dog. And if we cover that up, in some ways, we're concealing their identity.


CONAN: Hmm. Donald, thanks very much for the call.


DONALD: Thank you, guys.


CONAN: Bye, bye. And the other part of that - what he was saying, was, these are dogs - his dogs in particular - are bred to be herders.


Prof. HOROWITZ: Yeah, right. I mean, working dogs are especially attuned - but sometimes in ways that won't work out so well, in, for instance, apartment living. So, a herding dog, many families who don't need to herd animals might find some of their behaviors annoying. But if you look at why they were bred, their constant nipping of your heels, makes much more sense.

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