"There better not be anything bad in here about my kind!"

“There better not be anything bad in here about my kind!”

Stories about heroic canines make for exciting novels, but some pet owners prefer constructive reading material. If your goal is to expand your understanding of what goes on in your dog’s brain and what motivates his behavior, the below literature is geared towards responsible and intellectually curious dog-owners. Whether you are seeking helpful training tactics, looking for scientific insights into canine minds, or simply want a handy guide close by, then this list below is for you.

What the Dog Knows (2013) – Hot off the press, Cat Warren’s book is already an award-winning, New York Times Bestseller describing how dogs are mysteriously able to detect, locate and track cadavers. Having interviewed countless authorities such as historians, psychologists, and forensic anthropologists, Warren produced a revelatory book that sheds the light on how canines are able to miraculously function as they do, and how we are to work with them to excel. Released in 2015 in a hardback edition, this book is a must-read for intelligent pet-parents.

portrait of Cat Warren

Cat Warren (Photo by Lissa Gotwals)

What the Dog Knows cover

What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren

Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems (2007): Now one of the most well-known authorities on dog training and canine behavior, Cesar Millan’s New York Times’s Bestseller is considered one of the most useful training manuals for strong alpha-male dogs.

Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves (2014): As an erstwhile student of scientific history at MIT, Laurel Braitman became fascinated with the way animals process psychological issues. Gleaned from years of observing her own Bernese Mountain Dog, Braitman wrote a scientifically sound and fascinatingly reflective book that makes the wheels turn.

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know (2010): Enjoy viewing the world from 18-inches above the ground’s surface, seeing things as a dog might. Cognitive scientist and professor Alexandra Horowitz presents an abundance of interesting information about how your dog perceives the world and the relational and physical experiences in it.

The Dog’s Mind: Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior (1992): Though older than others in this selection, don’t let the date fool you, this is a fantastic book for dog owners. To train and connect with our canine housemates, we must first endeavor to comprehend how they think, behave and communicate. This work by Bruce Fogle is a great insight into that canine mind.

The Other End of the Leash (2003): Another practical tool in the world of dog-training, Patricia B. McConnell offers a light training guide full of fun lessons and tips on how to parent your dog better. McConnell has also written other works such as, Feeling Outnumbered? Off-Leash Dog Play, Through A Dog’s Ear, For The Love of a Dog, and Family Friendly Dog Training, to name a few.

Dog Owner’s Home Veterinarian Handbook (2007): No encyclopedia will ever be able to replace the professional diagnostics of a veterinarian, but this book is a superior reference point. Replete with descriptions, images, and diagrams, Debra M. Eldredge covers nearly every topic imaginable for those moments when you have a question or concern about your dog’s wellbeing.

Other must-read books:
The Hidden Life of Dogs (2010) – Elizabeth Marshal Thomas
The Lost History of the Canine Race: Our 15,000-Year Love Affair With Dogs (1996) –Mary Elizabeth Thurston.