Recently, I decided on watch a dog documentary and stumbled upon A Dog’s Life (2004) on Netflix. This short film is actually a part of a series from CBC called ‘The Nature of Things’ and is hosted by David Suzuki. It’s about 45 minutes in length and takes a look at the scientific studies to see how dogs perceive the world around them. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the film but by the end, I was so glad to have seen it! It takes an interesting look at the ways in which dogs understanding the world and the ways in which people are using the scientific method to better understand dogs.

This film would be a great addition to any middle school aged science class, as it describes the science behind studying dogs in an easily understandable way. And if you have a kid interested in dogs and/or science, this might be a great film to watch as a family! Of course, I say this as a twentysomething with no kids. I have no idea if kids would actually like this film but it does seem like a film I would have watched in a school science class. And I actually would have loved it as a young animal lover.

Even if you’re not a kid or don’t have kids, this film is still interesting and offers insights into how dogs perceive the world. Scientists doing work with dogs are interviewed and share that dogs are social creatures and are better at problem solving when interacting with people. In fact, dogs can understand just the slightest of gestures from humans and actually prefer to hang out with us than other dogs. One scientist was even able to train a dog to do a range of complex activities with the command of ‘do as I do’.

The film also speaks about dogs’ vision and why they always seem to get regularly tangled up in the leash! Did you know that right after being born, puppies are actually blind (and deaf) for a short time? But unlike popular belief, dogs don’t see the world in all grey; in fact, a dog’s vision is actually similar to a person with red/green colorblindness. And the reason dogs tend to get tangled up around poles, trees, other dogs, and more while on leash is because they don’t seem to understand connectivity. Essentially, these otherwise intelligent animals don’t understand the fact that being on leash means they’re connected with another living creature.

There are so many other fun facts within this short documentary! It’s a well produced film that offers a whole lot of fun facts about the ways in which man’s best friend perceives and understands the world. If you have any kids who love dogs in your life, this might be a fun film to watch with them but even without kids, it’s a great watch for any dog lover out there! You can find it now on Netflix.

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