Nat Geo WILD uncovers how the true success of the canine species is our mutually beneficial relationship. The new one-hour summer special event, The Secret Life of Dogs, premiering Sunday, August 25, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, is part natural history, part science and pure celebration of man’s best friend. Combining the latest scientific research with intimate macrophotography, revealing thermal images and slow-motion footage, find out how dogs see, smell and experience the world surrounding them. (For more information, visit www.natgeowild.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/NGC_PR.)
The Secret Life of Dogs breaks down canine physiology and biology to reveal how a dog’s everyday activities are actually complex movements that help it to survive. When slowed down a thousand times, we’ll see how the head of a dog turns a full 180-degrees, jumpstarting a rotational momentum that corkscrews down their body, to quickly expel water from their fur so they don’t get cold. Dogs have special taste buds just for water at the tip of their curved, cup-like, tongue that allows them to pull water into their mouth and snap it shut before all the water escapes. It’s a surprisingly intricate process for a daily requirement, and as any dog owner can attest, it’s not the neatest of actions, either.
Following a puppy from birth to motherhood, The Secret Life of Dogs also tells amazing stories of how dogs are born blind and with sealed ears before transforming into highly sophisticated animals. We’ll follow the growth of an immensely cute puppy from birth through to her own pregnancy as she trains to become a guide dog for the blind. Also, hear personal accounts of dogs that have saved lives, rebuilt marriages and detected diseases — discover what makes dogs truly remarkable.
Dogs are also highly intelligent, able to respond to “sit,” “lay,” and many of man’s commands. They can “sniff out” certain illnesses, alerting owners to the early signs of a severe allergic reactions, epileptic fits or narcolepsy. Yet people don’t completely understand why dogs bark, or what their barking means. In recent years, scientists have delved deeper than ever before into the canine mind and body — and the results are extraordinary.
Did you know that a dog is more likely to be calm, confident and self-assured if it’s right-pawed, with the swirl of its hair falling counterclockwise? Or that dogs communicate at least six different emotions through their barks? You might be shocked to learn that a dog’s brain is one-tenth the size of humans, but the part that controls smell is 40 times larger. That’s how a dog can smell events days, weeks and even months after they’ve happened. It’s an essential trait that law enforcement agencies around the world rely on to locate missing persons and sniff out contraband, and as we’ll hear from one 79-year old woman who got lost in the woods for three days, it’s a lifesaving skill.
Dogs are wrinkly and slobbery, they can shed, and a lot of them beg for food. But they are also adorable, loyal protectors, and the more we know about them, the easier it is to love them!
The Secret Life of Dogs is produced by Oxford Scientific Films. Producer is Alice Keens-Soper. For Nat Geo WILD, senior vice president of production and development is Janet Han Vissering and general manager is Geoff Daniels.